This unit provides an account of the history of Christianity in India from its inception until the current period. From the earliest period, the movement has been associated with St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Further, it explores the historical blending of Syriac Christianity (first and second Syrian migration), Nestorian Christianity (Nestorianism), Portuguese Christianity (Catholicism), and Dutch and English missionaries (Protestantism) with Indian Christianity. It especially examines the nature and development of Syriac/Orthodox/Jacobite Christians and the modern Western mission in India. While investigating these historical movements, the unit contemplates the implications, challenges, and evolution that shaped Indian Christianity in its current form.

Unit code: CH9310A

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Critically articulate the history, nature and development of Indian Christianity from first Century to the contemporary era.


Critically evaluate the historical shifts in Indian Christianity using primary and secondary sources.


Appraise the impact of Western colonialism in the life and witness of Christianity in India.


Identify and evaluate the connection between the history of Indian Christianity and world Christianity.


Critically analyse the historiographical tools to understand various historical nuances of Christian traditions in India.


Develop a critical framework for reading and interpreting historical texts.

Unit sequence



Pre-recorded lectures, class presentations, guiding reading, and weekly tutorials.

Indicative Bibliography

Arakkal, John., M.V. Cyriac., and Abraham Koothottil. “Alienation or Liberation? Towards an Evaluation of the History of Christianity in India.” Jeevadhara 7, no. 37 (1977): 17–85.

Athanasius, Mor Paulose. The Syrian Orthodox Church: Its Religion and Philosophy. Changanaserry, Kerala: Mor Adai Study Centre, 2005.

Bauman, Chad M., and Richard Fox Young Constructing Indian Christianities: Culture, Conversion and Caste. New Delhi: Routledge, 2014.

Daughrity, Dyron B., Athyal, Jesudas M. Understanding World Christianity: India. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016.

Frykenberg, Robert Eric. Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication Since 1500 With Special Reference to Caste, Conversion and Colonialism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Gladstone, J.W. Protestant Christianity and Peoples Movements in Kerala 1850-1936. Trivandrum: Seminary Publications, 1984.

Mathew, C.P. and M.M. Thomas. The Indian Churches of St. Thomas 2nd Edition. Delhi: DJVP/ISPCK, 2006.

Moffett, Samuel Hugh. A history of Christianity in Asia, Vol I, Beginnings to 1500. Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 2006.

Mundadan, A. Mathias. History of Christianity in India Vol.1 From the Beginning Up to the Middle of the Sixteenth Century (Up to 1542). Bangalore: Theological Publication of India, 1989.

Philip, E. M. The Indian Church of St. Thomas 3rd Edition. Puthencruz, Kerala: Mor Adai Study Centre, 2014.

Samuel, John., J.B Santiago, and P Thiagarajan Early Christianity in India: With Parallel Development in Other Parts of Asia, edited by John Samuel, J.B Santiago, and P Thiagarajan, 172-81. Chennai, India: Institute of Asian Studies, 2007.

Webster, C.B. John. Historiography of Christianity in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper 1500 30.0
Critical Review 2750 35.0
Essay 2750 35.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 9 Sep, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-09-09 12:42:49 +1000