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Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa

Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa

Robert Aleksander Maryks
Festo Mkenda
Volume: 13
Copyright Date: 2018
Published by: Brill
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  • Book Info
    Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa
    Book Description:

    The essays in Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa offer a critical reflection on the often more competitive than cordial relationships between Jesuit and Protestant missionaries in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Africa. This volume is the result of the second Boston College International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2016. Thanks to generous support of the "a NULL"Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, this volume is available in Open Access.

    eISBN: 978-90-04-34715-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. PART 1 Introduction

    • Protestantism and Early Jesuits
      (pp. 3-10)
      Robert Aleksander Maryks

      The five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (1517) provides an opportunity to reflect in a new way on the relationship between the Protestants and the Society of Jesus, which was founded twenty-three years later (1540). Before we discuss the Jesuit–Protestant encounter in Africa, which resulted from the colonial expansion of the Catholic and Protestant European empires through the second half of the second millennium, let us begin by providing the broader historical context of the relationship of Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556) and the Society of Jesus, the order he co-founded, to Protestantism.

      It is a commonplace in current...

    • Jesuits, Protestants, and Africa before the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 11-30)
      Festo Mkenda

      Sixteenth-century Africa was anything but a “dark continent” for the Jesuits. Their early missionary imagination clearly included Africa, and parts of the continent received Jesuits from as early as 1548. By 1561, Gonçalo da Silveira (1526–61) had penetrated the interior of southern Africa and had succeeded in baptizing one Monomotapa, king of the Shona people of today’s Zimbabwe. Around the same period, a small band of Jesuits had entered the fabled land of Prester John, constituting the then unmapped Abyssinia, also known as Ethiopia Superior, and had succeeded in establishing a mission to Catholicize a country that was staunchly...

  2. PART 2 Memories of Earlier Missions

    • CHAPTER 1 Following in Jesuit Footsteps: British Expeditions to Ethiopia in the Early Victorian Era
      (pp. 33-58)
      Jesse Sargent

      This volume explores the issue of encounters. When thinking about an encounter, the first image that comes to mind is a face-to-face meeting between two individuals: a chance meeting, a sudden turn around a bend that lets one know there is an “other” staring back at you. At times, an encounter plays out over years, many microcosms of confronting this or that other, rubbing up against what is with you but not you. From this rubbing, a bit of friction, a few sparks are born, which may either light the way in a descending darkness, or ignite an inferno that...

    • CHAPTER 2 A Protestant Verdict on the Jesuit Missionary Approach in Africa: David Livingstone and Memories of the Early Jesuit Presence in South Central Africa
      (pp. 59-80)
      Festo Mkenda

      David Livingstone (1813–73) is a larger-than-life figure in the history of Christian missions in Africa. However, reaching Africa for the first time in 1841, he is far from being the continent’s first missionary. His first contact with Africa was mediated by Robert Moffat (1795–1883), a Scottish Congregationalist missionary, who had already settled at Kuruman in today’s South Africa in 1817, and who would later become Livingstone’s father-in-law. More importantly, Livingstone himself noticed the marks left behind by Jesuit missionaries who had evangelized in the lands he was visiting before departing from the region close to a century before...

  3. PART 3 Encounters in Southern Africa

    • CHAPTER 3 Jesuits and Protestants in South Africa, 1685–2015
      (pp. 83-109)
      Anthony Egan

      The problem with writing history is that sometimes sources are absent; the history may be “hidden” and unrecorded; or it may not have happened. This is the problem I confront in writing this history of the Jesuit encounter with Protestants in South Africa. There are few sources available that fit the topic, or at least the sources are fragmentary: a text here, a letter in an unrelated archive, snippets of obituaries written without a project such as this in mind. This suggests that Jesuit ecumenism went unrecorded—a “hidden” history not so much the result of intention as oversight. It...

