Book Launch: Christianity in the Twentieth Century

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.

Recap of Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

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

Mormonism and the Study of World Christianity

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.

Cameroonian Mormons pose outside temple in Aba, Nigeria. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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

Billy Graham (1918–2018): Prophet of World Christianity?

Billy Graham in 1966. (Photo by Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection, Library of Congress)

Most of the notices and obituaries of Billy Graham, who died on 21 February 2018, have focused on his significance for Christianity in the United States. Dubbed ‘America’s pastor’ by President George H. W. Bush in 2007, Graham seemed to be the quintessential American preacher – handsome, dapper, eloquent, uncompromising in his presentation of the gospel, and apparently quite untroubled by modern questions about the reliability of the Bible. He was on first-name terms with a string of American presidents from Eisenhower to Obama. He was also a typical product of the Bible belt in the American south. At first he accepted racial segregation, even in Christian meetings, as a fact of life and his relationship with the civil rights movement – notably with Martin Luther King – was at times a fractious one. Continue reading

Dr Emma Wild-Wood: Where does the wisdom of the white man come in?

Dr Emma Wild-Wood delivered the lecture ‘Where does the wisdom of the white man come in? The Interpretations, Problems and Possibilities of Missionary Sources in the History of Christianity in Africa’ on 6 February 2018 in the jointly hosted Centre for the Study of World Christianity and History of Christianity research seminars at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

Politics, Society and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond
A Memorial Conference for John McCracken and Jack Thompson

Thursday 26 April 2018
New College, The Mound, Edinburgh

hosted by
Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh
Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh
Division of History and Politics, University of Stirling
Scotland-Malawi Partnership

In 2017, two eminent historians whose work focused on Malawi passed away. To
commemorate John and Jack we cordially invite you to attend the conference ‘Politics and Christianity in Malawi and Beyond’ on 26 April 2018. The conference offers an opportunity to reflect on their tremendous contribution to African studies, studies of African Christianity and the historiography of Africa. Further, it provides a platform for younger generations of scholars who have been inspired by John’s and Jack’s work.

The conference invites you to explore key themes in the historical and social scientific study of Africa featuring prominently in John’s and Jack’s research such as the embeddedness of the academy in society both in Africa and the UK; Christianity and power; material and visual culture in Africa; and Malawi and Global History. Continue reading

New Appointment: Dr Emma Wild-Wood

The Centre for the Study of World Christianity is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Emma Wild-Wood as our new Senior Lecturer in African Christianity and African Indigenous Religions, with effect from 1 January 2018.

Emma comes to us from Cambridge, where she has been the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide and more recently has filled the post of Lecturer in World Christianities in the University’s Faculty of Divinity while the current post-holder has been on a two-year research leave. She also taught in DR Congo and in Uganda for a number of years. Emma did her PhD in the Centre here in Edinburgh under Dr Jack Thompson, so she is returning to familiar territory. Continue reading

Studies in World Christianity, Issue 23.1

Appropriations of Christianity

Studies in World Christianity

The five main articles in this issue have been selected from papers given at the 2016 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at New College, Edinburgh, from 23 to 25 June 2016. The theme of the conference was ‘Responses to Missions: Appropriations, Revisions, and Rejections’. Perhaps the most significant shift discernible in the historiography of the missionary movement over the last few decades has been the progressive transfer of scholarly attention from the Western missionaries themselves to indigenous hearers, receptors and agents. Responses to missions were almost always multifaceted and only rarely can be described without qualification as either ‘acceptance’ or ‘rejection’. Indigenous peoples responded selectively to both the missionaries’ presence and their message. Sometimes they welcomed the former, for a variety of instrumental reasons, while being obstinately indifferent to the latter. On other occasions – particularly in the twentieth century – they appropriated the gospel itself while being less than enthusiastic about the continued presence and claims to religious authority of those who had first brought it. Continue reading

Studies in World Christianity, Issue 22.3

Eschatology, Time and Space

Studies in World Christianity

In his famous commentary on Romans, Karl Barth examines Romans 8:24–25 and explains that, without eschatological hope,1

there is no freedom, but only imprisonment; no grace, but only condemnation and corruption; no divine guidance, but only fate; no God, but only a mirror of unredeemed humanity.

For this Swiss theologian, Christianity void of ‘restless eschatology’ is Christianity void of a relationship with Christ and a new life offered by the Holy Spirit. Eschatological hope is the basis for Christian salvation and offers a reason to strive and a reason to change – to change oneself and to change one’s surrounding world. Most commonly, eschatology is understood in terms of the dimension of time. But for others, eschatology reorients understandings of the dimension of space. The four articles in this issue of Studies in World Christianity engage this overarching subject of Christian eschatology, but also how different contexts develop understandings of eschatology in terms of time and space. Continue reading