Shouting in a Desert: Dutch missionary encounters with Javanese Islam, 1850-1910
Author(s)Kruithof, M.J. (Maryse)
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Abstract__Abstract__ ‘‘Shouting in a desert’ Dutch missionary encounters with Javanese Islam’ concentrates on the shifts and developments in the Dutch mission discourse within the period from 1850 to 1910. It explores the Dutch missionary encounter with local communities and is conducted at the micro level to analyse the expectations, convictions, strategies, developments, results and reflections of six Dutch missionaries. Kruithof analyses the missionaries’ reflections upon this intercultural encounter, how they adjusted their proselytizing strategies and the influence it had on the Dutch mission discourse. The sources allow for a comparison between the views, approaches and results of Protestant, Catholic and -to lesser extent- indigenous evangelists. This study seeks to reach an understanding of the Dutch mission discourse on themes like (Javanese) Islam, indigenous evangelization, mission methods, conversion and localization of Christianity. The focus is especially on the perceptions of the six missionaries of the local expressions of Christianity and, more importantly, their reactions to these expressions. In addition, this study elucidates how challenging the position of the missionaries was, since they found themselves on the border between the Christian and Islamic world, as colonizers amongst the colonized. The missionaries had justify their presence, approach, and results to the boards of their societies, but also to the sponsoring public in the Netherlands, the colonial state and to the population of Java. Since the results were not very convincing in this initial phase of the organized mission, they had to find ways to negotiate their positions as good missionaries. This study shows how they all strategically used and combined various discourses that evolve around the overarching discourse on religion in order to claim that particular identity.