Christianity took root in the Americas during the early modern period when a historically unprecedented migration brought European clergy, religious seekers, and explorers to the New World. Protestant and Catholic settlers undertook the arduous journey for a variety of motivations. Some fled corrupt theocracies and sought to reclaim ancient principles and Christian ideals in a remote unsettled territory. Others intended to glorify their home nations and churches by bringing new lands and subjects under the rule of their kings. Many imagined the indigenous peoples they encountered as "savages" awaiting the salvific force of Christ. Whether by overtly challenging European religious authority and traditions or by adapting to unforeseen hardship and resistance, these envoys reshaped faith, liturgy, and ecclesiology and fundamentally transformed the practice and theology of Christianity.
Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas explores the impact of colonial encounters in the Atlantic world on the history of Christianity. Essays from across disciplines examine religious history from a spatial perspective, tracing geographical movements and population dispersals as they were shaped by the millennial designs and evangelizing impulses of European empires. At the same time, religion provides a provocative lens through which to view patterns of social restriction, exclusion, and tension, as well as those of acculturation, accommodation, and resistance in a comparative colonial context. Through nuanced attention to the particularities of faith, especially Anglo-Protestant settlements in North America and the Ibero-Catholic missions in Latin America, Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas illuminates the complexity and variety of the colonial world as it transformed a range of Christian beliefs.
Contributors Ralph Bauer, David A. Boruchoff, Matt Cohen, Sir John Elliot, Carmen Fernandez-Salvador, Junia Ferreira Furtado, Sandra M. Gustafson, David D. Hall, Stephanie Kirk, Asuncion Lavrin, Sarah Rivett, Teresa Toulouse.