Missionary Societies in the Holy Land in an International Context

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Missionary Societies in the Holy Land in an International Context
Professor Ruth Kark

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

E-Mail: ruthkark@huji.ac.il

Web Site: http://sachlav.huji.ac.il/mskark

Final 5 June 2004

In: Jakob Eisler, Herman Ehmer and Norbert Haag (eds.), Württemberg in Palästina: Der Beitrag der deutschen Missions und Siedkungstätigkeit zur kulturren Entwicklung Palästina, (in English, Stuttgart, In Press).

The first part of the paper includes a discussion of Christian world missionary activity; the second relates to the historical background of missionary activity of selected Western nations and denominations in the Holy Land/Palestine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
In the Annual Statistical Table on Global Mission, Barrett monitored the progress of the Christian world mission. Using these statistics one may assess the impact of Christianity in the global context. One measure is the worldwide distribution of Christian scriptures which increased from 20 million in 1900 to 1.8 billion by 1996. In mid 1997 33.9% of the world population was estimated to be Christian, similar to the figure of 33.4% in 1900. Other parameters relate to Christian organizations, including missions Christian workers, Christian finance, Christian broadcasting, and Christian literature. The number of foreign-mission sending agencies increased from 600 in 1900 to 4,600 in 1997. The table also shows areas that are untouched by the Christian religion. Barrett asserts that most of the global mission efforts are actually directed “to the people who have been reached by the gospel already!”. Barrett’s missionary zeal is reflected by his concern that Christianity is “irrelevant to the lives, hopes and fears… 4 billion non-Christians.” He concludes that a failure of the Christian mission “is that most Christian activity does not impact on the non-Christian world at all.” (Barrett, 1997, p. 24-25; Van Gelder, 2002, p. 186).
I A theoretical and general discussion
The spread of early Christianity in connected to the twelve disciples, and Peter in particular. It was Paul who presented the Church as a universal spiritual entity and thus prepared it for missionary activity beyond Judaism. Christianity became the Roman Empire’s official religion during the rule of Constantine (274?-337). From this time on it spread inside and outside the Empire. During the 3-10th centuries Catholicism spread by missionary activity to other parts of Europe, and the Byzantine Empire and its Orthodox Church initiated missionary activities in the Balkan, Russia and Ethiopia. Lull Ramon also named Lully Raymond (1236-1315), a philosopher who became a Franciscan monk and worked among the Muslims in Africa and the East, laid the theological foundation to missionary activity in the following generations. He claimed that the all principles of faith can be demonstrated by logic combined with a complex system of symbols and mystical expressions. The missionaries attempted to prove the truth of Christianity by logic, or by reference to the Bible and Koran. Missionary motives lay behind the major geographical explorations and discoveries by Europeans in the 15-16th centuries. Jesuit orders played an important role in spreading Catholic dogma to the Far East and South America. The basis to the modern Protestant mission emerged during the period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Missionary societies were founded in Denmark, the Nederlands, Britain, and the United States. In 1815 a missionary society was founded in Basel, and later in other German cities. The Germans headed by G. Varneck established the science of “Missiology”. The number of missionary societies increased gradually until World War I and totaled over 200 (600 in 1900 according to Barrett above) with thousands of missionaries spread world wide (Malachy & Wasserman 1973, 353–54).
The "old school" of Western historians, as well as historians of religion, based their studies of missions on Western and missionary sources, and came, not surprisingly, to ethnocentric Western-oriented conclusions. The nineteenth century was according to Kenneth Scott Latourette "the age of the most extensive geographic spread of Christianity". It spread chiefly through its Roman Catholic and Protestant forms; the Protestants led in the spread of Christian religiosity. This manifestation of Western influence was closely associated with growth in wealth and power, and with revitalization within the Christian movement itself (1941, Vol. 4, 1, 108-9, 170-74). In
Barbara Tuchman's opinion nineteenth century processes were by and large religiously motivated, and it is almost impossible to fully appreciate the role of religion in past political, social and economic history (1983, 178-81). It was by popular voluntary organizations that Christianity spread. It was this surge of vitality, which was the primary determinant of the daring conceptualization, planning and funding, which dispatched missionaries to all quarters of the globe.

