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The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa (Studies in the History of Christian Missions) download epub

by Patrick Harries,David Maxwell


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Patrick Harries, David Maxwell, and their fellow authors explore how missionaries made unique contributions to scientific . Those interested in the novels of the late Chinua Achebe will find chapter 4 most insightful.

Those interested in the novels of the late Chinua Achebe will find chapter 4 most insightful. Missionary George T. Basden wrote copiously about the Igbo of Nigeria, and still has an impact on perceptions of that ethnic group.

The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. The spiritual in the secular. Missionaries and knowledge about Africa. Studies in the History of Christian Missions.

Studies in the history of christian missions. The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa. China’s Millions: The China Inland Mission and Late Qing Society, 1832-1905. Protestant Origins in India: Tamil Evangelical Christians, 1706-1835.

Frykenberg and Brian Stanley, is developing into a major collection of scholarly books

Frykenberg and Brian Stanley, is developing into a major collection of scholarly books. All historians of missions in colonial (and other) settings throughout the world owe a considerable debt to its growing list of remarkable works

This book presents a survey of the contribution of the missionaries to the scientific anthropological insights, medical practices and knowledge of Africa.

This book presents a survey of the contribution of the missionaries to the scientific anthropological insights, medical practices and knowledge of Africa. Patrick Harries and David Maxwell start with a thorough introduction, which is followed by nine chapters written by well-known authors who each describe an aspect of the missionary presence within the framework of the academic developments taking place in the British colonial territories in particular in Southern Africa.

Series: Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Rather, many missionaries were remarkable, pioneering polymaths. opens up a new line of inquiry about the nature of the global networks that these actors helped to create and sustain.

At the Akropong mission station, he met other missionaries, Widmann, Dieterle and Joseph Mohr. The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa (Studies in the History of Christian Missions). After his arrival on the Gold Coast, he became an instructor at the recently founded Basel Mission Seminary at Akropong-Akuapem, established in 1848. The seminary had ten students at the time. The Basel Mission by that time had also started a boys'. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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Start by marking The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. This collection of essays explores the ways in which late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century David Livingstone's visit to Cambridge in 1857 was seen as much as a scientific event as a religious one.

ISBN 978-0-8028-6634-9. All historians of missions in colonial (and other) settings throughout the world owe a considerable debt to its growing list of remarkable works. Frykenberg and Brian Stanley, is developing into a major collection of scholarly books. All historians of missions in colonial (and other) settings throughout the world owe a considerable debt to its growing list of remarkabl. ONTINUE READING.

David Livingstone's visit to Cambridge in 1857 was seen as much as a scientific event as a religious one. But he was by no means alone among missionaries in integrating mission with science and other fields of research. Rather, many missionaries were remarkable, pioneering polymaths.This collection of essays explores the ways in which late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century missionaries to Africa contributed to various academic disciplines, such as linguistics, ethnography, social anthropology, zoology, medicine, and many more. This volume includes an introductory chapter by the editors and eleven chapters that analyze missionary research and its impact on knowledge about African contexts. Several themes emerge, including many missionaries' positive views of indigenous discourses and the complicated relationship between missionaries and professional anthropologists.Contributors:John CinnamonErika EichholzerNatasha ErlankDeborah GaitskellPatrick HarriesWalima T. KalusaJohn MantonDavid MaxwellJohn StuartDmitri van den BersselaarHonoré Vinck

Comments: (2)

Lyrtois
Patrick Harries and David Maxell, editors. The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012.

This is an anthology of eleven essays describing the interface of missionaries and academic research about Africa, with a small portion on missionaries relations with the colonial governments. The time span of the contents covers in general late 19th to mid 20th centuries. The fine introductory chapter points out how relations evolved as anthropology developed and increasingly over time marginalized missionary research.

