Christianity in India : From Beginnings to the Present

Robert Eric Frykenberg, Oxford University Press, 2008, xxiii, 564 p, 8 maps, 13 illust, ISBN : 0198263777, $0.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: 1. Introduction: Christians, Christianity, and Christendom. 2. Contextualizing complexity, I: India's, peoples, and social structures. 3. Contextualizing complexity, II: India's dominant religious traditions: Santana-Dharma and Dar-ul-Islam. 4. Thomas Christians and the Thomas tradition. 5. Pfarangi Catholic Christians and Padroado Christendom. 6. Evangelical Christians as Missionary Dubashis: conduits of cross-cultural communication. 7. India's Raj and political logic: the unification of India, a southern perspective. 8. Avarna Christians and conversion movements. 9. Missionaries, colonialism, and ecclesiastical dominion. 10. Indian Christian and 'Hindu Raj'. 11. Elite education and Missionaries. 12. Catholic renewal and resurgence. 13. 'Trophies of Grace' and their public influence. 14. Adivasi movements in the North-East. 15. Conclusion and epilogue. Bibliography. Glossary. Index.

"Christianity has always been trans-cultural and migratory, especially in its expansive phases. From its initial cultural matrix in Jerusalem, each successive set of inter-actions with cultures of the Graeco-Roman World, with Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic Europe, as also with cultures of Persia, India and China, has led to alterations within Christian culture itself.

Robert Eric Frykenberg's wide ranging study explores and enhances our historical understanding of Christian communities, cultures, and institutions within the Indian world from their beginnings down to the present. Frykenberg focuses on those trans-cultural interactions within Hindu and Muslim environments which have made Christians in this part of the world distinctive, ever aware of the contemporary context of newly emerging World Christianity, in which Christians of a Post-Christian West are a minority. Frykenberg's purposefully indocentric perspective guides the reader through complexities in the proliferation of Christianity. He Offers a sensitive and nuanced examination of the processes by which Christian elements intermingled with indigenous cultures, leaving imprints upon the many cultures of India today.

Frykenberg provides a fascinating insight into four major waves of Christian expansion, beginning with the growth of the Thomas Christian community, who believe that the Apostle Thomas came to India in 52 AD/CE leaving behind seven congregations. The three hierarchies of the Indian Catholic church are discussed alongside the variety of Evangelical and protestant communities that proliferate today. With the rise of Pentecostalism, the fourth great wave of Christian expansion in India has occurred. Starting with movements that began five centuries ago, there are now ten to fifteen times more missionaries than ever before, virtually all of them Indian. Needless to say, Christianity in India is profoundly Indian. Here, for the first time in one volume, we are offered a fluent scholarly explanation of what this means by a lifelong specialist in the history and cultures of South Asia." (jacket)

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