Most studies relating to missionary activities dealt with missions as both an agent of the penetration of colonial powers on the one hand, and as conveyers of the Christian concepts of cultural and religious supremacy expressed in "redemption of the heathen world". In the imperialistic rhetoric, religion was often used to justify domination over non-Europeans. Christian Western culture was, it was argued, "superior to non-Western, non-Christian ones. The heathen, the apostates (Muslims and Jews) and the non-regenerate, that is non-Protestant Christians, deserved to be reformed and converted like the poor." (Melman, , 167).

A.L. Tibawi takes the position that when the missions embarked on ambitious schemes in the colonies, and in regions such as those in the Ottoman Empire; they participated in the expansion of Europe. The missions led by voluntary societies in Europe and America were according to Tibawi "…sometimes the cultural aspect of the[ir] territorial, commercial and political expansion." (1961, 5). Edward Said concurred with Tibawi that with regard to Islam and the Islamic territories, the British missions "openly joined the expansion of Europe." (Said, 1979, 100).
Since the late 1970s, new or revisionist approaches to the study of Middle Eastern societies have been developed by scholars in various fields dealing with the history of the region. Their range includes work on the family, gender, and social and cultural minorities; production, distribution, and political economy; power relations and the state.
These developments in research have yielded insights into internal dynamics and worldwide trends, rather than the traditional core theme of the impact of the West. Thus Western missionary activity and its role have been considered by recent revisionist historians to be marginal to the larger societies in which missions were operating. Subsequently, studies of the missionary enterprise by historians, anthropologists, political scientists and historical geographers in recent years indicate that these presumptions are not well grounded. Eleanor Doumato (1999) traced a tendency that developed with the rise of post-colonial and women's studies to downgrade and dismiss the mission's role as "the epitome of negative and inaccurate stereotyping of colonized people".
According to Ustorf the modern missionary movement has contributed profoundly not only to changing the religious topography of the globe - approximately one-third of the world's population is Christian - but it has also changed the social topography as well. Missionary activity remains one of the major agents of global transformation in the twentieth century. In a recent paper he looks at some of the driving forces of transformation, namely the images, visions, and concepts of time, space and global social change that were produced within the missionary movement as part of its spiritual topography. Three motivational trends are identified, each of which represents a fundamentally different way of approaching non-western space and time and thus leads to different models of missionary social intervention: “the emancipative-integrationist approach, the racist-imperialistic attitude, and the egalitarian-inversionist trend”. His overall findings are ambivalent: visions of human salvation and global social change, missionary or other, are historically powerful. Necessary as they are for the life of humankind, global visions ought to be handled with care. They need to be tested and discussed, particularly with those who are targeted (Ustrof, 1998, pp. 591-604).
Ruth Kark, in a review of published literature in a recent paper, emphasized that while previous studies were oriented mainly to the point of view of the missions, revisionist historians investigate how the missions were perceived by the local societies. (Kark, 2004).
Tracey Byrne, examining anthropo-geographic representations of the indigenous peoples in New Zealand produced by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in the mid nineteenth century, suggests that: "it is essential to radically rethink and challenge prevailing perceptions concerning the relationship between Christian missions and imperialism." She suggests rethinking the "post-colonial voices which have emanated during the second half of the twentieth century", which condemned and negatively interpreted the modern missionary movement (1998, 38).
Chris Park asserts that Christian missions played a prominent part in shaping the initial development of many parts of Africa during the late nineteenth century, before colonial occupation. Although missionaries have been the key players in religious diffusion throughout history, their role has not been confined to dispensing religion "…because they have often represented the modern world in undeveloped nations." (Park, 1994, 140). In Venezuela, for example missionaries introduced positive contributions that included the consolidation of Indian settlements, better hygiene and healthcare, preservation of traditional ways of life, and provision of assistance in overcoming cultural problems." (Park, 1994, 139-143). However Beidelman, an anthropologist who studied the work of the CMS in what is now Tanzania, East Africa, coined the expression "colonial evangelism". He views the mission as a colonial institution (Beidelman, 1992).