    • CHAPTER 4 Encounters between Jesuit and Protestant Missionaries in their Approaches to Evangelization in Zambia
      (pp. 110-131)
      Choobe Maambo

      Africa’s reception of Christianity and the pace at which the faith permeated the continent were incredibly slow. Although the north, especially Ethiopia and Egypt, is believed to have come under Christian influence as early as the first century, it was not until the fourth century that Christianity became more widespread in north Africa under the influence of the patristic fathers. From the time of the African church fathers up until the fifteenth century, there was no trace of the Christian church south of the Sahara. According to William Lane, S.J.:

      It was not until the end of the fifteenth and...

    • CHAPTER 5 Soror nostra es: Jesuits, Protestants, and Political Elites in Southern Africa among the Shona and the Ndebele, 1889–1900
      (pp. 132-149)
      Aquinata Agonga

      Historical archives overflow with nineteenth-century accounts of the heroic incursions of missionaries into the African hinterlands, equipped with minimal resources and even less knowledge about their destinations. Tales of young missionaries newly arrived in southern Africa, braving rain, rivers, treacherous paths, diseases, and unknown terrain along the Zambezi to lands lying in the deepest interior of the African continent can be found on shelves in libraries around the world. Along their paths, the missionaries built prayer hamlets that would constitute the foundations of one of the most enduring legacies of this missionary age.

      Unfortunately for Africa, its missionary fate was...

    • CHAPTER 6 Jesuit Portraits of Protestant Missionary Activity in Southern Africa in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
      (pp. 150-168)
      Wilfred Sumani

      The interaction between Jesuits and Protestant missionaries in Africa, particularly in the Zambezi Mission, was more complex than is often assumed. While relations between the two missionary bodies are usually described as “bitter” or “rivalrous,” and their approaches to missionary work as diametrically opposed, a more careful analysis suggests that this is an oversimplification. This chapter draws upon the writings of Jesuits who worked in southern Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with the aim of painting a more balanced picture of the Jesuit perception of Protestant missionary work in the region. As we will see, not...

  4. PART 4 Encounters in Madagascar, Congo, and Fernando Poo

    • CHAPTER 7 Jesuits and Protestants in Nineteenth-century Madagascar
      (pp. 171-193)
      Jocelyn Rabeson

      This chapter examines the encounter between Jesuits and Protestant missionaries in Madagascar in the nineteenth century. This encounter unfolded over four distinct periods: (1) the establishment of Christianity between 1818 and 1836; (2) the persecution of Christians between 1836 and 1861; (3) the return of religious liberty between 1861 and 1896; and (4) Christianity during the early colonial period between 1896 and 1900. Each of these different periods in turn resulted from the decision of the Merina kingdom’s monarchs¹ to embrace or reject Christianity, which affected and shaped the relationship between Jesuit and Protestant missionaries and their respective activities. The...

    • CHAPTER 8 Jesuit–Protestant Encounters in Colonial Congo in the Late Nineteenth Century: Perceptions, Prejudices, and the Competition for African Souls
      (pp. 194-214)
      Toussaint Kafarhire Murhula

      This chapter analyzes the conditions under which Jesuit and Protestant missionaries encountered each other in the Congo in the late nineteenth century. It aims to explain the conflictual relationships that ensued and to address the questions of competition that stemmed from their mutual prejudices and biased perceptions.

      In the late nineteenth century, King Leopold II (1835–1909, r.1865–1909) repeatedly asked the Jesuits to take part in his colonizing project in the Congo. However, they were reluctant to do so not only because of the negative opinion they held of the king’s colonial ambitions but also because other Catholic missionary...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Adulteresses Were Reformers: The Perception and Position of Women in the Religious Fight of Fernando Poo, 1843–1900
      (pp. 215-232)
      Jean Luc Enyegue

      The end of the Francisco Franco (1892–1975) regime in 1975 was marked by public protests against court decisions on adultery all over Spain. On October 10, 1976, the newspaper El país reported on a case in Zaragoza.¹ Activists Anita Bennett and Jill Nichols reported another case in 1977, which led to one of the largest women’s demonstrations in Spain’s history. Women took over the streets in cities such as Madrid, Zaragoza, Mallorca, and Barcelona to ask for equal rights and emancipation. Their placards read: “We are all adulteresses.”² Almost a century earlier, Fernando Poo was still a Spanish possession....