New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America  -     By: John Lynch
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New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America

Yale University Press / 2012 / Hardcover

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Product Description

This extraordinary book encompasses the time period from the first Christian evangelists' arrival in Latin America to the dictators of the late twentieth century. With unsurpassed knowledge of Latin American history, author John Lynch's New Worlds: A Religious History of Latin America sets out to explore the reception of Christianity by native peoples and how it influenced their social and religious lives as the centuries passed. As attentive to modern times as to the colonial period, Lynch also explores the extent to which Indian religion and ancestral ways survived within the new Christian culture.

The book follows the development of religious culture over time by focusing on peak periods of change:

  • the response of religion to the Enlightenment
  • the emergence of the Church from the wars of independence
  • the Romanization of Latin American religion as the papacy overtook the Spanish crown in effective control of the Church
  • the growing challenge of liberalism and the secular state
  • and in the twentieth century, military dictators' assaults on human rights
Throughout the narrative, Lynch develops a number of special themes and topics. Among these are the Spanish struggle for justice for Indians, the Church's position on slavery, the concept of popular religion as distinct from official religion, and the development of liberation theology.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9.30 X 6.20 (inches)
ISBN: 030016680X
ISBN-13: 9780300166804
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

This extraordinary book encompasses the time period from the first Christian evangelists' arrival in Latin America to the dictators of the late twentieth century. With unsurpassed knowledge of Latin American history, John Lynch sets out to explore the reception of Christianity by native peoples and how it influenced their social and religious lives as the centuries passed. As attentive to modern times as to the colonial period, Lynch also explores the extent to which Indian religion and ancestral ways survived within the new Christian culture.

The book follows the development of religious culture over time by focusing on peak periods of change: the response of religion to the Enlightenment, the emergence of the Church from the wars of independence, the Romanization of Latin American religion as the papacy overtook the Spanish crown in effective control of the Church, the growing challenge of liberalism and the secular state, and in the twentieth century, military dictators' assaults on human rights. Throughout the narrative, Lynch develops a number of special themes and topics. Among these are the Spanish struggle for justice for Indians, the Church's position on slavery, the concept of popular religion as distinct from official religion, and the development of liberation theology.

Author Bio

John Lynch is Emeritus Professor of Latin American History and former director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London. He is the author of more than a dozen books on Latin American topics. He lives in London.

Publishers Weekly

It is an ongoing concern of organized religion that the intellectual and cultural advancement of societies has made the laity more difficult to control, more resistant to direction from formal religious authorities. History shows that where religion has found a foothold among indigenous societies, it often comes at the price of violating the cultural and societal mores of those societies. Lynch's trenchant and mature study of the development of the Christian religion in Latin America is a wonderfully realized account of the political and social forces that affected the spiritual formation of these diverse and creative cultures. Catholicism naturally plays a large role in the story; its uneasy alliances with the sometimes coercive governments of Latin America constitute a large part of the tension and drama of this history. Although evangelicalism and Pentecostalism have arisen as competitors to the Catholic Church, radical leftist liberation theologies have posed an even greater challenge to Rome's authority. The quest for religious clarity in Latin America is far from over. This is a superb retelling of a story that needs to be studied. (June) 2012 Reed Business Information

Editorial Reviews

“Trenchant and mature . . . a wonderfully realized account . . . a superb retelling of a story that needs to be studied.”—Publishers Weekly

"John Lynch has furnished an important and intricate piece of the puzzle of the story of global Christianity . . . He practices history at its best . . . For many years to come New Worlds should stand as a key reference point."—Kenneth P. Serbin, Christian Century

"A masterly, in-depth study of religion in its many forms in Latin America"—Jeffrey Klaiber S.J., America 

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