It is worthwhile to investigate both the short and long term effects of the missions in the societies in which they operated. In the Middle East, the long-term impact of missionary activity on educational and medical programs, local charitable organizations, and institutional legacy is apparent. A central issue that should be investigated is the identity formation (Doumato, 1999) in different classes including the secular, educated, Western-oriented intellectual "awakening", and its national aspirations. George Antonius, for example, considered that the educational program of the Syrian mission was single-handedly responsible for a secular, western-oriented intellectual "awakening" in the Levant (Antonius, 2000).
Many of the studies on the missions, including those of the "old school", the "revisionist school" and the "new school", focused their attention on religious trends, concepts and motivations in the mother land, the political background, the encounter with the heathens, or the apostates, and their spheres of operation in the target areas and societies.
I suggest that it is informative to emphasize another dimension to the study of missions - that of the relationship between religion and belief systems and place or space. Within the missionary context this relates to the study of the impact of missionary concepts and activity on environmental and spatial change and the introduction of modern technology. Studies of the physical aspects and their influence on the peoples, the land and the landscape are being undertaken by historical geographers, by integrating historical critical research and field work. This commences with inductive study based on contemporary primary sources and a survey of missionary relicts, and proceeds with an attempt to create a synthesis, and with comparative analysis.
The archives of missionary societies can serve not only for the study of missions but can provide insight into societies and the physical culture in which they operated. An example from my experience is the rich variety of maps, three-dimensional models of cities including Jerusalem, plans of buildings and localities (not necessarily belonging to the missions) and from the mid-nineteenth century onward also photographs collected by the missionaries and deposited in the archives. These suggest a substantial potential for anthropological, historical and historical-geographical research of remote areas for which source material from the nineteenth century is extremely limited. (Kark, 1993, 118).
In Chris Park's discussion of the principles of religious diffusion, he suggests adopting principles and concepts from the study of the diffusion of innovations. "Most of the principles that apply to the diffusion of innovations - like new agricultural and industrial technologies, new architectural styles or consumer preference - should apply equally well to the diffusion of religious beliefs and practices." (Park, 1994, 99). In my view we should not only adopt the method of this study, but its topic i.e. study of missionary influence on technological diffusion. Henkel has examined the impacts of missions in Zambia on education, health care, settlement structures, development projects and economic development as they propagated 'the spirit of capitalism'. (Henkel, 1989, in Park, 140).
Kong (2001, p. 404-413) who reviewed the literature on the religious-technology nexus stressed the need to explore the new politics of space as a consequence of a technological development, emphasizing questions about the role of religion in effecting a form of religious (neo)imperialism, and uneven access to techno-religious spaces. She also highlighted the need to examine the politics of identity and community, since cyberspace is not an isotropic surface. Finally she focused “on the questions about the poetics of place, particularly the technological mediation of rituals.”
Latourette used the term environment as a main theme in his monumental seven-volume work on the Expansion of Christianity, although not in the same sense as I view it. He applied it in posing the questions: "What bearing did the process by which Christianity spread have upon the environment and of the environment upon Christianity?" (1941, Vol. 4, 8). As for the first question he proposed to reserve the descriptions of environments peculiar to particular areas and countries, which affected Christianity, for the appropriate places in the narrative as it proceeds in its geographic course (9-21). As for the second, he views the environment which influenced Christianity as: "Laissez faire capitalism, individualism, the reaction towards collectivism, the growth of cities, the industrialization of economic life, and the expanding imperialism…" (170-73).
II Palestine
Methodological background
Most studies on missions and missionaries in Palestine in the modern era, commencing in the first half of the nineteenth century, focused on a longitudinal historical discussion of a single mission, or several missions dispatched from one country (Gidney, Tibawi, Scmidgal). Another research choice was to concentrate on one social and religious sector or denomination (Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs (Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc.), other Christians (Armenians, Assyrians), Druze, Jews and Samaritans (Ariel, Ben-Arieh, Carmel, Cuinet, Hopwood, Goren, Grayevski, Leiber, Morgenstern, Stavrou, Sapir, Thalman). Thomas Stransky (1997, 1-19, 1996) in a preliminary attempt, undertook a comprehensive discussion, based mostly on secondary published sources (for detailed references of all see Kark, 2004).
My study aims to reconstruct, examine and compare the physical and ideological impact of British, American, German, Russian and French Christian missionaries and Missionary Societies on Palestine and its varied population sectors in the last Century of Ottoman rule (1820-1918).

