Hanciles’ New Book Studies Role of Migration in Christianity’s Spread

March 18, 2021

Jehu HancilesD.W. and Ruth Brooks Professor of World Christianity and Director of Candler’s World Christianity program Jehu J. Hanciles has published his fourth book.

In Migration and the Making of Global Christianity (Eerdmans, 2021), Hanciles surveys the history of Christianity’s global expansion from its origins through 1500 CE to show how migration itself—more than official missionary activity or imperial designs—played a vital role in making it the world’s largest religion.

While church history has tended to place a premium on political power and institutional forms, Hanciles argues that this top-down perspective overlooks the vast array of social movements, cultural processes, ordinary experiences, and non-elite activities and decisions that contribute immensely to religious encounter and exchange.

Through Hanciles’ sociohistorical approach to understanding the growth of Christianity as a world religion, his research disrupts the narrative of Western preeminence while simultaneously honoring and making sense of the diversity of religious expression that has characterized the world Christian movement for 2,000 years.