Around the Web

Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

Around the Web

Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:

Flynn, “The Western Christian Presence in the Russias and Qājār Persia, c.1760–c.1870”

In May, Brill Publishing will release “The Western Christian Presence in the Russias and Qājār Persia, c.1760–c.1870,” by Thomas S. R. O Flynn. The publisher’s description follows:

In The Western Christian Presence in the Russias and Qājār Persia, c.1760–c.1870, Thomas O Flynn vividly paints the life and times of missionary enterprises in early nineteenth-logocentury Russia and Persia at a moment of immense change when Tsarist Russia embarked on an expansionist campaign reaching to the Caucasus. Simultaneously he charts the relationship between the new Persian dynasty of the Qājārs and missionary activity on the part of European and American missionaries. This book reconstructs that world from a predominantly religious perspective. It recounts the sustaining ideals as well as the everyday struggles of the western missionaries, Protestant (Scottish, Basel and American Congregationalist) and Catholic (Jesuit and Vincentian). It looks at the reactions of diverse tribal peoples, the Tatars of the North Caucasus, the Kabardians and Circassians. Persia was the ultimate goal of these missionaries, which they eventually reached in the 1820s. Altogether this study throws light on the troubled course of history in West Asia and provides the background to politico-religious conflicts in Chechnya and Persia that persist to the present day.

Jonker, “The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress”

In December, Brill Publishing released “The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress: Missionizing Europe 1900-1965” by Gerdien Jonker (Erlangen University).  The publisher’s description follows:

What happens when the idea of religious progress propels the shaping of modernity? In The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress. Missionizing85285 Europe 1900 – 1965 Gerdien Jonker offers an account of the mission the Ahmadiyya reform movement undertook in interwar Europe. Nowadays persecuted in the Muslim world, Ahmadis appear here as the vanguard of a modern, rational Islam that met with a considerable interest.

Ahmadiyya mission on the European continent attracted European ‘moderns’, among them Jews and Christians, theosophists and agnostics, artists and academics, liberals and Nazis. Each in their own manner, all these people strove towards modernity, and were convinced that Islam helped realizing it. Based on a wide array of sources, this book unravels the multiple layers of entanglement that arose once the missionaries and their quarry met.

“Indigenous Evangelists and Questions of Authority in the British Empire 1750-1940” (eds. Brock, Etherington et al)

In September, Brill released “Indigenous Evangelists and Questions of Authority in the British Empire 1750-1940,” edited by Peggy Brock (Edith Cowan University), Norman Etherington (University of Western Australia), Gareth Griffiths (University of Western Australia), and Jacqueline Van Gent (University of Western Australia). The publisher’s description follow:

This is the first full-length historical study of indigenous evangelists across a range of societies, geographical regions and colonial regimes 510hh54hzql-_sx325_bo1204203200_and the first to focus on the complex issues of authority surrounding the evangelists. It answers a need frequently voiced in recent studies of Christian missions. Most scholars now acknowledge that the remarkable expansion of Christianity in Africa, Asia and the Pacific in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries owed far more to the efforts of indigenous preachers than to the foreign missionaries who loom so large in publications. This book addresses that concern making an excellent introduction to the role of indigenous evangelists in the spread of Christianity, and the many countervailing pressures with which these individuals had to contend. It also includes in the introductory discussions useful statements of the current state of scholarship and theoretical debates in this field.

Saint-Laurent, “Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches”

This month, University of California Press releases “Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches” by Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent (Marquette University). The publisher’s description follows:

Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches analyzes the hagiographic traditions of seven missionary saints in the Syriac heritage during late antiquity: Thomas, Addai, Mari, John of Ephesus, Simeon of Beth Arsham, Jacob Baradaeus, and Ahudemmeh. Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent studies a body of legends about the missionaries’ voyages in the Syrian Orient to illustrate their shared symbols and motifs. Revealing how these texts encapsulated the concerns of the communities that produced them, she draws attention to the role of hagiography as a malleable genre that was well-suited for the idealized presentation of the beginnings of Christian communities. Hagiographers, through their reworking of missionary themes, asserted autonomy, orthodoxy, and apostolicity for their individual civic and monastic communities, positioning themselves in relationship to the rulers of their empires and to competing forms of Christianity. Saint-Laurent argues that missionary hagiography is an important and neglected source for understanding the development of the East and West Syriac ecclesiastical bodies: the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East. Given that many of these Syriac-speaking churches remain today in the Middle East and India, with diaspora communities in Europe and North America, this work opens the door for further study of the role of saints and stories as symbolic links between ancient and modern traditions.

Tene, “Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico”

This month, Brill releases “Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico” by Ran Tene (Hebrew University). The publisher’s description follows:

“Conversion” is a basic religious concept, which has manifold implications for our everyday lives. Ran Tene’s Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico utilizes a cross-disciplinary methodology in which the fields of Philosophy, History, and Literary Studies are drawn upon to analyze conversion. He focuses on two moments in Spanish writing about Mexican missions, the early to mid-sixteenth century writings of the Spanish missionaries to Mexico and the early seventeenth century manuscripts of the author/copyist Fray Juan de Torquemada. The analysis exposes changes in worldviews – including the concepts of identity, ownership, and cruelty – through missionary eyes. It suggests two theoretical models – the vision model and the model of touch – to describe these changes, which are manifested in the missionary project and in the texts that it (re)produced.

Becker, “Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in Iran and the Origins of Assyrian Nationalism”

This month, The University of Chicago Press releases “Revival and Awakening: American Evangelical Missionaries in Iran and the Origins of Assyrian Nationalism”  by Adam Becker (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:

Most Americans have little understanding of the relationship between religion and nationalism in the Middle East. They assume that the two are rooted fundamentally in regional history, not in the history of contact with the broader world. However, as Adam H. Becker shows in this book, Americans—through their missionaries—had a strong hand in the development of a national and modern religious identity among one of the Middle East’s most intriguing (and little-known) groups: the modern Assyrians. Detailing the history of the Assyrian Christian minority and the powerful influence American missionaries had on them, he unveils the underlying connection between modern global contact and the retrieval of an ancient identity.

American evangelicals arrived in Iran in the 1830s. Becker examines how these missionaries, working with the “Nestorian” Church of the East—an Aramaic-speaking Christian community in the borderlands between Qajar Iran and the Ottoman Empire—catalyzed, over the span of sixty years, a new national identity. Instructed at missionary schools in both Protestant piety and Western science, this indigenous group eventually used its newfound scriptural and archaeological knowledge to link itself to the history of the ancient Assyrians, which in time led to demands for national autonomy. Exploring the unintended results of this American attempt to reform the Orient, Becker paints a larger picture of religion, nationalism, and ethnic identity in the modern era.

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