Another Israeli-German study (Kark, Deneke and Goren, in press) focused on the German and British. Overall, our research includes the tracing of missionary activity, its spatial distribution, and the intensity of missionary work among populations in various parts of the country, as well as an examination of their technological and environmental impact. These include influence on infrastructure, land purchase, agricultural settlement, education, building and architecture. This provides a better understanding of the process of cultural landscape development and innovative interchange (economy, technical development) between Europe, America and Palestine and the ideology behind development in a newly adopted environment.

Further topics, which I am investigating include: cooperation and competition between missionary societies including territorial division by agreement or otherwise, and exploration, mapping and research by missionaries. Additional subjects include the contents of missionary education of children and adults (both formal and informal), the character of their health services, the impact of missionary activity on identity formation among Arab Muslims, Arab Christian, Christians, Druze, Samaritans and Jews, and the reaction and opposition to missionary activity as a cohesive power.

By investigation of primary sources of the target societies, side by side with the missionary sources, the attitudes of the local population towards missions can be reconstructed. The Jewish community in nineteenth century Palestine, as one example, was profoundly affected by the modern Protestant missionary movement, which inspired the establishment of various Jewish public health, welfare and educational and other social institutions (Schmidgal, 1996, 23). A combination of a macro (general) comparative and micro (detailed) perspective may be informative in determining whether common patterns are evident across the Middle East.

Important data sources include archives in Britain (London, Oxford, Birmingham, and Edinburgh), the US (Washington D.C., Boston, Cambridge MA, New York, Wilmore KY), Greece (Athens), Italy (Rome), France (Paris), Spain, Portugal, Argentine, Ireland (Dublin), Germany (Bonn, Potsdam, Basel, Berlin, Munchen, Kaiserswerth), Sweden (Stockholm, Upsala) and Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow). In Israel and Palestine an array of public and private Arab and Jewish archives are available (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Beit Sahur, Bir Zeit, Jifna, Jaffa, Haifa) relating to French, Italian, British, Scottish, Russian, North and South American, and German missions. As of now coworkers and I have examined only part of these. Another important potential source are the Ottoman Empire archives in Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara), and in Jordan (Amman), to date insufficiently explored.
According to Kark (2004) the visible and persistent impacts of the missionary enterprise on the development and infrastructure of the cultural landscape of Palestine it found expression in as we can see from the research project of Denecke, Kark, Goren, Thalmann, on the following spheres:

  • Infrastructure including - transportation (wheelbarrow, carriages), and

communication (telegraph, telephone)

  • Crafts and industry

  • Land purchase and its impact in the urban and rural sectors

the introduction of modern technology

  • Agricultural settlement, education (Model Farms, agricultural schools), and the introduction of new methods, species, tools and machinery

  • Building and architecture, the changing of the urban and rural landscape

  • Health care and hospital services

Historical background

One of the questions to be posed when discussing the initial stages of missionary activity in a region or a country is the order of arrival of the penetrating agents. The Western powers applied every conceivable mode to enter a new area, adopting the old rule of "pentagonal (five-sided) penetration" represented by five representatives: missionary, commercial representative, scientist, military advisor and consul. What was the order of penetration and of missionaries in particular, in different countries, and in Palestine? Tibawi and Said concluded that the Protestant missions in the Middle East followed Western territorial, commercial and political expansion. In the case of Palestine it seems that the situation was reverse, whereby the merchants and the military followed the missionaries, sometimes so as to protect them, or use this as a pretext to demonstrate power and influence. This partly explains the Ottoman Empire's negative attitude to missionary activity, until Western pressure dictated submission by the Empire.

