This book is the first account of British Protestant conversion initiatives directed towards continental Europe between 1600 and 1900.
Continental Europe was considered a missionary land—another periphery of the world, whose centre was imperial Britain. British missions to Europe were informed by religious experiments in America, Africa, and Asia, rendering these offensives against Europe a true form of "imaginary colonialism". British Protestant missionaries often understood themselves to be at the forefront of a civilising project directed at Catholics (and sometimes even at other Protestants). Their mission was further reinforced by Britain becoming a land of compassionate refuge for European dissenters and exiles. This book engages with the myth of International Protestantism, questioning its early origins and its narrative of transnational belonging, while also interrogating Britain as an imagined Protestant land of hope and glory.
In the history of western Christianities, "converting Europe" had a role that has not been adequately investigated. This is the story of the attempted, and ultimately failed, effort to convert a continent.
Table of Contents
Section I. Missionary Models
1. ‘One World is not enough’: the ‘myth’ of Roman Catholicism as a ‘World Religion’
2. The Jesuits have shed much blood for Christ’: Early Modern Protestants and the Problem of Catholic Overseas Missions
Section II. The Origins of Global Protestantism
3. (Re)making Ireland British: Conversion and Civility in a Neglected 1643 Treatise
4. Charting the ‘Progress of Truth’: Quaker Missions and the Topography of Dissent in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europe
5. The English and the Italian Bible
Section III. Missions and Church Unifications in the Age of the Enlightenment
6. "True Catholic Unity": The Church of England and the Project for Gallican Union, 1717-1719
7. "Promoting the Common Interest of Christ" H.W. Ludolf’s ‘impartial’ Projects and the Beginnings of the SPCK
8. Between Anti-popery and European Missions: The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and its Networks
Section IV. A British Missionary Land
9. The Evangelical Transformation of British Protestantism for Mission
10. The London Jews’ Society and the Roots of Premillenialism, 1809-1829
Brent S. Sirota
11. Missions on the Fringes of Europe: British Protestants and the Orthodox Churches, c. 1800-1850
Section V. Making Propaganda, Making Nations
12. Sermons in Stone: Architecture and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts within the Diocese of Gibraltar, c.1842-1882
G. Alex Bremner
13. The Land of Calvin and Voltaire: British Missionaries in Nineteenth-century Paris
Simone Maghenzani is Dame Marilyn Strathern Lecturer in History, and a Fellow and Director of Studies at Girton College, University of Cambridge.
Stefano Villani is Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.