Missions and Missionaries

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Missions and missionaries have been major players in the history of world empires and especially in relation to Europe and the history of Christianity. This article provides an account of missions from the early Christians to the post-colonial era. It considers the role played by missions and missionaries in some other world religions including Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Missionaries ensured that Christianity spread across Europe in the middle ages and then to the New World. Consideration is given to the symbiotic relationship between missionaries and empire. Older themes have concerned the extent to which missionaries were implicated in the advance of colonialism acting as surrogates for empire and promoting commerce along with Christianity. New themes in mission history include the role of women and indigenous Christians as well as missionaries as educators, linguists, scientists and creators of imperial networks. In the post-colonial period, missions have helped transform European missions into national churches and Christianity into a world religion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Empire
EditorsJohn Mackenzie, Nigel Dalziel, Nick Doumanis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118455074
ISBN (Print)9781118455074
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016


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