Several contemporary sources mention that the foreign consuls viewed the encouragement or the missionaries as central to their activity. In the private archive of James Finn, we find a collection of documents dealing with protection of foreign nationals in the Ottoman Empire and the protection of missionaries. (1838-1846, YIBZ Archive, Finn Archive, RG C, Diplomatic Correspondence, Part 1, Letters and Reports, 12 November 1842; "A voice from Jerusalem" A typed appeal dated 30 November 1896 relating to the rights of US citizens, including missionaries in Jerusalem, sent to the President of the US, USNA from Dudman; Malachy and Wasserman, 1973, 353-4).
We can not generalize about the role of governmental support of missionary societies in Palestine. Some were backed or used as a governmental instrument, and others not. Popham Blyth, Bishop of the Church of England in Jerusalem and the East wrote to the British Consul in Jerusalem John Dickson on 19th December 1892: "The French, German and Russian nations have all of late years formed Government Societies to look after their interests in Palestine… The English here have no such Government support: it is therefore the more necessary to resist encroachments like the present [the question of rights of ownership, English or, in the ground of the Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem]. Church Movements not being with ourselves connects in Palestine with Political interests." (Popham Blyth, Jerusalem to John Dickson, Jerusalem, Copy forwarded to the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace Library, London, E.W. Benson Papers, Official Letters, 1893, Foreign G.1-N.1, Vole 125). Two extreme examples are the American missionaries, who had no government backing at all, whereas the Russians served their Government. Located somewhere in the middle of this spectrum we find the British, French and German Missionary societies.
Hopwood quotes material from the Arkhiv Sinoda, 1857 (no.373) from which we learn that the church and missions were viewed by the Russians as a tool of political penetration: "We must establish our 'presence' in the East not politically but through the church… Jerusalem is the center of the world and our mission must be there." (1969, p. 51) Stavrou seconds him in saying that although the founders of the Palestine Society, anxious to allay the fears of the Greek hierarchy, stated in the constitution that the Society's purpose was exclusively educational and philanthropic: "The history and fate of the Russian Ecclesiastical Missions established in Jerusalem from 1847 to 1880, developed in the context of political and religious rivalry in the Levant, so characteristic of the time." (1963, 1-5, 206-7)
The second issue, the considerable gap between the extent of the investment of efforts and funds and the final result suggests a paradox, which is explained only by religious reasoning. During the years 1839-1914, only 432 Jews were converted to Christianity in the Jerusalem station of the London Jew's Society and only 25 remained in the city by the end of the period. (Megron brings data from the Baptizing book of Christ Church in Jerusalem (1996, p.89). Tibawi claims that by 1907, 650 of the pupils of the mission schools were baptized (1961, 209).
The question arises therefore is that: if the people of Israel are believed to have a role in the redemption overall schema and will recognize Jesus as the messiah before the Second Coming, why then should the Jews be converted to Christianity? The activity of the Protestant, mainly Anglican mission, concentrated among the Jews among other considerations because of the view that the return of the Jews to Zion while converting them is an important stage in the redemption. (Gelber, 1961). Tuchman asserted that the Evangelical Protestant missions invested money, hope, passion, and faith in order to Christianize a very small number of Jews, not out of a realistic expectation that the people of Israel will become Christian, but that some of them would convert. It was important to show that Jews, even if very few, convert, as this was a proof that they are able to see the light. It was essential that they will be acquainted with the Gospel, even if they did not convert, because finally they would accept the Gospel (the good news, the evangel) and would understand that the events that will take place are Christian events. This is a seeming contradiction that should be faced with. (Tuchman in Kark, 1983).
When analyzing the activities of missionary societies of different national affiliations in the Middle East during the nineteenth century it is evident that two processes took place. The first was a territorial division; either by formal or informal agreement between the societies. The second had to do with the target population, either Jews or Christians of different denominations. The two processes were influenced by considerations of cooperation and competition between the societies and by their failure or success in certain areas and populations. Ottoman political and legal regulations and status (such as the prohibition on proselytizing Muslims, or being a recognized community or not), and the partial political involvement of Western nations and their representation and influence in the Empire also directed the decision making at higher echelons concerning the choice of territories and people. In turn these decisions prescribed the division of functions and institutions at each site and target population, whether urban or rural. Sometimes, as in the case of the agreement on the division of territories between the British societies (Palestine) and the Americana (Lebanon and Syria), maps were drawn, marking these boundaries. A 1873 map prepared by Henry H. Jessup - an American Board missionary - and entitled "Map of the Syrian Mission of the Presbyterian and other evangelical missions, can be found in the CMS archives in Birmingham. It not only details stations and schools of different missions, but also highlights the 'Mission Boundary lines’ (Kark, 1993).
The target populations - Arabs (Muslim, Christian of different denominations), Druze, Armenians, Assyrians, Samaritans, and Jews - were allocated to the different missions. The LJS worked amongst the Jews and the CMS among the Arabs. The centers of the British Mission were Jerusalem and Safed. The centers of the Presbyterian Scottish Mission at Safed and Tiberias.
One instructive example concerning local Christians relates to events in the village of Jifna in the second half of the nineteenth century. Most of the village population was Arab Greek Orthodox and was served by a Greek Orthodox Church and school. When the Roman Catholics build a church and a school in the village part of the villagers switched to Catholicism. We have documents to the effect that both churches subsequently acted to prevent the entrance into Jifna of Dr. Mcgowen and the Protestants, who had the backing of the Ottoman authorities (The Bodlian Library, CMJ; Kark, fieldwork and interviews).
Sometimes the missions competed with the local population for land offered for sale. From a letter of Rosemond Templeton (the second wife of Oliphant, and granddaughter of Robert Owen) to the Jewish Colonization Association in 1899, she offered for sale to the Association 10,000 dunams of her land at Lajoun. She mentioned that two Scottish Missionary societies were interested in purchasing part of the land, but she, being always a faithful friend of Israel, preferred to sell it to Jews. (Naples, 27 May, 1899, Central Zionist Archive, J15/5422).
Missionary enterprise in Palestine by national affiliation
Numerous institutions from different nationality and denominations, especially Anglicans, German Catholics and German Pprotestants, were acting in Palestine during the 19th century. In an atlas published in 1915 by the famous scholar George Adam Smith we find the distribution of Catholic and Protestant Missions in Palestine, summing up missionary activity at the end of the Ottoman period.
There were varieties in the timing of the beginning, the duration, the functions chosen (religion, education, health, welfare, settlement etc.), and the target indigenous population (Jews, Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs) as demonstrated in the following map (Figures 1) and summary:
Figure 1: Distribution of Christian Denominations in the Holy Land, in the 20th Century

