were sent to extirpate heathenism and not to spread what he called 'heathenish nonsense' in Europe.10
Despite the attitude of Franke in Halle, the Lutheran Church in south India remained remarkably sympathetic to Hindu culture and grew, albeit slowly. Through the influence of the Danish and British royal families, the mission gained significant financial help from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The new Lutheran community as it developed made significant concessions to the Christian converts on the issue of caste. Arrangements were made at services and meetings so that the Sudra Christians, who were in the majority, could preserve their caste status despite a large minority of outcastes among the church members. There was also a widespread absorption of Tamil culture into the church's life, one example being the singing of hymns which were based upon different forms of Tamil poetry and music. Indeed in 1809, the Indian poet Vedenayaka Sastri was widely feted for a substantial body of poetry on Christian themes in the classical Tamil form called kuravanci -poetry to be recited in public with musical accompaniment. Historians of Tamil literature have recognized it as a notable contribution to the kuravanci form. Equally significant, a large section of the Christians were from the Saiva Hindu tradition dominant in the area. Each Saiva sect has its own special master narrative poem for public recitation and singing, a purana, and Sastri's work fulfilled that role in the new Indian Christian community.11 Whatever this new community was, it had clear characteristics which could be called Hindu, and its members were certainly not parangi. Again, as with the Jesuit mission, we have here a form of Christian and Hindu encounter that was fruitful and creative rather than simply negative and hostile.
This Lutheran development in south India is in marked contrast with the main Protestant Christian encounter with Hinduism. This was to take place primarily in the nineteenth century but the foundations and style of that encounterwere set by 1815. However, before the encounter between organized Protestantism and Hinduism took place on a large scale, there developed a body of writing about Hinduism by scholars writing in English. All were formally Protestant Christians and most were servants of the British East India Company. There was one notable exception, the outstanding academic and leader in the Church of Scotland, Principal William Robertson of the University of Edinburgh. These writers presented an attractive face of Hinduism to a western and Christian audience. Nathaniel Halhed's A code of Gentoo laws of 1776 was the first of these English-language books based on genuine Hindu texts. Then ten years later came Charles Wilkin's English translation of the Bhagavadgita, the first classical Sanskrit text to be published in a European
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