The Land of Transjordan as a Mission Field. The Development of Catholic and Protestant Missionary Establishments in Karak during the mid-19th century

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Abstract

he aim of this paper is to analyze the development of Catholic and Protestant missionary establishments within Transjordan during the mid-19th century, with particular reference to the district of Karak. The purpose is to reconsider the role of Western missionaries and through their accounts evaluate local Christian Arab culture during its meeting with these foreign actors. The paper specifically examines the experiences of the first Western missionaries that entered Karak during the mid-19th century: Catholic Father Maccagno and the Protestants affiliated with the Wesleyan Methodists, the Lethabys and Forders. Firstly, the paper describes the development of missionary establishments within Transjordan, explaining their functioning and role. Secondly, the paper analyses the peculiarities of the Catholic and Protestant establishments within the town of Karak, pointing out their different strategies of evangelisation and cultural values. Finally, the consequences of the meeting between them and the local tribes are analysed from the perspective of the mission as a “learning process” in which people acquire knowledge of each other. The resulting partial image of this land and of its people is the product of the intertwining between personal, spiritual and cultural dimensions, which gives a clear description of a socio-political system and the role of the Christian Arabs in that particular environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-78
Number of pages24
JournalARAM PERIODICAL
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • 19th century Ottoman Empire
  • Arab christianity
  • Transjordan
  • missionary
  • religious community
  • tribes

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