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Communicating Freedom Or Colonial Evangelism?

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Chapter Summary

The debate on mission and colonialism has long been that of trench warfare between social anthropologists and church historians, both in the West and in Africa. T. O. Beidelman has described the work of missionaries as "colonial evangelism", whereas Andrew Walls prefers to talk about "the cross-cultural process in Christian history". The last decade has brought renewed interest into the study of Norwegian missionaries with several studies describing the encounter between missionaries and the indigenous population. In order to be able to analyse the production of meaning in the intercultural Dii-mission encounter, the author has to approach the available sources where meaning is expressed, the written missionary texts, and the living memory of pioneer Dii Christians. When Norwegian missionaries condemned Dii religious practices, their discourse was without influence until the Dii decided to accept the terms of the conversation, and consequently the context of the discourse.

Keywords: Christian history; colonial evangelism; Dii-mission encounter; Norwegian missionaries



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