Series: Studies in the History of Christian Missions (SHCM)
In this volume, leading historians of Christianity in the non-Western world examine the relationship between missionaries and nineteenth-century European colonialism, and between indigenous converts and the colonial contexts in which they lived. Forced to operate within a political framework of European expansionism that lay outside their power to control, missionaries and early converts variously attempted to co-opt certain aspects of colonialism and to change what seemed prejudicial to gospel values.
These contributors are the leading historians in their fields, and the concrete historical situations that they explore show the real complexity of missionary efforts to "convert" colonialism.
Contributors: J. F. Ade Ajayi
Dan L. Robert
R. G. Tiedemann
C. Peter Williams
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Dana L Roberts is Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission at Boston University School of Theology.Review:
— Yale University
"The colonial framework has been the matrix of much historical and theological reconstruction of Christianity abroad. Yet recent scholarship has helped to move the subject beyond its colonial domestication. The collected essays in this book probe this colonial theme and its meaning for indigenous agency and acculturation. In some instructive cases it is not difficult to see how colonial rule played an ambivalent role by promoting missions while impeding — and thereby provoking — leadership aspirations among converts. These essays offer plenty of food for thought." Ogbu Kalu
— McCormick Theological Seminary
"In The Waste Land T. S. Eliot ruminated about the shadow that falls between the ideal or vision and the reality or performance. Dana Robert has mobilized an array of mission historians to recapture the passion, vision, and dreams behind the missionary enterprise whose force reshaped the twentieth century. . . Robert and the other experts in this volume demonstrate the changing contours of the historiography and recapture the enduring legacies of the visionaries. This is not a simple makeover of the missionary image; rather, the depth of research, breadth and balance of perspectives, and global coverage combine to make this an important contribution to the story about the responses of communities in the southern hemisphere to the power of the gospel." Daniel H. Bays
— Calvin College
"Converting Colonialism, ably edited by Dana Robert, is part of the fine Eerdmans series Studies in the History of Christian Missions. This volume is one of the best. It contains some of the most perceptive writing in recent years on the relationship between colonialism and missions in the two centuries before 1914. This is both a sad and a hopeful story, convincingly told by the nine distinguished authors, whose essays range from mission theory to compellingly interesting case studies from Africa, India, China, and the home front. The scholarship here is outstanding; some of these studies will be reprinted, I am sure, and may well become classics."
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