Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500

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Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500 | Robert Eric Frykenberg (editor)

Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication since 1500

Robert Eric Frykenberg

Studies in History of Christian Mission

Routledge and WM B Eerdmans Publishing Co.




432 pages

The assumption that Christianity in India is nothing more than a European, western, or colonial imposition is open to challenge. Those who now think and write about India are often not aware that Christianity is a non-western religion, that in India this has always been so, and that there are now more Christians in Africa and Asia than in the West. Recognizing that more understanding of the separate histories and cultures of the many Christian communities in India will be needed before a truly comprehensive history of Christianity in India can be written, this volume addresses particular aspects of cultural contact, with special reference to caste, conversion, and colonialism. Subjects addressed range from Sanskrit grammar to populist Pentecostalism, Urdu polemics and Tamil poetry.


  1. Introduction: Dealing with Contested Definitions and Controversial Perspectives
    Robert Eric Frykenberg
  2. Christians in India: An Historical Overview of Their Complex Origins
    Robert Eric Frykenberg
  3. First European Missionaries on Sanskrit Grammar
    Iwona Milewska
  4. Country Priests, Catechists, and Schoolmasters as Cultural, Religious, and Social Middlemen in the Context of the Tranquebar Mission
    Heike Liebau
  5. Tanjore, Tranquebar, and Halle: European Science and German Missionary Education in the Lives of Two Indian Intellectuals in the Early Nineteenth Century
    Indira Viswanathan Peterson
  6. Christianity, Colonialism, and Hinduism in Kerala: Integration, Adaptation, or Confrontation?
    Penelope Carson
  7. Constructing “Hinduism”: The Impact of the Protestant Missionary Movement on Hindu Self-Understanding
    Geoffrey A. Oddie
  8. Receding from Antiquity: Hindu Responses to Science and Christianity on the Margins of Empire, 1800-1850
    Richard Fox Young
  9. “Pillar of a New Faith”: Christianity in LateNineteenth-Century Punjab from the Perspective
    of a Convert from Islam
    Avril A. Powell
  10. Missionaries and Print Culture in Nineteenth-Century Assam: The Orunodoi Periodical of the American Baptist Mission
    Jayeeta Sharma
  11. The Santals, Though Unable to Plan for Tomorrow, Should Be Converted by Santals
    Marine Carrin and Harald Tambs-Lyche
  12. Christian Missionaries and Orientalist Discourse: Illustrated by Materials on the Santals after 1855
    Peter B. Andersen and Susanne Foss
  13. Glimpses of a Prominent Indian Christian Family of Tirunelveli and Madras, 1863-1906: Perspectives on Caste, Culture, and Conversion
    E. M. Jackson
  14. Social Mobilization among People Competing at the Bottom Level of Society: The Presence of Missions in Rural South India, ca. 1900-1950
    Gunnel Cederlöf
  15. From Pentecostal Healing Evangelist to Kalki Avatar: The Remarkable Life of Paulaseer Lawrie, alias Shree Lahari Krishna (1921-1989) – A Contribution to the Understanding of New Religious Movements
    Michael Bergunder
  16. Praising Baby Jesus in Iyecupiran Pillaitamil
    Paula Richman


‘I commend this book both to those who know India well and would like to know more, and those beginning their encounter with Indian Christianity.’
Church Times

‘The quality of this volume is virtually guaranteed by its editor, Robert Frykenberg, one of the foremost living experts on the East India Company and British India. … As with the editor, so with the contributors; the level of scholarship is uniformly high and the writing graceful.’

‘Each study in this book illustrates the complex and unexpected results of any intervention in another culture.’

‘It is to be recommended as a colourful, scholarly and up-to-date introduction to the rich hisotry of cultural interaction which Indian Christianity embodies.’
Ecclesiastical History

‘The authors deserve our warm appreciation, for they have admirably enhanced our understanding of Christianity in India. Students of India and of Indian Christianity will find this remarkable volume very helpful indeed.’
Daniel Jeyaraj, Judson-DeFrietas Associate Professor of World Christianity, Andover Newton Theological School, Massachusetts

“This book is to be highly commended for two reasons. First, it provides a considered deconstruction of the popular but intellectually untenable notion that Christianity in India is nothing more than the evolved by-product of several centuries of European military adventuring and political domination. Second, it delineates the historical depth, confusing range, and social complexity of the challenges enveloping Indian Christians and their communities, past and present. It must also be noted that within the genre of multiple-author volumes, this one is remarkable for the consistently high scholarly and literary quality of its chapters, suggesting that the editor, mindful of his own enviable reputation as a scholar, has selected and edited the contributions with great care. Christians and Missionaries in India both merits and rewards careful reading.”
Jonathan J. Bonk

“Robert Frykenberg’s name as editor is in itself a guarantee of serious historical scholarship. Here he has gathered a most distinguished array of contributors to examine Christians and missionaries in India from a wide variety of perspectives. Their work adds up to a remarkably rounded view of Christianity in the Indian context from (to a large extent) an Indian perspective. Innovative and informative, this volume makes compelling reading. “
John Brockington

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