ABCFM 1818-1844 and small sects in the 1850s (Minor, Barclay): Preaching, Agriculture, Health

American Adventists, Baptists, Mormons, Quakers, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of the Nazarene and the Hope of Israel – End of 19th C. onwards: Education

Dr. Dalton 1824: Health

CMS Protestant John Nicolayson 1826

LJS Michael Solomon Alexander 1840 (first incumbent of the Bishopric of Jerusalem established jointly by the Evangelical Church of Prussia and the Church of England, 1840-1886): Education), The Finns: Agriculture, Health

Anglican The Jerusalem & East Mission (JEM) Popham Blyth 1887: Education

1917 ten British Churches and Missionary Societies were active in Syria and Palestine

French, Italian and Spanish

Catholic – Began with The Franciscan Custodia di Terra Sancta

Different orders (St. Joseph, The White Brothers, Ratisbone brothers' Orders of the Sisters of Zion (1843) and Brothers of Zion (1852), etc: Education and Welfare

Yossef Valerga Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem 1847


Russian Ecclesiastical Missions established in Jerusalem 1847 to 1880

The Orthodox Palestine Society was established 1882 +: Education, Health, Pilgrimage – mainly up to 1917

While it is possible to discuss French, English or Russian activity in the Holy Land in the first half of the nineteenth century, it is quite inappropriate to talk about German activity before 1871 and even later. Each of the German groups – the Protestants, the Catholics, and the Tempelgesellschaft – had its own motives for the activity it conducted and the ways and means employed (Kark, Denecke and Goren, in press).