Two of the essays concern Congo (RDC). Chapter 5 is on William F.P. Burton of a Pentecostal faith mission, the Congo Evangelistic Mission, in Mwanza, Katanga Province of southeast Belgian Congo. He did considerable scientific research on Luba culture during his career there 1915-1960. “Maxwell considers the motivations, institutions and processes that shaped Burton’s scientific work on the Luba Katanga in relation to the practices of Belgian colonial science and the emergent discipline of Anglo-Saxon anthropology.” (9)

Chapter 7 is by Father Honoré Vinck, who worked in the DRC 1972-1999 as a Catholic missionary and as director of the Aequatoria Research Center in Bamanya, near Mbandaka. He was editor in chief of Annales Aequatoria, and did considerable research himself. His essay concerns two giants in research on the Mongo people of Congo, Catholic priests Gustaaf Hulstaert and Edmond Boelaert, who founded the center and the journal Aequatoria in 1937. “The philosophical and political position of all these publications was clear: civilization and evangelization had to be based on a rigorous respect of the local people, their political and social structures, their languages and cultures.” (222)

For anyone interested in medical mission, chapter 8 is most fascinating. The title of Walima T. Kalusa’s essay is “Christian Medical Discourse and Praxis on the Imperial Frontier: Explaining the Popularity of Missionary Medicine in Mwinilunga District, Zambia, 1906-1935.” And the Congo element comes in as Dan Crawford of the Plymouth Brethren in Katanga influenced Dr. Walter Fisher of the Plymouth Brethren mission in neighboring Zambia.

The cover photograph is of Karl Laman, a Swedish missionary, whose research on Kongo culture including language was of immense importance in Lower Congo. He is shown with his assistant, Tito Makundo, working on the Kikongo Bible and dictionary in 1910. Unfortunately there is no essay on them.

Those interested in the novels of the late Chinua Achebe will find chapter 4 most insightful. Missionary George T. Basden wrote copiously about the Igbo of Nigeria, and still has an impact on perceptions of that ethnic group.

Other essays cover entomology and botany in Africa (the only chapter going back to the 16th century); linguistics on the Gold Coast; the concepts of fetishism and totemism in Gabon; Dora Earthy’s Mozambique research and the early years of professional anthropology in South Africa; the International Missionary Council, the International African Institute, and research into African marriage and family; researching church and society in late colonial African; and finally medical institutions for leprosy in Nigeria.

Two final points. Early missionary research provided valuable data unavailable elsewhere, data that still finds its way into current academic research. For example, Laman’s work (above) will be found (with proper credit) in the work of a professional anthropologist, Wyatt MacGaffey, Art and healing of the Bakongo, commented by themselves: Minkisi from the Laman collection. Also the editors state “missionary research remains valuable to scholars because of specific ethnographic detail they offer, or because their interpretations have been enthusiastically embraced in the localities they were documenting.”(24) One thinks among others of Hulstaert’s influence on the Mongo people, Basden’s on the Igbo, and Van Wing’s on the Kongo. The editors also state that one reason why missionary scientific research remains so useful is their reliance on local assistants and informants.(25) One thinks for instance of the Laman case above.

Secondly, the editors point out the “mission stations were often the first port of call for new researchers, and the hospitality, introductions, and initial explanations of local culture offered by missionaries often proved indispensable to the success of an [academic] project…Missionaries possessed good linguistic skills and benefited from extensive periods (often decades) in the field.” (20-21), unlike academic researchers, who often spent much shorter periods in the field.
Ucantia
This text, edited by Harries and Maxwell, provides a much needed refreshing, critical but honest reaction to missionary work in Africa especially in and before the early 1900s. While much mention is also made of African actors in the development of the church, this book being unapologetically about missionary activity, gives penetrating insights into the thoughts, strategies, and inspired commitment of Christian workers of that era.

