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The Christians of KeralaHistory, Belief and Ritual Among the Yakoba$
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Susan Viswanathan

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195647990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195647990.001.0001

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Reconstructions of the Past: Forms of Historical Consciousness

Reconstructions of the Past: Forms of Historical Consciousness

(p.13) 2 Reconstructions of the Past: Forms of Historical Consciousness
The Christians of Kerala

Susan Visvanathan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the history of Syrian Christians. It covers the Persian period, during which a dispersion of the early Christians seems to have taken place following the departure of St Thomas; and the Portuguese period which began with the ‘discovery’ of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama in 1498. Syrian Christianity during the nineteenth century is then described using narrative accounts of three different but related kinds in the syntagmatic reconstruction of the past. These are: (a) Church Missionary Society Records (1816–56), (b) Judgement Reports including Witness Depositions in the Royal Court of Final Appeal (1879–89), and (c) Ethnographic Accounts of 1981–2.

Keywords:   Syrian Christians, Christianity, St Thomas’s conversion, Persian period, Portuguese period, Vasco da Gama, British period, Church Missionary Society Records, judgement reports, ethnographic accounts

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