In Jerusalem, the numerous churches and monasteries belong to a multitude of denominations, reflecting the diversity of the Christian communities around the world. The European Christian congregations, among them the German Lutherans and German Catholics, are among the groups whose origins go back to the 19th century. Information gleaned from Ottoman government documents, notably the Islamic Court records and the church affairs registers offer some insight into the history of German religious properties in the Holy City. Salameh, the librarian of the librarian of the Al-Aqsa Library, Islamic Museum investigated the German religious properties in Jerusalem, beginning with the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer which was the first religious property to come into the possession of the Germans, as part of the Dabbaghah (Muristan) Neighborhood of the Old City. In 1869, the German Crown Prince Fredrick Wilhelm visited Jerusalem, at which point the Ottoman Sultan 'Abd al-'Aziz bestowed him the eastern third of the Dabbaghah area. On January 20, 1870, the property passed into the ownership of the King of Prussia as a gift, by order of a firman issued by the Sultan (Salameh, 2001).
The German Protestants (Thalman, 1980)

Prussian missionary activity - 1830s in a very small scale:

worked mainly among the Christian Arab Population

The Bishopric 1840-1886 Goabt: Education

Christian Friedrich Spittler from Basel, Switzerland, had been another pioneer of German Protestant mission in Palestine. 1846 – Establishment of the “Brüderhaus” and later even a bank, in Jerusalem.

List of 1920 (Lambeth Palace) 1920: Rheinisch-Westfälischer Diakonissen: schools

The Evangelische Jerusalem-Stiftung: school

The Schneller Syrisches Waisenhous – Johann Ludwig Schneller from the Spittler Bassler Pilgrims Mission St. Chrischona - Jerusalem 1860, Bir Salem, Nazareth” in Switzerland

“Der Jerusalems-Verein" founded in Berlin in 1851: schools

The Missionary Society entitled: Die hochkirchliche Gesellschaft zur Verbreitung der reinen Lehre des Evangeliums unter den orientalischen Christen, opened in the 1850s schools

Theodore Fliedner 1855 and his Deaconesses from Kaiserwerth: systematic educational work among poor Arab girls
The German Catholics (Goren, 2004)

Catholics, who until the 1880s had no missionary societies in Palestine, concentrated mainly on education..

1855, that the ‘Association of the Holy Sepulchre for Promotion of Catholic Interests in the Holy Land’ (Der Verein vom. Hl. Grabe zur Förderung katholischer Interessen im h. Lande)

Ladislaus Schneider – Jerusalem and Qubeibe (identified as Emmaus) 1870s

Der Palästinaverein der Katholiken Deutschlands Wilhelm Leopold Janssen 1885 and settlement activity, broadening the existing institutions and purchasing and setting up new ones (in Tabgha and Haifa), where German nuns of the order of the Charles Borromeo Sisters of Mercy (Barmherzigen Schwestern vom hl. Karl Borromäus) came to work. In 1890, Janssen sent German Lazarists to handle the administration of all the association's institutions.

A climax in activity 1898-1910 - the Dormition (on Mount Zion) and St. Paul’s Hospice (Damascus Gate).

Catholic Center at Tabgha (Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande)
To sum up the second part we may conclude that the unique attraction of Palestine/the Holy Land as a missionary target is apparent from the scope of the effort. At the beginning of the British Mandatory rule in Palestine over thirty missionary societies; from different Western nations were active in Palestine. Most of those were British, Scottish, American, and German Protestant missions.
The number of Foreign-mission sending agencies amounted to 600 in 1900 and 4,600 in 1997. The table also shows areas that are untouched by the Christian religion and includes other demographic information, such as the percentage of literates who may get to read the books about Christ. He concluded that most of the global mission efforts are actually “ to the people who have been reached by the gospel already!”. (Barrett, 1997, p. 24-25; Van Gelder, 2002, p. 186).
In 1924 Wion (An Eastern Palimpsest) counted 23 Protestant missions (British, Scottish, German, Swedish and Norwegian, etc.), working in Palestine, and his list is not complete. To those we have to add Catholic and Greek Orthodox missions (French, Italian, Russian, etc.), and missions such as the ABCFM and others which had ceased their work. In his detailed statistics of the 23 Protestant mission stations and workers, he counts 232 missionaries (96 women, 88 men and 48 wives) currently working in 47 stations in 22 urban and rural settlements covering the area from Safed in the north to Beersheba in the south.

