The Social Dimension of Christian Missions in the Middle East

Historical Studies of the 19th and 20th Centuries

The Social Dimension of Christian Missions in the Middle East

Historical Studies of the 19th and 20th Centuries


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Christian missions in the Middle East were and still are a highly sensitive topic. For a number of academics, they have destroyed indigenous cultures and are nothing else than the religious wing of imperialism. A new development in historiography gives a different interpretation: Missions seem to have strongly contributed to the development of social work, healthcare, education, and science in certain regions of the world – sometimes even implementing basic social infrastructure that has been neglected by local rulers for decades or centuries. In particular, the missions in the Middle East have exhibited a strong "social dimension". Thus, one could even speak of a specific "trademark", for conversions hardly took place in the "house of Islam", and also among Jews during the 19th and 20th century.

This volumne brings together some of the essential papers of a conference dealing with questions of cultural, religious and social history in this field of research. It contributes to the historiography of Christian missions, welfare organisations as well as of Christian Churches in the Middle East. The book challenges the predominantly eurocentric depiction of the history of Christianity by juxtaposing a transnational reading of Christian activism in the Orient.

"Lesen sollte es, wer die Verknüpfung europäischer Interessen mit den gegenwärtig dort miteinander ringenden ein wenig mit historischer Tiefe verstehen will."

Martin Tamcke, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 01/2013

"This book is a valuable addition to the history of missions and it heralds a new departure for this expanding field. Only with inter-disciplinary, trans-national, and trans-era studies such as the ones collected here can we begin, as Marten puts it, to see how mission history relates 'the past to the potential presents that there might have been, a way of perhaps appreciating the futures that there might now be'."

German Historical Institute London. Bulletin XXXIV, 2012/1

"Wer sich einen Eindruck über den westlichen Beitrag zur Wiederentdeckung des Heiligen Landes anhand exemplarischer Fragestellungen verschaffen will, dem sei der Band empfohlen."

Martin Lückhoff, Theologische Literaturzeitung 137, 2012/7+8

"We can be grateful to the contributors for their varied insights into the history of Christian missions in the Middle East."

John S. Conway, Contemporary Church History Quarterly 18, 2012/4
Series Missionsgeschichtliches Archiv
Volume 16
ISBN 978-3-515-09656-0
Media type Book - Paperback
Edition number 1.
Copyright year 2010
Publisher Franz Steiner Verlag
Length 252 pages
Illustrations 2 Diagrammes
Size 17.0 x 24.0 cm
Language English