"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).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christian Historiography in India

Christianity in India continues to fascinate as a place where various Western Christians live alongside a very substantial population of Eastern Christians who have, as I have noted before, some of the most most colourful if understudied practices. Indian Christianity is now coming in for increasing study in new works such as John C.B. Webster, Historiography of Christianity in India (Oxford University Press, 2012), 272pp.
About this book we are told that it

        • Provides a comprehensive overview of history of Christianity in India
        • Deals with contemporary topics like religious conversion and Dalits
        • Adopts the approach of 'New Perspectives' of Church History Association of India
Moving beyond the missionary perspective, this book adopts a historian's approach to the documentation of Christianity in the region. Webster's first-hand knowledge of social dynamics of the region as well as familiarity with sources form the basis of this socio-cultural history of the Christians in India. Wide in its scope, his narrative reaches back to the early days of the Europeans in India, as well as strides forward in meeting the challenges of modern India like religious conversion and identity of Indian Christians. From tracking down the elusive Ditt in Indian Christian history to the understanding of Christianity through the perspectives of subalterns like women and Dalits, this book furthers a case for the interpretation of Indian social history through Christian history of the region.

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