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Christians of India

Rowena Robinson (Author)
Synopsis Even though Christians constitute more than 20 million of India's population, there have as yet been few studies which provide a holistic account of the many Christianities which exist in India. This is due in no small measure to the general neglect of all non-Hindu religions in Indian scholarship which simultaneously arises out of and further feeds the erroneous notion that India is a Hindu nation and that all non-Hindu religions are alien (or not indigenous). This important book studies various Christian communities in India in a comparative anthropological perspective. Rowena Robinson traverses the many worlds of Christian traditions across the country, analytically comparing upper caste and lower caste, tribal and peasant communities in the diversity of their experiences and engagements with Christianity. The author questions received understandings in the sociology of religion in India by critically examining notions such as accommodation, assimilation, syncretism, and forced conversions. A significant theme of the book is the interaction between religions, showing how Hinduism, Islam, tribal beliefs and other religions have engaged with Christianity, lending to but also, significantly, borrowing from it. Rowena Robinson combats an a historical perspective, arguing for the importance of factoring in time and change in the understanding of how religions have interacted in India. She also untangles the complex web of conversion by examining the role of motives, means and the struggle for power during different phases of conversion. Finally, the book addresses a whole host of concerns internal to India's Christian communities. This includes hierarchy, systems of differentiation, the possible break-up of mainstream churches and the challenges posed by both Dalits and women. With its multiple engagements, broad canvas, and comparative perspective, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology and the sociology of religion. It will also be of interest to sociologists, historians, political scientists, theologians and students of non-western Christianities, and the general reader interested in the role of religion in contemporary India.
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About the author

Rowena Robinson

Rowena Robinson is Associate Professor in Sociology, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay. She has earlier taught at the University of Delhi. She is author of Conversion, Continuity and Change: Lived Christianity in Southern Goa and Christians of Indian, and editor of Religious Conversion in India: Modex, Motivations and Meanings and Sociology of Religion in India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Christians of India
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.07.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0761998233
length 234p.