A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450-1990: A Documentary Sourcebook

A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450-1990: A Documentary Sourcebook

A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450-1990: A Documentary Sourcebook

A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450-1990: A Documentary Sourcebook

Synopsis

The map of world Christianity has changed dramatically, with a large number of Christians living in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This text is a comparative documentary history of Christianity for these regions covering the period 1450-1990.

Excerpt

The map of World Christianity has changed dramatically in the last century. While Europe and North America provided 82% of the Christian world population around 1900, the majority of Christians today (almost 60% in 2000) live in Africa, Asia and Latin America. the gravity of Christianity will continue to shift southwards in the next decades. This has significant implications for the global ecumenical discourse. During our life time, Christianity has become a world religion as never before in its history.

The present volume takes the changing ecumenical conditions into account. It documents the history of Christianity in Asia, Africa and Latin America in comparative perspective and enlarges the horizon of classical church historiography. Our text selection starts with the middle of the fifteenth century — the beginning of Iberian expansion — and concludes with the end of the cold war in the early 1990s. It is, of course, true that Christianity in Asia and Africa is much more ancient. Nevertheless the Iberian expansion marks a turning point, since only from that period onwards was Christianity present in the ‘New World’ and connections between the churches of the three continents developed.

In contrast to the prevailing Western perspectives on the history of Christianity in Africa, Asia and Latin America, this documentary history strives to give a voice to the multitude of local initiatives, specific experiences and varieties of Christianity in very diverse cultural contexts. This volume documents the voices of indigenous Christians who address such questions as the colonial conquest, slavery and the demand for ecclesiastical independence. It also gives expression to the denominational and contextual plurality of these “nonWestern” churches. At the same time, however, the chapters of the book introduce overarching themes and relate the specific developments in Africa, Asia and Latin America to a general history of world Christianity.

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