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Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Geoffrey Troughton

Samuel Marsden and the Peace Dimension in Early Nineteenth-Century Protestant Missions

From 1814, Protestant missionaries to New Zealand cast their primary task as disseminating a “gospel of peace”. Their emphasis upon peace and peacemaking was a striking feature of nineteenth-century New Zealand. Surprisingly, while scholarly discussions have explored the conflicts, tensions and imperialist dimensions of early missionary expansion, this peace emphasis has never been systematically examined. This paper analyses the origins of the peace emphasis within the first Christian mission to New Zealand, that of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). In particular, it focuses on the role of peaceable ideas and activism in the thinking and strategy of the Revd Samuel Marsden, the founder of the New Zealand CMS mission. Understanding Marsden’s thinking, and the place of peace ideologies in the CMS, provides crucial insights into the character of early mission in the region, and its adaptation to local circumstances.

Michael Riber Jørgensen

The Home Mission: a movement on the move

The Danish Home Mission (Indre Mission) is a Christian revival movement, founded in 1861 to conduct missionary work at home, as opposed to the “outer mission” in Africa, Asia etc. During its heyday in the 1950s, the movement experienced great success, dominating the Lutheran state church as well as exercising a real influence on secular politics in large parts of the country. Since then, however, the Home Mission has been on the decline, and in recent years seen itself become more and more marginalized within the state church. Has the church as a whole changed its theological foundations – or has the Home Mission? How does a religious organization with relatively conservative values react to changes in the surrounding society by (re-)constructing or adapting its own collective identity? The paper will raise these questions – and attempt to answer them.

Giulia Nardini

Ñāna Upatēcam (1656) by Roberto Nobili SJ, adaptation and transformation of catechism in Madurai Mission (Tamil Nadu-India)

My paper presents a case of negotiating religious processes occurred between Jesuit missionaries and Tamil Brahmins of the 17th-century in the South-Indian context. My focus is on Ñāna Upatēcam, a document of Tamil catechism, written by Roberto Nobili (Rome 1577 – Madras 1656), a Jesuit missionary in Tamil Nadu (India) in order to transfer the Catholic doctrine to the Tamil neophytes. This case study explores the transcultural dimensions of Christianity in the well known method of “accommodation” (in lat. accomodatio): a new model of catechesis, including forms of worship, religious practices and theological texts. Ñāna Upatēcam, is not only a translation of Catholic dogma but a creation of new genre, with an added attention to the cultural aspect of the local hierarchical society, thus rendering the catechism accessible to the Tamil converts. This huge magnum opus comprises of five volumes and remains till today, only in its Tamil version.


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