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Rima Nasrallah

This paper traces the development of Christian education in Lebanon and its various influences on society. Christian education is closely related to socio-political circumstances in this country and is both a reflection of its many phases and a reaction to it. Due to the Ottoman Empire’s millet system, religious education started with and continued as the responsibility of the separate religious communities. Since the late eighteenth century, Western Jesuit and later Anglo-American Protestant missions added more layers and complexities to Christian education. Despite all their merits and the richness they brought, the various missions unknowingly loaded the subject of Christian education with spiritual, cultural, and political stress. In turn, the political developments of the twentieth century culminating in the long civil war, splintered the religious communities and affected their way of teaching religion. Post-war Lebanon still carries within it the legacies of the Ottoman Empire, the fingerprint of Western missionaries, the prejudices of Arab nationalism, and the bitter memories of a war tainted with religious differences.