Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Academic meetings on the early modern history of Christianity in India

The Warburg Institute is organising on 25- 26 April two academic meetings on the early modern history of Christianity in India.
On 26 April will take place a one-day colloquium on Apostles and Heresiarchs: Representations of Early Christianity in 16th - 17th Century India.
A major consequence of Vasco da Gama's expedition to India was the establishment of a new contact between the Roman Catholic Church and the Saint Thomas Christians in the Malabar region, an ancient and thriving community subject to the Eastern Syriac Patriarchate of the Church of the East, established in Mesopotamia. The arrival of the Portuguese meant also the beginning of Catholic missions in various regions of India. Our colloquium aims to explore how the St Thomas Christians and the new Latin Christian communities of India were represented by European observers during the 16th and 17th century, by the means of analogies and evocations of the Christian origins. On the one hand it was widely believed that the conversion of Indian groups configured a new apostolic age; on the other hand, the early Christian heresy of Nestorianism was projected on the St Thomas Christians in order to establish a distance, impose otherness and enable reduction strategies. Both the apostles and the heresiarchs, the "heroes" and the "villains" of early Christianity, were active models in the European perception of early modern Indian Christianity. If early Christianity is an integral part of the classical tradition, then the history of its transmission to the modern world needs to include even India, as far and marginal it may appear to a Eurocentric perspective.
The colloquium will be preceded on 25 April by a public lecture delivered by Prof. István Perczel, entitled Have the flames of Diamper destroyed the cultural and historical patrimony of the Saint Thomas Christians?
Prof. Perczel will illustrate the outcome of an extensive field work that has led to the recovery of hundreds of Syriac manuscripts in several institutional and private repositories in Kerala. On the basis of these newly found documents it is finally possible to write a far less eurocentric history of Christianity in India. For an extensive summary of the contents that will be examined during the lecture see
Here attached can be found posters of both the colloquium and the lecture
The full registration fee for the colloquium is £ 25, reduced to £ 12.50 for students and beneficiaries of other concessions.
To register it is necessary to write to, kindly copying also to
The programme can be found at
Admission to Prof. István Perczel's lecture is free.

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