"Truth of any kind is food for the soul."

The Rev. Jesse Caswell, 1841

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"New" Content at herbswanson.com

In the last few days, I have added two additional items to herbswanson.com both of which date from 2004, the last year that I was a full-time researcher in Thai church history.  The first item is an edited and slightly revised version of an essay entitled, "Laying the Foundations: Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes towards Thai Buddhism. It describes the ideological/theological sources of Presbyterian missionary attitudes towards Buddhism as well as changes that took place in their attitudes over time.  Most notable, I think, is the impact the missionaries' negative attitudes about Catholicism had on their attitudes concerning Buddhism.  I had just finished this essay not long before returning to the U.S. for a research project that has never been completed.

The second item is an article I submitted to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research entitled, Said’s Orientalism and the Study of Christian Missions, which was published in July 2004 issue of that journal.  While it is not about Thai church history directly, this article reflects my ongoing interest in the work of Edward Said in particular and the concept of "orientalism" more generally.

Both items are PDFs.  Both, in a sense, are also extensions of my master's thesis and doctoral dissertation and reflect my foundational thesis that Presbyterian missionary behavior in Siam from 1840 to roughly 1920 makes a great deal of sense if we understand their intellectual heritage and the attitudes that were a consequence of that heritage—and much less sense otherwise.  More largely, they also grow out of my contention that one cannot understand the Christian experience in Siam/Thailand down to the present apart from an understanding of the two great streams out of which it flows, Asian-Buddishm and Western-Christian-ism.

The missionary attitudes essay is also linked to the bibliography of English-language resources on herbswanson.com, and the Said article is linked to the Orientalism bibliography on the website, which bibliography also dates back to 2004.  There also links to both on the home page.