Two main topics come to mind when discussing the historical background of missionary activity in Palestine, one, political and the other ideological. The first concerns colonial penetration: were the missionaries’ prime agents or one side of the imperialist triangle, shared with merchants and the military? The second has to do with the paradox of the gap between massive investment in human and material resources, versus the pitiful outcome, concerning conversion but the impressive impact in many spheres of life and landscapes.

Latourette, who analyzed the global activity and impact of the 19th and 20th centuries missionaries, concluded that “It was this surge of vitality, which was the primary cause of the daring vision, the comprehensive plans, and the offering of life, and money, which sent missionaries to all quarters of the globe… It is this which led to the reduction of hundreds of us to writing or to the translation of the Bible into a thousand tongues, to the creation of hospitals and the creation of new medical professions, to the rise of educational systems for entire peoples, and to vast changes in the family system and in the status of women”. (Latourette, 1941, Vol. 4, 45-6). Wasserman and Malachi pointed to the contribution of the missions to the annulment of slavery and to the process of westernization on one hand, butalso to its promotion of the colonial spread of the western powers on the other. France for example gained control of Indo-China under the pretext of protecting the Catholic mission (Malachy & Wasserman, 1973, 353–54).
In the recent research literature there is a debate about the contribution of the modern missionary movement to the wellbeing of world populations and transformation. The Hamburg-based Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW) proposed the folowing definition of missionary activity: "Of course mission is an invitation to believe, and to talk about the meaning of life. It is the working for liberation, human rights and human dignity. Mission is the struggle against racism and economic exploitation, and works for reconciliation and justice. Mission is connected with the debt issue and about establishing a reconciled global community". (Schafer, 1998, p. 8 in Sundermaier, 2003, p. 560).
These roles, according to Sundermaier, raise several questions. Included among these are the influence of location and differentiation. One wonders why the commitment to a more just world come under "mission" when it applies to Latin America (a commitment shared with the trades unions) but not when it applies to Germany? What is the justification for classifying anti-globalization activists as engaging in missionary activity in one instance, and not in another? When is Christian education connected with mission and when is it not? Has expansion of the mission reached a point when it becomes imprecise, if not meaningless? (Sundermaier, 2003, p. 560).
As for Palestine, an assessment of the body of missionary documentary sources, rather than seeking sometimes non-representative examples to prove a point, reveals that there was a broad gamut of missionary concepts and attitudes that evolved and changed over time. The conclusions of Tibawi and Said in relation to the role of the missions in colonial expansion should be re-examined. A further question to be addressed is whether the study of missions in nineteenth century Palestine should be viewed in the framework of the general process of the expansion of Christianity and its extension to peripheral areas of the "civilized world" during that period? Was Palestine simply another case study of global missionary activity, or was it a unique case due to its being the Holy Land?
If we adopt the post-revisionist line of assessment for the Middle East discussed above, and in particular for Palestine we may count among the contributions of the missions the legacy of their educational, medical and charitable institutions, many of which were established in the 19th century and persist to the present. A number of these were emulated by Arab, Jewish and other local populations. Missions continue to have a profound influence on the environment and the formation of the urban and rural landscape, on the societies and their culture, including the transference of ideas and technologies between East and West, on identity formation and on determinants of emigration of selective sectors of the local population. This influence must be considered in a balanced manner, also taking into account indigenous contemporary and post-contemporary views.

Barrett’s assessment of failure of the Christian missionary enterprise in light of the vast numbers of the world’s population untouched by Christianity (Barrett, 1997, 24-25) may be countered by consideration of the mission’s pervasive influence on the societies and cultures with which it has interacted worldwide.



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