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Migration and the Making of Global Christianity
Jehu J. Hanciles
Foreword by Philip Jenkins

HARDCOVER; Published: 3/16/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7562-4
Price: $ 45.00
479 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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DESCRIPTION

A magisterial sweep through 1500 years of Christian history with a groundbreaking focus on the missionary role of migrants in Christianity’s spread 

Human migration has long been identified as a driving force of historical change. Building on this understanding, Jehu Hanciles surveys the history of Christianity’s global expansion from its origins through 1500 CE to show how migration—more than official missionary activity or imperial designs—played a vital role in making Christianity the world’s largest religion. 

Church history has tended to place a premium on political power and institutional forms, thus portraying Christianity as a religion disseminated through official representatives of church and state. But, as Hanciles illustrates, this “top-down perspective overlooks the multifarious array of social movements, cultural processes, ordinary experiences, and non-elite activities and decisions that contribute immensely to religious encounter and exchange.” 

Hanciles’s sociohistorical approach to understanding the growth of Christianity as a world religion disrupts the narrative of Western preeminence, while honoring and making sense of the diversity of religious expression that has characterized the world Christian movement for two millennia. In turning the focus away from powerful empires and heroic missionaries, Migration and the Making of Global Christianity tells the story of how every Christian migrant is a vessel for the spread of the Christian faith in our interconnected world.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Philip Jenkins
Introduction
Part One: Conceptual Overview
          1. Migration in Human History: A Conceptual Overview
          2. Migration and the Globalization of Religion: Understanding Conversion
          3. Theologizing Migration: From Eden to Exile
Part Two: Historical Assessment
          4. Christianization of the Roman Empire: The Immigrant Factor
          5. Frontier Flows: The Faith of Captives and the Fruit of Captivity
          6. Minority Report: From the Church in Persia to the Persian Church
          7. Christ and Odin: Migration and Mission in an Age of Violence
          8. To the Ends of the East: The Faith of Merchants
          9. Gaining the World: The Interlocking Strands of Migration, Imperial Expansion, and Christian Mission
          10. Beyond Empire

REVIEWS
“In Beyond Christendom and other writings, Hanciles did so much to define an emerging field. Now, it is wonderful to see him applying his insights about migration and mission to an earlier era—nothing less than the first three-quarters of Christian history, the years before 1500. This is a remarkably ambitious goal, which he accomplishes with great success. Throughout, we must be impressed by his range of scholarship, and his acuity, as he roams through so many diverse eras and locales. He never lets us forget the links and parallels that bind those early centuries to our own day. This is an adventurous transnational history, which demands to be read and cited.”
— Philip Jenkins
from the foreword
“In Beyond Christendom and other writings, Hanciles did so much to define an emerging field. Now, it is wonderful to see him applying his insights about migration and mission to an earlier era—nothing less than the first three-quarters of Christian history, the years before 1500. This is a remarkably ambitious goal, which he accomplishes with great success. Throughout, we must be impressed by his range of scholarship, and his acuity, as he roams through so many diverse eras and locales. He never lets us forget the links and parallels that bind those early centuries to our own day. This is an adventurous transnational history, which demands to be read and cited.”
— Philip Jenkins
from the foreword
“By putting migration and mission into dialogue with each other, Jehu Hanciles adds rich texture to the meaning of Christianity as a people’s movement. His magisterial sweep through Christianity’s first millennium shows how migration shaped the meaning of conversion, empire, and resistance to power. This fascinating book belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in how Christianity came to be a worldwide religion.”
— Dana L. Robert
Boston University School of Theology
Migration and the Making of Global Christianity not only examines the role of immigration in Christian history; it also explores the complexities of conversion and lived faith. Telling the story of Christianity from the ground up, rather than from the top down, Hanciles provides a new portrait of how Christianity spread around the world during its first millennium. This is must reading for anyone trying to understand the social dynamics of the Christian past and its contemporary global character.”
— Douglas Jacobsen
author of The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There
“This is a fine book with breath-taking scope that refreshes church history and sheds new light on the global spread of Christianity before the modern era. It is grounded in theory from migration studies, religious studies of conversion, social history, and biblical studies. This tour de force will cement Dr. Hanciles’s standing as one of the leading scholars of world Christianity.”
— Kirsteen Kim
Fuller Theological Seminary
Migration and the Making of Global Christianity is an impressive work of historical scholarship. No book has shown more convincingly how Christianity in its first fifteen hundred years spread throughout the globe thanks to migrations. Professor Hanciles provides both the conceptual framework to understand the making of Christianity as a global religion and a detailed account of how this globalization of Christianity was realized. I most strongly recommend the book for a course on the history of Christianity.”
— Peter C. Phan
Georgetown University
“After his magisterial study Beyond Christendom (which deals with the impact of global migration movements on the transformation of Western Christianity), Dr. Jehu Hanciles now highlights the role of migration in the spread of Christianity from its beginnings to the early modern period. This book is a highly important contribution to a more polycentric approach to the history of world Christianity.”
— Klaus Koschorke
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Migration and the Making of Global Christianity is an outstanding book. Jehu J. Hanciles has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of how Christian faith and practices moved cross-culturally and trans-regionally through their first 1500 years. The book disrupts the dominant historical narrative that reduces Christian missions to expressions of imperial power and the work of hierarchs of the churches. Recasting mission history as the history of migration has implications not only for how we understand the Christian past but also for how we understand the world of Christianity today.”
— Dale T. Irvin
New School of Biblical Theology
“Contrary to what is widely assumed, the role of migration in the global diffusion of Christianity is not a peculiarity of the last half-century. Jehu Hanciles’s ambitious study of Christian history to 1500 shows that it has been at the heart of the Christian story from the beginning. He makes a convincing case that historians of Christian expansion who are preoccupied with structures, institutions, and imperial power are looking in the wrong place. Rather, they should turn their attention to the traders, exiles, and pilgrims who took the faith with them on their travels.”
— Brian Stanley
University of Edinburgh
“In Migration and the Making of Global Christianity Jehu Hanciles takes the reader across vast regions, through centuries of time, and from one world empire to another to show how Christianity became a global faith by 1500 CE. Migration, he insists, is ‘a defining feature of human existence’ and a major force for change. Migrant Christians, not organized missions, played the primary role in the spread of Christianity. In its essence, then, Christianity is not a top-down, imperially shaped religion, but the dynamic faith of people on the move. This is a hugely important book. It will force us to rethink the history and character of Christianity in our own time no less than in the past.”
— Joel A. Carpenter
Calvin University
“In this ambitious volume, Hanciles turns more linear Western approaches to the history of the global spread of the Christian faith on their head. No longer rooted within the framework of empires and state sponsorship, this explanatory model argues that the multidirectional migrations and complex patterns of conversion of ordinary people were key to establishing Christian communities worldwide. Wide in scope and well researched, this work calls for reconsidering customary paradigms.”
— M. Daniel Carroll R.
Wheaton College
“In this up-to-date, broad, and incisive account, Hanciles reimagines the history of Christianity within frameworks, standpoints, and perspectives that address the Western-centrism critiqued for so long by leading Christian historians. This text stands within human ‘flows’ over the longue durée rather than astride the various ‘frontiers’ constructed by the outward push of European society that dominate the standard narratives. It is a salutary contribution to the global Christian imagination, and one much appreciated by those of us who write Christian history from places outside the power centers of the world. One might even imagine that this is a little closer to how the God who brought up ‘the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir’ sees his creation. There is no better guide to that shift in perspective than Professor Hanciles.”
— Mark Hutchinson
Alphacrusis College

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