Missionary Christianity and Local Religion
Arun W. Jones
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie
The first Christian communities were established among the population of Hindi- and Urdu-speaking North India during the middle of the nineteenth century. The evangelical North American Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries who arrived in what were considered the Hindu heartlands discovered a social and religious landscape far more diverse than expected. With its Hindu majority and significant Muslim minority, the region also proved home to reform and renewal movements both within and beyond Hinduism. These movements had already carved out niches for religious difference, niches where Christianity took root.
In Missionary Christianity and Local Religion Arun Jones documents the story of how preexisting indigenous bhakti movements and western missionary evangelicalism met to form the cornerstone for the foundational communities of North Indian Christianity. Moreover, while newly arrived missionaries may have reported their exploits as totally fresh encounters with the local population, they built their work on the existing fledgling gatherings of Christians such as European colonial officials, merchants, and soldiers, and their Indian and Eurasian family members. Jones demonstrates how foreign missionaries, Indian church leaders, and converts alike all had to negotiate the complex parameters of historic Indian religious and social institutions and cultures, as well as navigate the realities of the newly established British Empire.
Missionary Christianity and Local Religion provides portrayals and analyses of the ideas, motivations, and activities of the diverse individuals who formed and nurtured a flourishing North Indian Christian movement that was both evangelical and rooted in local religious and social realities. This exploration of new Christian communities created by the confluences and divergences between American evangelical and Indian bhakti religious traditions reveals the birth and early growth of one of the many incarnations of Christianity.
Christian History, Indian, Evangelism, Asia, Missions, India