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Today, 2018

Carpenters and Kings: Western Christianity and the Idea of India


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'Here are many and boundless marvels; in this First India begins another world' Jordanus Catalani, the first bishop of the Church of Rome in India, introduced the northern part of the subcontinent to his readers in fourteenth-century Europe in this manner. Two hundred years before the advent of Vasco da Gama, Western Christianity -- which comprises the Catholic Church, the 'Here are many and boundless marvels; in this First India begins another world' Jordanus Catalani, the first bishop of the Church of Rome in India, introduced the northern part of the subcontinent to his readers in fourteenth-century Europe in this manner. Two hundred years before the advent of Vasco da Gama, Western Christianity -- which comprises the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and Protestant denominations today -- had already arrived in India, finding among its diverse people and faiths the Church of the East already at home since the beginning of Christianity. This is an account of how global events, including the Crusades and the Mongol conquests, came together to bring Western Christianity to India. A gripping narrative of two diagonally opposite impulses in Christianity: of humble scholars trying to live the Christian ideal, and of ambitious ecclesiastical empire-builders with more earthly goals. Carpenters and Kings is a tale of Christianity, and, equally, a glimpse of the India which has always existed: a multicultural land where every faith has found a home through the centuries.
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