India's Tapestry of Faith
Robert Eric Frykenberg, Christianity in India: From Beginnings to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2008).
India is only about as large as the United States east of the Mississippi (1.72 million square miles). However, this triangle-shaped country encompasses breathtaking complexity and diversity. It is a land of over 200 major languages, almost 5,000 distinct ethnic groups, and every major religion in the world—including over 700 million Hindus, over 100 million Muslims, and millions of Sikhs and Buddhists. Christianity also has an ancient and complex history in India. Christians in India cherish the belief that St. Thomas himself brought Christianity to the sub-continent as early as 52 A.D., giving so-called "doubting Thomas" the high honor of having brought the gospel farther than any other apostle. St. Thomas was the beginning of a long stream of Christians who have labored hard to make India hospitable for the Christian message. India is the home of Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans and other Protestants, Pentecostals, and hundreds of new indigenous movements—all contributing in their own way to the unique story of Indian Christianity.
Given all the richness of this Christian heritage, it is no small compliment to declare that Robert Eric Frykenberg, in Christianity in India, has produced a truly fine single-volume work on the subject. Frykenberg's amazing breadth of knowledge brings to life the complexity of India's Christian history.
The book is structured around four major waves or expansions of Christianity in India: Apostolic and Syriac, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and more recent Pentecostal and indigenous Christianity. After two chapters that introduce the rich beauty and diversity of India, ...