By Heather J. Sharkey

In 1854, American Presbyterian missionaries arrived in Egypt as a part of a bigger Anglo-American Protestant flow aiming for world wide evangelization. safe by means of British imperial strength, and later through mounting American worldwide effect, their firm flourished in the course of the subsequent century. American Evangelicals in Egypt follows the continued and infrequently unforeseen variations initiated through missionary actions among the mid-nineteenth century and 1967--when the Six-Day Arab-Israeli warfare uprooted the americans in Egypt.

Heather Sharkey makes use of Arabic and English resources to make clear the various elements of missionary encounters with Egyptians. those happened via associations, equivalent to colleges and hospitals, and during literacy courses and rural improvement initiatives that expected later efforts of NGOs. To Egyptian Muslims and Coptic Christians, missionaries awarded new versions for civic participation and for women's roles in collective worship and neighborhood existence. whilst, missionary efforts to transform Muslims and reform Copts encouraged new types of Egyptian social activism and brought on nationalists to enact legislation limiting missionary actions. confronted by way of Islamic strictures and customs relating to apostasy and conversion, and through expectancies in regards to the right constitution of Christian-Muslim family members, missionaries in Egypt trigger debates approximately spiritual liberty that reverberate even this day. eventually, the missionary event in Egypt resulted in reconsiderations of undertaking coverage and evangelism in ways in which had long term repercussions for the tradition of yankee Protestantism.

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Extra resources for American Evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary Encounters in an Age of Empire

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In this milieu, scholars recognized missionaries as important agents of social change 14 · Chapter 1 during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Kindling this interest was the emergence of postcolonial studies as a scholarly field,67 coupled with a growing awareness of, and access to, colonial-era missionary archives. Today, many of the postcolonial historians who are based in major research universities regard missionaries as agents or tools of imperialism. But there are also scholars who study mission history while sympathizing with or supporting the propagation of Christianity.

Chapter 2 considers the history of the American mission in Egypt from its founding in 1854 until the British Occupation of 1882. It discusses the nature and roots of the mission’s evangelical impulse, and the impact that the mission had on the Christian culture of the Copts. Chapter 3 focuses on the years from 1882 to 1918, when American missionaries pursued more aggressive efforts to evangelize among Muslims, and when women assumed numerical preponderance within the mission, thereby enabling the American Presbyterians to expand their activities among Egyptian females.

With its smug, imperious tone, Lansing’s account built the case for American missionary intervention in Egyptian and Coptic affairs. Lansing’s case against Coptic Orthodox practice was typical of American missionary accounts of the period. Coptic Orthodox worship, he claimed, consisted of monotonous rituals in which priests chanted masses and prayers in a “dead” language (liturgical Coptic) that no ordinary Copt understood. 21 These points aside, four aspects of Lansing’s “narrative of missionary labor in the valley of the Nile” give his account lasting interest.

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