Heavenly Fatherland: German Missionary Culture and Globalization in the Age of Empire
Published: February 2021© 2021
344 Pages, 6.25 x 9.30 x 1.12 in, 5 b&w illustrations, 4 b&w maps
Motivated by a theology that declared missionary work was independent of secular colonial pursuits, Protestant missionaries from Germany operated in ways that contradict current and prevailing interpretations of nineteenth-century missionary work. As a result of their travels, these missionaries contributed to Germany’s colonial culture. Because of their theology of Christian universalism, they worked against the bigoted racialism and ultra-nationalism of secular German empire-building. Heavenly Fatherland provides a detailed political and cultural analysis of missionaries, mission societies, mission intellectuals, and missionary supporters.
Combining case studies from East Africa with studies of the metropole, this book demonstrates that missionaries’ ideas about race and colonialism influenced ordinary Germans’ experience of globalization and colonialism at the same time that the missionaries shaped colonial governance. By bringing together religious and colonial history, the book opens new avenues of inquiry into Christian participation in colonialism. During the Age of Empire, German missionaries promoted an internationalist vision of the modern world that aimed to create a multinational, multiracial "heavenly Fatherland" spread across the globe.
List of Illustrations
1. Preach the Gospel to All Creation: Missionswissenschaft and a German Protestant Mission
2. Speaking in Tongues: Language, Education, and Volkskirchen
3. Give... to God the Things That Are God’s: Labour and Capital in the Mission Field
4. Go In and Take Possession of the Land: Anti-Catholicism and the Limits of Protestant Missionary Internationalism
5. Tending the Flock: Bringing Mission to the Heimat
6. Iron Sharpens Iron: International Missionary Conferences and Their German Roots
"Heavenly Fatherland is an impressive, well-researched, and timely piece of work, which sheds considerable light on German missionary enterprise both at home and abroad and complicates our understandings of German discourses on race."Robbie Aitken, Professor of Imperial History, Sheffield Hallam University
"Bringing German Protestant missionaries to the forefront of the history of German imperialism and colonialism, Jeremy Best highlights a group that has been largely overlooked in English language scholarship and makes it his focal point. Rounding out the increasingly complex history of German interactions with the wider world in the modern period, Best provides an important service to the discipline."Sara Pugach, Professor of History, California State University, Los Angeles
- Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society First Book Award