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Mission Work

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Chapter Summary

For Evert Willemsz, whose conversion had taken place in a state of blindness, mission work among the "blind heathen" must have had an almost physical urgency. Missionary zeal was a logical, even necessary complement of the conversion message and chiliast expectations so typical of pietistic, Puritan, and orthodox Protestantism. The relations between whites and Indians depended largely on the attitude of the whites. The image of the blacks was determined primarily by their value as labor. Two surviving documents offer evidence of Dominie Bogardus's desire that the blacks receive a Christian education. After 1650 slavery rapidly developed into a large-scale form of forced labor involving the entire colony. It was the Indian issue, however, that brought relations between the director and minister to the breaking point. The closing sentence of Hendrick Doedens's report to Anthonie van Hilten about the shipwreck leaves a historian with a few tantalizing questions.

Keywords: blacks; Christian education; Dominie Bogardus; Evert Willemsz; Indians; mission work; Protestantism; whites



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