For over five hundred years, since the great age of exploration, Western Christians have visited, traded with, conquered and colonized large parts of the non-Western world. In virtually every case this contact has been accompanied by an attempt to spread Christianity.
This volume explores the manner in which Western missionary Christianity has been shaped and transformed through contact with the peoples of Peru, Mexico, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, and Japan. Indigenous Responses to Western Christianity demonstrates how local populations, who initially encountered Christianity as a mixture of religion, culture, politics, ethics and technology, selected those elements they felt suited their needs. The conversion of the local population, the volume shows, was usually accompanied by a significant indigenization of Christianity. Through the detailed examination and comparison of events in a range of countries and cultures, this book points provides a deeper understanding of mission history and the dynamics of Christianity's expansion. The encounter with Western Christianity is vital to the history of contact between Western and non-Western civilizations. Western Christians have visited, traded with, conquered and colonized large parts of the non-Western world for over five hundred years, and their migration has almost always been accompanied by an attempt to create new Christians in new lands. Just as indigenous people have been converted however, so too has Christianity become variously indigenized. Local populations initially encounter a Christian package of religion, culture, politics, ethics and technology. This volume illustrates the ways in which peoples have selected elements of this package to suit their specific needs, and so explores the myriad transformations missionary Christianity has undergone through contact with the peoples of Peru, Mexico, Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Japan. Contributing are Erik Cohen (University of Jerusalem), Yochanan Bar Yafe Szeminski ?, John F. Howes ?, D. Dennis Hudson ?, Daniel H. Bays (University of Kansas), and Eric Van Young (University of California, San Diego). The chapters are linked by their attempt to overcome conventional regional and disciplinary barriers in order to achieve a deeper understanding of mission history and the dynamics of the expansion of Christianity. A remarkable work, this volume will pave the way for entirely new approaches to a particularly complex and demanding subject.