To study contemporary Christianity – or perhaps Christianities – is to study change. Over the last two centuries, Christianity has become the largest and most diverse of the great world religions, undergoing titanic upheavals in the process. At the same time that Christian practice plummeted in Europe and was decimated in the Middle East, it grew explosively in Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. To gain a “big picture” perspective on the current state and recent history of global Christianities, we will read some of the best work done in the field. At a smaller scale, we will try to sample the present diversity of contemporary Christianities for ourselves by attending to specific leaders, moments, and movements. We will listen to music, watch films, and attempt, as much as we can, to hear the voices of Christians from around the world.
This course is open to all Hartford Seminary students. It does not require prior study of Christianity.