It is a truism to state that Christianity has spread across the world as a result of cross-cultural communication. Andrew Walls, who has done so much to set the approach, research questions and tone of World Christianity studies, has highlighted how scripture and Christian thought are translated into new languages and thought-forms as Christianity spreads. Walls, who celebrates his ninetieth birthday this year, has encouraged attention to the historical processes at work in communication that are examined in this edition of Studies in World Christianity. Between them, the articles in this edition illustrate the variety of form and effectiveness of cross-cultural communication in the modern history of encounter with Christianity. They also show familiar patterns. All these articles prioritise textual and oral communication. Reading, writing, preaching and proclaiming are the main modes of communication under scrutiny. (Continue reading Emma Wild-Wood’s introduction here.) Continue reading
Attendees at this year’s meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group had a special treat in a book launch for Brian Stanley’s new book, Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History. Professor Stanley was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book for the CSWC blog.
Why did you decide to write this book?
Well, in a sense I didn’t! I would never have dreamt of attempting such an impossible assignment. Back in November 2011 I was invited by Princeton University Press to consider writing a broad-ranging history of Christianity in the 20th century for the educated general reader. After considerable hesitation I eventually agreed. Continue reading
This year’s meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group (28–30 June 2018) was welcomed to Scotland with unusually warm weather. While we had the rare occasion to grumble that the Scottish weather was too warm for us, the three-day conference continued in a warm and friendly atmosphere. On the first day of the conference, some of our delegates attended the launch of our current director of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity Professor Brian Stanley’s new book, Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History, which he dedicated to Andrew F. Walls, the founder of the CSWC. Dr Emma Wild-Wood, who joined the CSWC in January, then delivered the opening lecture on the social meaning of baptism in Uganda between 1890 and 1910. Continue reading
2018 has seen the publication, on schedule, of the second volume in the series of Edinburgh Companions to Global Christianity from Edinburgh University Press. Co-edited by Mariz Tadros, Todd M. Johnson and me, Christianity in North Africa and West Asia offers an account of the Christian presence in every country within these two UN regions.
Building on the success of EUP’s best-selling Atlas of Global Christianity, this series takes the analysis of worldwide Christianity to a deeper level of detail. It offers both reliable demographic information and original interpretative essays by indigenous scholars and practitioners. It maps patterns of growth and decline, assesses major traditions and movements, analyzes key themes and examines current trends.
Besides country-level analysis, the volume on North Africa and West Asia examines each of the major Christian traditions. Continue reading
In two weeks’ time (28-30 June 2018), the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity will be holding its 2018 annual meeting in the University of Edinburgh. The theme, ‘Scripture, Prayer and Worship in the History of Missions and World Christianity’, has drawn a strong number of excellent papers covering an impressive number of topics:
Papers from our 2017 meeting have recently been published in Studies in World Christianity 24.1, and a selection of this year’s papers will likewise be published in a future issue of the journal.
On the morning of June 28, 2018 at 10:30am, we will be launching Brian Stanley’s new book, Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History (Princeton University Press, 2018).
The event is co-sponsored with the Princeton University Press and will be held in the Martin Hall, New College. It will include a discussion by Professor Stewart J Brown (University of Edinburgh).
The event will be followed by a reception and is open to the public. For more details, please see the advertisement flier.
The editors of The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR) are looking for contributors to write articles from a world Christianity perspective. Professor Dyron Daughrity of Pepperdine University serves as the world Christianity editor and potential authors should contact him.
The project’s website describes the EBR as ‘a multi-faceted reference work which covers biblical and religious topics as well as their reception in an array of religious, cultural and academic disciplines and fields.’ Editors have assembled an interdisciplinary team of more than 3500 authors representing over 50 countries, ensuring a broad outlook for the encyclopaedia, which is projected to consist of 30 volumes. In addition to theology and religious studies, disciplines represented include classics, literary studies, archaeology, music, visual arts, and film. Continue reading
To celebrate the work of John McCracken and Jack Thompson, scholars from around the world gathered at a conference in Edinburgh on 26 April. The conference, titled ‘Politics, Society and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond’, brought together emerging and established scholars to discuss some of the important themes in these two men’s work. Speakers presented papers on the academy in society, material and visual culture, Malawi and global history, Christianity and political change in Africa, and Christian missions and the making of modern Malawi. Continue reading
Jeffrey Cannon is a PhD student at the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, Edinburgh. His research explores Western conceptions of African Christianity. He was previously an archivist at the Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This essay continues our series discussing issues raised in the ‘Currents, Perspectives, and Methodologies in World Christianity’ conference at Princeton Theological Seminary held 18–20 January 2018.
In a worldwide conference that will be noted for several historic announcements, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Saturday the appointment of Gerrit Gong and Ulisses Soares to its Council of the Twelve Apostles. Their calls represent a significant diversification in the church’s governing bodies. Gong, an American-born political scientist specialising in China, is the first Mormon apostle of Asian descent. Soares, a businessman from Brazil, is both the first from Latin America and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Continue reading
Migration, Diaspora and Return
Migration has featured as a major topic in contemporary social and political discourse. In Europe and North America, where many have lamented the decline of the church, much of this migration includes the waves of vibrant expressions of Christianity coming from peoples with origins in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Of course, the connection between the development of Christianity and the movement of people is nothing new. The book of Acts, for instance, narrates the early church’s trajectory from Jerusalem as the centre of Judaism to Rome as the centre of the Gentile world – the earliest ‘gravitational shift’ of Christianity. Luke describes the Day of Pentecost as the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers, who were ‘devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem’ (Acts 2: 5, NRSV). These were Jewish believers from the diaspora who had returned and were then living in Jerusalem.
Much of Christian history is a story of the multidirectional movement of the faithful dispersed into new lands and returning to old lands. Continuing this theme, the four main articles in this issue were originally delivered at the 2017 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at Yale Divinity School from 29 June to 1 July 2017. The theme of the conference was ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage in the History of Missions and World Christianity’. These papers narrate a story of Christianity as a worldwide phenomenon developed, negotiated and reconfigured through migration, diaspora and return. Continue reading