Beyond Empire: Rethinking the History of Global Christianity

Code: HIS/TH551

Dates: July 8, 2024 - July 12, 2024

Time: 2:00 pm for 3 hours

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Christianity was a demonstrably global faith (with its center of gravity in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East) before it became a predominantly Western religion (c.1500). Now, after roughly five centuries, it has once again reemerged as a hugely non-Western phenomenon. A full historical account reveals a faith that is inherently global because it is ultimately local and a movement that recurrently defied structures of empire or cultural captivity.

This course provides a distilled and highly selective exploration of Christianity’s globalization with particular focus on the processes of cross-cultural transmission and indigenous appropriations. Key elements that have shaped the experience and expression of the faith in successive heartlands will guide the discussion. These include the translation principle; the agents and agencies of missionary expansion; interaction with other major faiths; and causative factors in the periodic shifts of its center of gravity. 

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