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Edited by Peggy Brock, Norman Etherington, Gareth Griffiths and Jacqueline Van Gent

This is the first full-length historical study of indigenous evangelists across a range of societies, geographical regions and colonial regimes and the first to focus on the complex issues of authority surrounding the evangelists. It answers a need frequently voiced in recent studies of Christian missions. Most scholars now acknowledge that the remarkable expansion of Christianity in Africa, Asia and the Pacific in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries owed far more to the efforts of indigenous preachers than to the foreign missionaries who loom so large in publications. This book addresses that concern making an excellent introduction to the role of indigenous evangelists in the spread of Christianity, and the many countervailing pressures with which these individuals had to contend. It also includes in the introductory discussions useful statements of the current state of scholarship and theoretical debates in this field.

Envoys of a Human God

The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557-1632

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Andreu Martínez d'Alòs-Moner

In Envoys of A Human God Andreu Martínez offers a comprehensive study of the religious mission led by the Society of Jesus in Christian Ethiopia. The mission to Ethiopia was one of the most challenging undertakings carried out by the Catholic Church in early modern times.
The book examines the period of early Portuguese contacts with the Ethiopian monarchy, the mission’s main developments and its aftermath, with the expulsion of the Jesuit missionaries. The study profits from both an intense reading of the historical record and the fruits of recent archaeological research. Long-held historiographical assumptions are challenged and the importance of cultural and socio-political factors in the attraction and ultimate estrangement between European Catholics and Ethiopian Christians is highlighted.

Mission Station Christianity

Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850-1890

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Ingie Hovland

In Mission Station Christianity, Ingie Hovland presents an anthropological history of the ideas and practices that evolved among Norwegian missionaries in nineteenth-century colonial Natal and Zululand (Southern Africa). She examines how their mission station spaces influenced their daily Christianity, and vice versa, drawing on the anthropology of Christianity. Words and objects, missionary bodies, problematic converts, and the utopian imagination are discussed, as well as how the Zulus made use of (and ignored) the stations. The majority of the Norwegian missionaries had become theological cheerleaders of British colonialism by the 1880s, and Ingie Hovland argues that this was made possible by the everyday patterns of Christianity they had set up and become familiar with on the mission stations since the 1850s.

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John Flannery

In The Mission of the Portuguese Augustinians to Persia and Beyond (1602-1747), John M. Flannery describes the establishment and activities of the Portuguese Augustinian mission in Persia. Hopes of converting the Safavid ruler of the Shi’a Muslim state would come to naught, as would the attempts of Shah ‘Abbas I to use the services of the missionaries, as representatives of the Spanish Habsburgs, to forge an anti-Ottoman alliance with the papacy and the Christian rulers of Europe. Prevented from converting Muslims, the Augustinians turned their attention to Armenian and Syriac Christians in Isfahan, later also establishing new missions among Christians in Georgia and the Mandaeans of the Basra region, all of which are described herein. The history of the Augustinian Order is generally under-represented by contrast with other Orders, and this study breaks new ground in existing scholarship.

Building God’s Kingdom

Norwegian Missionaries in Highland Madagascar 1866 - 1903

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Karina Hestad Skeie

Building God’s Kingdom studies how the encounter with nineteenth century Madagascar influenced the Norwegian Protestant mission. Drawing upon rich Norwegian and Malagasy sources, entangled and multivocal stories are allowed to unfold, revealing the complex dynamics of mission encounters. Tracing Malagasy agency and pursuit of churchly independence in pre-colonial and colonial Madagascar, this study explores the power-struggles between the Malagasy, the missionaries and between the mission in Norway and Madagascar. Through careful attention to context and agency, Karina Hestad Skeie provides new perspectives on the interplay between the local and the global in Christian missions, and on the centrality and restrictions of local agency on mission policy.

Christianity in Modern China

The Making of the First Native Protestant Church

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David Cheung

Using mainly hitherto unstudied primary materials, this monograph studies a very significant episode in Chinese Christianity. Focusing on the origins and earliest history of Protestantism in South Fujian, this analytical-critical study investigates the evolution of the churches which pioneered in indigenisation and ecclesiastical union in China during the nineteenth century.
Some subjects studied are primitive missionary objectives and methods, the relationship between the ‘Talmage ideal’ and the Three-self concept, and the nature and dynamics of ‘native’ religious work. Extremely useful is the critical assessment of South Fujian in terms of self-propagation, self-government, self-support and organic union. The key areas suggested for future research are also quite thought-provoking. The volume is especially valuable to social and church historians, missiologists and sociologists.