Various authors consider the relationship between Christian mission and the early 19th Century development of anthropology, particularly in Britain. The links between anthropology and Christian mission were clearly close, if not integral, 100 years ago and up to at least the 1940s. The rise of ‘professionalism’ in anthropology came in hand with efforts to sideline missionary researchers as “compromised observers” (P188) considered to be unacceptably biased. Professional antipathy to Christianity by anthropologists, that rested first on a foundation of functionalism, then later materialism, seems to be challenged by our authors writing in post-modern times. The relationship between anthropology and Christianity was complicated by the almost universal dependence in the field of anthropologists on missionaries. The missionaries, with sometimes decades of field experience, could be threatening to anthropologists assumed expertise. Characteristic of the complexity of missionary and anthropology relationships, Gaitskell, one of the authors in this book, tells us of an anthropologist who seemed to hate missionaries, yet encouraged a missionary colleague to publish, and conceded that the lives of African people centred very much around the church (P202).

Their understanding of anthropology, particularly of functionalism, encouraged some missionaries to endeavour to ‘stage’ the evolution of indigenous Christianity. Thus some missionaries sought to actively encourage African believers to take their own languages and cultures very seriously. A few insightful thinkers, working especially with the Mongo and the Luba in Congo, have provided valuable pointers that have guided many subsequent generations of missionaries on the African field towards understanding rather than confrontational approaches to African traditions. Interestingly, research into missionary thinking prior to the 20th Century reveal certain kinds of ‘superstitions’ held by missionaries that seemed to leave them at the time closer to some African indigenous understandings (see especially Harries’ contribution, Pp30-71).

Missionaries made contributions to other fields of science, such as botany and entomology. Being ‘salaried’ workers committed to long-term service despite often intense cultural and physical difficulty, meant that missionaries were uniquely placed to do groundbreaking research in a variety of scientific disciplines. Vinck shows us how bygone missionaries could have quite different understandings of the natural than we have today (e.g. P229). Kalusa points out that the success of medical mission, although supposedly rooted in science, was more an outcome of the witness of missionaries’ spiritual lives than of rational bio-medicine.

A number of missionaries propagated the view that African people once had a monotheistic belief that later became corrupted by animism. The role of the missionary was to return African people to their original primary state, rather than to introduce what was entirely new. Fetishism, and later witchcraft, were discouraged by missionary teaching and preaching. Many of the chapters in this book portray missionaries as very genuinely concerned to present African people with the true and pure gospel. They wanted to make sure the Gospel of Jesus not be contaminated by Western culture, by excessive use of outside languages, and other untoward influences. Dan Crawford is mentioned by a number of authors as a missionary thinker who came to have a profound influence on many subsequent missionaries. Christianity was not there so much to reject witchcraft, a number of authors suggest, as to be a solution to it. The study by Stuart looks at missionaries’ efforts at researching just why indigenous movements, and in some cases African believers in general, could be much more successful in motivating people to commit themselves to churches than could western missionaries (pp293-312, see also P171).

The chapters vary greatly in their style. Some could have been a little better written. Sometimes, as someone who has himself served as a missionary in Africa for over 25 years, I feel that some of the authors have missed part of the point. An example might be Kalusa’s apparently not having realised that missionaries emphasis on having daily prayers was a part of their innate faith rather than what they did as a result of African influence on them. All in all, one must say that the book is well written. I hope that it will help dispel some of the more negative views on the activities of a set of devoted servants of God. Despite their foibles and weaknesses, I believe that missionaries to Africa, through having been ready to be used by God to plant his church in Africa, rank amongst some of the most influential people (humanly speaking) of recent centuries in determining the course of the future of mankind.

I highly recommend this book to those studying the history of missions, of the church, and of African society. It is a good read for prospective missionaries, serving missionaries, those interested in the history of Africa, and students taking degrees in the above fields.

PS Although my name is also Harries, I am unrelated to Patrick Harries, co-editor of the above text, who I have never met.
The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa (Studies in the History of Christian Missions) download epub
Ministry & Evangelism
Author: Patrick Harries,David Maxwell
ISBN: 0802866344
Category: Christian Books & Bibles
Subcategory: Ministry & Evangelism
Language: English
Publisher: Eerdmans; First Edition edition (July 20, 2012)
Pages: 355 pages