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Contacts and Conflicts 1596-1950. Second Revised Edition
This book tells the story of the contacts and conflicts between muslims and christians in Southeast Asia during the Dutch colonial history from 1596 until 1950. The author draws from a great variety of sources to shed light on this period: the letters of the colonial pioneer Jan Pietersz. Coen, the writings of 17th century Dutch theologians, the minutes of the Batavia church council, the contracts of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) with the sultans in the Indies, documents from the files of colonial civil servants from the 19th and 20th centuries, to mention just a few. The colonial situation was not a good starting-point for a religious dialogue. With Dutch power on the increase there was even less understanding for the religion of the muslims . In 1620 J.P. Coen, the strait-laced calvinist, had actually a better understanding and respect for the muslims than the liberal colonial leaders from the early 20th century, convinced as they were of western supremacy.
Catholics in Independent Indonesia: 1945-2010 concludes Steenbrink’s three volume historical account of Catholicism in Indonesia with a detailed report of the survival and growth of this minority religion in Muslim Indonesia since its independence in 1945.
Colonial Catholicism survived in the independent Republic of Indonesia during the nationalist Sukarno regime (1945-1965) and regained a new dynamic during the general religious revival that was part of the New Order of Soeharto after 1965. From a Dutch-inspired institution it became a fully Indonesian steered community with a modern and international character. The second half of the book will deal with the different regional developments in this vast country.
This first of two volumes documents the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Indonesia from 1808, when, after two centuries, priests were again allowed in the Dutch colony, until 1903, when the the number of Catholics, only 27,000 at the time, started to grow spectacularly.
The story of slow growth among the indigenous population, with many setbacks, is illustrated by 98 documents, which are included in their complete format and original language (mostly Dutch). Half of the book contains a lenghty introduction in which the history of Catholic missionary effort is spelled out, with, of course, a lot of attention for the islands where the Catholic clergy was actively engaged in proselytizing. This introduction is the first survey in English on the subject.
A Documented History. Volume 2: The Spectacular Growth of a Self Confident Minority, 1903-1942
Indigenous Indonesian Catholics increased in number from 27,000 to nearly 550,000 between 1902 and 1942. At first scattered only through Minahasa, the Kai islands and Flores, after four decades Catholic centres were established in most of the archipelago, and there was even a small but well-educated and vocal minority in Central Java. It is this formative period in the growth of Catholicism in Indonesia that Steenbrink describes in detail.
Catholics never constituted more than three per cent of the Indonesian population, one-third of all Christians. Steenbrink examines the rivalry of this minority with Protestants and their missionary activities, as well as the race with Islam in many parts of the outer islands, which had come under Dutch rule in the early twentieth century. This comprehensive work includes extensive details on the different European missionary orders and missionaries active at this time. Forty archival documents illustrate the proselytizing efforts in the archipelago.
The first volume of Catholics in Indonesia, 1808-1942: A documented history appeared in 2003 ( Volume I: A modest recovery, 1808-1903, KITLV Press).