In This Article Hinduism and Christianity

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Indian Christian Histories, General
  • Indian Christian Histories, Regional
  • Indian Mission Histories, General
  • Interaction of Christianity and Indian Cultures/Religions, Historical
  • Interaction of Christianity and Indian Cultures/Religions, Ethnographic
  • The Colonial Period, Interactionist Models
  • The Colonial Period, Synthetic Models
  • The Colonial Period, Reform Movements and Reformers
  • Theological Interactions, Early (to 1857)
  • Theological Interactions, Colonial (1858–1946)
  • Theological Interactions, Postcolonial (1947–Present)
  • Contemporary Theological Comparison, Thematic
  • Contemporary Theological Comparison, Textual
  • Contemporary Theological Comparison, by Tradition
  • Indian Christian Theologies, General Introductions
  • Indian Christian Theologies, Prominent Early Figures
  • Indian Christian Theologies, Madras Rethinking Group
  • Indian Christian Theologies, Dialogue
  • Indian Christian Theologies, Liberation Theologies
  • Hindu-Christian Polemics
  • Conversion and Hindu-Christian Conflict
  • Interaction of Hinduism and Anglo-American Cultures/Religions

Hinduism Hinduism and Christianity
by
Chad Bauman, Arun Jones, Brian Pennington, Joseph Prabhakar Dayam, Michelle Voss Roberts
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0042

Introduction

Christian communities have existed in India since at least the 4th century CE, the likely result of relatively well-established trade connections between India and the Near East in the early centuries of the Common Era. While Christians maintained a lively and well-documented existence in the centuries after that, particularly in southern India, the size of the Christian population, as well as its geographical spread, began to increase dramatically after the arrival of European traders and missionaries in the late 15th century. European contact with India through trade and then, later, colonization led to greater European interest in Indian cultures and religions. While for some that interest was scholarly and dispassionate, for others it grew out of the evangelical impulse, that is, the desire to promote Christianity and “convert the heathen.” That said, some of the most useful ethnographic data and analyses on Indian culture and religion in this era of Indo-European interaction comes from missionary figures, many of whom took at least a quasi-scholarly interest in the people with whom they interacted, most of whom documented religio-cultural beliefs, practices, and events that passed away, or were significantly altered, in the centuries that followed. The relationship between Christian missionaries and the study of India/Indian Christianity is therefore important to keep in mind because of the way it has complicated (and to some degree still does) academic work on the topic. In the bibliography that follows, readers will discover resources about Indian Christianity and its relationship to Indian culture and religion written both from an assumed scholarly distance and from a more committed stance (e.g., by foreign missionaries and/or Indian Christians writing self-consciously as Christians, or by Hindus writing appreciatively of or critically against Christianity). Nevertheless, while the resources listed here emerge from a range of disciplines—history, ethnography, sociology, cultural studies, missiology, and theology—one theme that pervades them all is how India’s Christians have interacted (or should interact) with Hinduism and India’s other religious and cultural traditions.

Journals

While many journals occasionally include articles of relevance to this topic, three do so consistently, and with consistently high quality. Two of them, Religion and Society and Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection, are edited in India and publish work primarily (though not exclusively) from Indian scholars. Both of these journals also emphasize articles from an explicitly Christian point of view. The Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies is published at Notre Dame University, and is the youngest journal of the three. It features articles by scholars from around the world, working from a variety of academic and religious perspectives.

  • Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies.

    E-mail Citation »

    Supported by the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies, the Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies publishes contributions from many of the most respected scholars in the field, especially from those located in India and North America. Back issues are available online. A helpful index of previously published articles appears in Volume 22 (2009), pp. 69–88.

  • Religion and Society.

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    Established in 1954 by the Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society in Bangalore as the Bulletin of the Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Religion and Society continues to publish multiple issues a year. Though somewhat hard to come by outside of India, the pages of Religion and Society feature articles by prominent Indian and Western scholars working primarily from an openly Christian perspective.

  • Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection.

    E-mail Citation »

    Founded in 1938 as The Clergy Monthly, and assuming the current title in 1975, this high-profile Indian journal features articles on Christian theological, ethical, and social concerns, and on interreligious dialogue. The journal is produced by Vidyajyoti College of Theology, a premier Jesuit seminary in Delhi.

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