Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Shaping of the West Indian Church, 1492-1962

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Shaping of the West Indian Church, 1492-1962

Article excerpt

The Shaping of the West Indian Church, 1492-1962. By Arthur Charles Dayfoot. (Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 1999. Pp. xvii, 360. $49.95.)

This scholarly work of Arthur Charles Dayfoot is a very welcome piece of research. The history of the Church in the English Caribbean had been overlooked by historians. Maybe, the reason is that the time was not ripe yet. For the most part, the history of the Catholic Church in the Spanish (Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico), the French (Haiti), and the English (Jamaica) Caribbean has been researched and published systematically. As a matter of fact, the author takes the reader from the Caribbean to North America, to Central America, to South America, and to the other parts of the Caribbean in order to establish the liaisons between the different church developments. The final product is a history that gives the reader a global idea of how Christianity thoroughly interrelated the different periods of time and places.

Another important aspect of this work is the ecumenical sense in which it is written. As the Church the author understands not only the history of the Protestant churches, but also that of the Catholic Church; the latter has been approached objectively. Dayfoot shows through his approach that that dreadful time of historical works written with the sole purpose of highlighting the best aspects of one church and the bad ones of the other churches has been overcome. For that reason the contribution of this work to the knowledge of the development of Christianity in the Caribbean basin is very important.

One may say that the chronological parameters used are very ambitious, covering a wide scope of time, from 1492 to 1962. …

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