To study contemporary Christianity is to study change. Over the last century or so, Christianity has become the largest and most diverse of the great world religions, undergoing titanic upheavals in the process. Christian practice plummeted in Europe and was decimated in the Middle East, but after the collapse of Colonialism it has grown rapidly in Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. To gain a “big picture” perspective on the current state and recent history of World Christianity, we will read some of the best work in this exciting new field. We will also read about forms of Christianity in each of the inhabited continents. At a smaller scale, we will try to sample the present diversity of contemporary Christianity 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.