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The Writings of William Carey: Journalism as Mission in a Modern Age

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William Carey is reviewed as both product and producer of journalism, with an emphasis on the latter and its synergistic relationship to his mission work and the work of others. Carey's philosophy of life was formed largely by the written works of his predecessors and contemporaries. Specifically, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, Jeremy Taylor, Captain James Cook, and Robert Hall, among others, clearly affected his outlook on theology, missions, Bible translation, ecumenism, and a host of related topics. Writings by Cook opened Carey's eyes to distant people, whom he evaluated in the light of his journalistically influenced theology. Consequently, Carey became concerned about the spiritual and moral state of the world abroad. His concern found expression in the Enquiry – a polemic for missionary work – and ultimately led him to Bengal, where his own attempts to influence people through journalism expanded.

Carey's own writings and those of his colleagues at the Serampore Mission are the most obvious examples of his journalistic works. But they hardly stand alone. Thus, after the authors describe the emergence and significance of the Enquiry and the Serampore Press, they refer to other publications printed either at Serampore or elsewhere in response to the press' influence. Among these are works as diverse as textbooks, governmental publications, and periodical apologetics for Hinduism. The Serampore mission's expansion of Indian literacy also is reviewed because of its relevance to understanding the influence of others' writings on his life's philosophy and work. It further helps to shed light on Carey's distinct approach to evangelization, presented herein as a form of inculturation. Lastly, many would not have become readers of the mission's works had it not equipped them to read through its network of native schools. The authors suggest that Serampore's journalistic mission extended beyond the mere production of writings; it also included the production of a readership.


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