When Europe was Not Christian: Contemporary Lessons from Medieval Conversions
2:10 - 3:00 p.m.
Busch Student Center, 253C
Christianity today is often thought of as a characteristically "European" religion, and Christian missionaries in recent centuries have sometimes focused more on promoting, or even imposing, Western cultural norms rather the ideals of the Christian faith. This panel looks back to a time when the European nations themselves were the barbarians, the strange and exotic outsiders who were to be won over to the Christian faith and coaxed into civilization. Examining the experience of conversion in early medieval Europe (400 CE to 1000 CE), from the perspectives both of history and of current theories of World Christianity, it seeks:
- to remind us that what is now considered standard was once "the other"; and
- to reflect on the lessons of history for Christianity's current experiences as a global religion in which ideals of equality often conflict with established privileges and prejudices between the varied cultures of the North and South.
Speaker: Tomas O'Sullivan, Ph.D. (Department of Theological Studies)
Respondents: Steven Schoenig, S.J., Ph.D. (Department of History); Michael McClymond, Ph.D. (Department of Theological Studies)