"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Christianity in Asia

I read a slightly cynical academic not long ago who said that one way to ensure you never ran out of things to talk about or publish on was immediately to "pluralize" everything. We have a new book from Wiley Blackwell and their series "Guides to Global Christianity" that has adopted this increasingly common trend of pluralizing phenomena today: Peter C. Phan, ed., Christianities in Asia (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 288pp.

The publisher provides us with this description of the books contents, saying it:
  • Offers detailed coverage of the growth of Christianity within South Asia; among the thousands of islands comprising Southeast Asia; and across countries whose Christian origins were historically linked, including Vietnam, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea
  • Brings together a truly international team of contributors, many of whom are natives of the countries they are writing about
  • Considers the Middle Eastern countries whose Christian roots are deepest, yet have turbulent histories and uncertain futures
  • Explores the ways in which Christians in Asian countries have received and transformed Christianity into their local or indigenous religion
  • Shows Christianity to be a vibrant contemporary movement in many Asian countries, despite its comparatively minority status in these regions
There are of course Eastern Christians scattered throughout all of the countries reviewed by this volume, but it seems that the twelfth and final chapter, by the Coptic nun and scholar Lois Farag, "The Middle East," is where we find the most explicit and direct examination of Arab Christians as well as the Syriac, Assyrian, Maronite, and Armenian Churches.

I look forward to seeing this reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

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