somewhat as the Soviet Union and the United States viewed one another during the twentieth-century Cold War. The Christian encounter with Buddhism, which took place principally in China and Japan, was more of a genuine religious encounter. However, despite some initial episodes of sympathetic discussion, relations soon took a negative turn, principally because the missionaries' most powerful converts and their leading local sympathizers were themselves already anti-Buddhist. With Confucianism and with Hinduism, the situation was dramatically different, at least for a time. The Jesuit missions initiated and maintained a creative dialogue with both traditions until this development was finally ended by the papal bull Ex quo singulari of 1742. After that, the encounter was overwhelmingly negative. Despite a brief but creative Lutheran/Hindu encounter in south India, the impact of the new, rapidly expanding Protestant missionary endeavour was equally negative. As a result, by 1815 Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity, so hostile to each other otherwise, were united in their condemnation of the other great religious traditions in the world, dismissing them as wrong at best, and as demonic at worst.


1. Jean-Marie Gaudel, Encounters and clashes: Islam and Christianity in history (Rome: Pontificio Instituto di Studi Arabi e Islamici, 1990), vol. 1, pp. 232-5.

3. Ahmad Gunny, Images of Islam in eighteenth-century writings (London, Grey Seal, 1996).

5. Duncan Forrester, Caste and Christianity: Attitudes and policy on caste of Anglo-Saxon Missions in India (London: Curzon Press, 1980), chap. 5.

6. S. Delacroix (ed.), Histoire universelle des missions Catholiques, 4 vols. (Paris: Grund, 1956), vol. 2, p. 43.

7. Although referred to in many books as 'de Nobili', Fr Wicki has shown that he always wrote his name 'Nobili' when writing in Italian or Portuguese. J. W Wicki, Neue Zeitschriftfur Missionwissenschaft, 33 (1977), p. 136.

8. S. Neill, A history of Christianity in India: From thebeginning to 1707 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), p. 309.

9. What 'accommodation' is in contrast with 'inculturation' and which is the more appropriate designation for the Jesuit policy in Madurai and in China we will turn to later.

10. Quoted in S. Neill, A history of Christianity in India, vol. 1, p. 33.

11. Indira Viswanathan, 'The Bethlehem Kuravanci of Vedanayaka Sastri', in Brown and Frykenberg (eds.), Christians, cultural interactions, and India's religious tradition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002).

12. Quoted in Geoffrey Carnall, 'Robertson and contemporary images of India', in S. J. Brown (ed.), William Robertson and the expansion of empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 215.

13. Forrester, Caste and Christianity, chap. I.

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