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The Missionary Factor in Ethiopia

Papers from a Symposium on the Impact of European Missions on Ethiopian Society, Lund University, August 1996


Getatchew Haile, Aasulv Lande and Samuel Rubenson

European, not the least Scandinavian, mission societies have played an important role in shaping modern Ethiopia and Eritrea. In spite of this the long-term impact on Ethiopian society by European missions has not yet received much attention. The predominance of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in society and nation makes Ethiopia an exception in the history of European missions, and raises questions of an ecumenical character, which need more attention. Present tension in Ethiopia between Orthodox and Evangelicals, and the tendency to identifiy Christian affiliation with ethnic identity, contribute to make this an urgent matter. The present volume presents the papers delivered at a symposium on these questions held at Lund University in August 1996. They include discussions on the justification of foreign missionary activity in a country already Christian, the impact of the Catholic missionary enterprise of the 16th and 17th centuries, the colonial context of late 19th century missionary activity, the impact of the Europeans on social and intellectual developments, the struggle of the Ethiopian Catholics for an Ethiopian identity in the face of latinization and colonial interests and the question of European influence on structure and leadership in the Evangelical Churches.
Contents: Getatchew Haile: The Missionary's Dream: An Ethiopian Perspective on Western Missions in Ethiopia - Richard Gray: The Missionary Factor: An African Perspective - Taddesse Tamrat: Evangelizing the Evangelized: The Root Problem between Missions and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church - Merid Wolde Aregay: The Legacy of Jesuit Missionary Activities in Ethiopia - Sven Rubenson: The Missionary Factor in Ethiopia: Consequences of a Colonial Context - Samuel Rubenson: The Interaction between the Missionaries and the Orthodox: the Case of Abune Selama - Donald Crummey: The Politics of Modernization: Protestant and Catholic Missionaries in Modern Ethiopia - Ezra Gebremedhin: Aleqa Taye: The Missionary Factor in his Scholarly Work - Tekeste Negash: The Catholic Mission and the Catholic Community in Eritrea, 1894-1950 - Ayele Teklehaymanot: The Struggle for the «Ethiopianization» of the Roman Catholic Tradition - Johnny Bakke: Models of Leadership in Ethiopia: The Missionary Contribution - Eskil Jonsson: The Missionary Factor in the Institutionalization of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus - Aasulv Lande: Evangelical Mission in Ethiopia - Why an Ecumenical Failure?