Ethiopian Christianity: Global Interconnections and Local Identities

Mekelle University
Prof. Martin Tamcke und Stanislau Paulau, Institut für Ökumenische Theologie und Orientalische Kirchen- und Missionsgeschichte, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
01.10.2018 - 05.10.2018
Stanislau Paulau

“Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the Aethiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten.” This often-quoted passage of the British historian Edward Gibbon precisely illustrates a characteristic and highly problematic feature of the predominant historiography of the Ethiopian Christianity: It is still being depicted as isolated and static. The panel aims to question this approach and invites to look at the phenomenon of the Ethiopian Christianity from the perspective of its global interconnections.
From its very beginning the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been largely shaped through interactions with other clusters of the Christian Orient, remarkably so with the Coptic and Syriac traditions. Apart from these networks, it was influenced by more sporadic, but nevertheless decisive interactions with the Latin Christian world. One of the most vivid results of these global interactions is the existence of Ethiopian Catholic and Protestant communities, which contribute to the complex negotiations of the identity within the Ethiopian Christianity itself. Ethiopia ‒ and the Ethiopian Christianity ‒ was, therefore, neither forgetful of the world, nor was it forgotten by it. Presenters are invited to investigate global interconnections of the Ethiopian Christianity from various disciplinary perspectives, be it history, theology, musicology, visual arts, mission studies or anthropology. Presenters might focus not only on various external influences on the Ethiopian Christianity but also vice versa, ask, how did the Ethiopian Christianity contribute to the religious traditions outside of Ethiopia. Thereby special attention deserves the question about the influence of these global interconnections on the transformations of local identities.

Please submit your abstract of 100–350 words via online form at and via email to until 30 November 2017.

The panel will take place within the 20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies at the Mekelle University, Ethiopia (


Stanislau Paulau

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Theologicum, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 2, 37073 Göttingen

Ethiopian Christianity: Global Interconnections and Local Identities, 01.10.2018 – 05.10.2018 Mekelle, in: H-Soz-Kult, 10.10.2017, <>.
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