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Reclaiming the Women of Britain’s First Mission to Africa is the compelling story of three long-forgotten women, two white and one black, who lived, worked and died on the Church Missionary Society’s first overseas mission at the dawn of the nineteenth century. It was a time of momentous historical events: the birth of Britain’s missionary movement, the creation of its first African colony as a home for freed slaves, and abolition of the slave trade. Casting its long shadow over much of the women’s story was the protracted war with Napoleon.

Taking as its starting point a cache of fifty letters from the three women, the book counters the prevailing narrative that early missionary endeavour was a uniquely European and male affair, and reveals the presence of a surprising number of women, among them several with very forceful personalities. Those who are interested in women’s life history, black history, the history of the slave trade and British evangelism will find this book immensely enjoyable.
Cultural Entanglements and Missionary Spaces
Missionary institutions were social spaces of closest encounters between Europeans and various segments of the Egyptian society, during the period of British colonialism. In European Evangelicals in Egypt (1900-1956) Samir Boulos develops a theory of cultural exchange that is based on the examination of interactions, experiences and discourses in the context of missionary institutions.

Drawing upon oral history interviews as well as rich Egyptian, British and German archival sources, a multifaceted perspective is offered, revealing the complexity and dynamics of mission encounters. Focusing on the everyday life in missionary institutions, experiences of former Egyptian missionary students, local employees, as well as of European missionaries, Samir Boulos explores mutual transformation processes particularly on the individual but also on institutional and social level.
Authority in Roman Africa
In Augustine’s Cyprian Matthew Gaumer retraces how Augustine of Hippo devised the ultimate strategy to suppress Donatist Christianity, an indigenous form of the religion in ancient North Africa. Spanning nearly forty years, Augustine’s entire clerical career was spent combating the Donatists and seeking the dominance of the Catholic Church in North Africa. Through a variety of approaches Augustine evolved a method to successfully outlaw and deconstruct the Donatist Church’s organisation. This hinged on concerted preaching, tract writing, integrating Roman imperial authorities, and critically: by denying the Donatists’ exclusive claim to Cyprian of Carthage. Re-appropriation of Cyprian’s authority required Augustine and his allies to re-write history and pose positions contrary to Cyprian’s. In the end, Cyprian was the Donatists’ no longer.
The Jesuit Mission to Christian Ethiopia, 1557-1632
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.
Six kalām texts by ‘Abd Allāh b. Yazīd al-Fazārī
Early Ibāḍī Theology presents the critical edition of six Arabic theological texts recently discovered in two manuscripts in Mzāb in Algeria dating from the middle of the 8th century. The texts were sent by their author, the prominent Kūfan Ibāḍī kalām theologian ‘Abd Allāh b. Yazīd al-Fazārī to North Africa where he had a large following in the Ibāḍī community later known as the Nukkār. They constitute the earliest extant body of Muslim kalām theology and are vital for the study of the initial development of rational theology in Islam. The sophisticated treatment of the divine attributes in these texts indicates that this subject developed considerably earlier in Islamic theology than previously accepted in modern scholarship.
Norwegian Missionaries in Colonial Natal and Zululand, Southern Africa 1850-1890
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.
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.
Norwegian Missionaries in Highland Madagascar 1866 - 1903
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.
Missionary Archives - Africa
Africa General

The importance of missionary archives as a primary resource continues to grow as their value for the study of a variety of scholarly disciplines and subjects becomes ever more widely recognized. This collection lists 19th and 20th century archive materials relating to Africa, south of Sahara, and to Madagascar and Mauritius. There are large sections on Southern, Central and West Africa and lesser amounts on Eastern and Western Central Africa.

This collection is also included in the Missionary Archives - Africa collection.
Missionary Archives - Africa
Central Africa

The importance of missionary archives as a primary resource continues to grow as their value for the study of a variety of scholarly disciplines and subjects becomes ever more widely recognized. This collection lists 19th and 20th century archive materials relating to Africa, south of Sahara, and to Madagascar and Mauritius. There are large sections on Southern, Central and West Africa and lesser amounts on Eastern and Western Central Africa.

This collection is also included in the Missionary Archives - Africa collection.