HD602 Christianity in Asia in the Early Modern World

This course critically examines the development of Christianity in Asia between sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The Treaty of Tordesillas (1493) set the stage for early modern Iberian conquest and Christianization of the globe. In the spirit of Catholic Reform, the Society of Jesus, founded by Ignatius of Loyola (1540), became the largest missionary order. Although some small Eastern Orthodox communities existed in enclaves, the Jesuits brought Christianity for the first time in most of Asia. The resulting stories are complex. Francis Xavier already reached Portuguese Goa in 1542. During the subsequent years, the interactions between the Jesuit missionaries and new converts in religiously diverse traditions and cultures in India, Japan, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and other parts of Asia birthed new churches and produced new expressions of Christianity. These “native” Christianities caused controversies in Europe. The local environment was often hostile and challenging. Soon the Protestants began to reach Asia.

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