Deanna Ferree Womack, "Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria" (Edinburgh UP, 2020)

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The Ottoman Syrians - residents of modern Syria and Lebanon - formed the first Arabic-speaking Evangelical Church in the region. Deanna Ferree Womack's book Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria (Edinburgh UP, 2020) offers a fresh narrative of the encounters of this minority Protestant community with American missionaries, Eastern churches and Muslims at the height of the Nahda, from 1860 to 1915. Drawing on rare Arabic publications, it challenges historiography that focuses on Western male actors. Instead it shows that Syrian Protestant women and men were agents of their own history who sought the salvation of Syria while adapting and challenging missionary teachings. These pioneers established a critical link between evangelical religiosity and the socio-cultural currents of the Nahda, making possible the literary and educational achievements of the American Syria Mission and transforming Syrian society in ways that still endure today.

Byung Ho Choi and Sun Yong Lee are Ph.D. students in the Department of History & Ecumenics, focusing on World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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