In this book--part biography, part critical analysis--John Hubers introduces us to a man whose pioneering ministry in the Ottoman Empire has gone largely unnoticed since his memoir was penned in 1828, three years after his death in Beirut, by a seminary colleague. His name was Pliny F... isk, and he belonged to a cadre of New England seminary students whose evangelical Calvinism led them to believe that God was opening up a new chapter in the life of the Church that included an aggressive evangelism outside the borders of Christendom. Fisk and his friend Levi Parsons joined that effort in 1819 when they became the first American missionaries sent to the Ottoman Empire by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Hubers's intent is to show the complexity of Fisk's character while examining the impact his move to the Middle East made on his perceptions of the religious other. As such, this volume joins a growing body of literature aimed at providing critical, historical, and religious context to the often checkered history of relations between American Christians and Western Asian peoples. ""It became rare in today's scholarship to find a serious scholarly study on the missionary work in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Arab Near East, though such literature is still strongly needed to develop a comprehensive understanding of missionary thought of that significant era. In this longed for volume, John Hubers offers us an admirable analysis of such missionary work in the Arab World. He eruditely takes missiological studies an original step forward by tackling the yet understudied question of how the interaction with the non-Christian imaginations of the indigenous Oriental groups challenged, impacted, and even transformed not just these missionaries' understanding of these imaginations, but, more intriguingly, their very own Christian faith alike. The result is an ably and lucidly developed thesis, and an innovative, thought-provoking, and excellent volume that must be in the library of every teacher, student, and lay reader interested in this subject."" --Najib George Awad (Dr. Phil; Dr. Theol. Habil.), Hartford Seminary, CT ""Drawing upon deep archival research and newly available sources, John Hubers' I Am a Pilgrim, a Traveler, a Stranger delivers a much-needed, fresh analysis of the life and ministry of Pliny Fisk, the first Protestant American missionary to the Middle East."" --Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University ""This book examines one of the first American Protestant missionary enterprises to the Middle East. For a world that is highly dependent on intercultural and interfaith relations, this publication provides important insights. For those interested in the encounter between the United States and the Middle East, this study on its pioneering stage is an essential read. The book provides a glimpse of hope that hearts can be changed and bridges of understanding built."" --Mitri Raheb, President, Dar al-Kalima University College ""In this account of the brief missionary career of Pliny Fisk, Hubers has given us an intricate analysis of the ways in which an imagination schooled in the Bible, the Enlightenment, New England Protestantism, and the lives of missionary heroes could impose and maintain an objectifying and estranging distance even from the most hospitable 'other.' This book will be a fascinating case study (and warning) for anyone interested in the possibility of fruitful inter-religious encounter."" --Mark N. Swanson, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago ""The story of Pliny Fisk (1792-1825), ABCFM's first missionary to the Middle East, is as salutary today as it was tragic then. Shaped by the Orientalism of the times, blinded by the presumptions of Western superiority, and constricted by the doctrinal straitjacket of his Calvinism, Fisk's social isolation was guaranteed, and his failure as an emissary of the Gospel assured. A perpetual outsi
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