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Scottish protestant-trained medical missionaries in the nineteenth century and the rise of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society

Duff, William Anderson (2010) Scottish protestant-trained medical missionaries in the nineteenth century and the rise of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

During the nineteenth century the Protestant Churches of Scotland accelerated their involvement in the attempts to spread the Christian message out into the colonies. Africa, China and particularly India saw a dramatic rise in the number of evangelical preachers moving into the colonised areas. However, climatic conditions and the lack of preparedness of the missionaries for the role soon took a heavy toll on their numbers. To counteract this loss and to provide treatments for the missionary’s medical needs professional medical men were employed, by the mission boards, to look after those in the field. However, some at home saw the potential benefits of having medicine and evangelism combined to enhance the Christian message. This was not a universally popular ideology and came under sustained criticism from many within the protestant churches who could not accept anything other than pure evangelical preaching as the proper way to win over converts. However, the idea soon gained momentum and supporters lobbied for the creation of the medical missionary as a new method of proselityzation within the missionary enterprise. In Edinburgh a new society was formed to provide medically trained preachers for the foreign field. This organisation, the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, would develop and lay the template for all other such organisations to follow, becoming the foremost provider of medical missionaries in Europe. The life and work of a medical missionary was one of sacrifice and often dangerous labours, however, success or failure was an ever present condition for them. This thesis, by means of a comparative study of two medical missionaries, William Elmslie and Donald Morison, shows how they lived and worked within their missions and the reasoning by which they were declared a success or failure by their respective mission boards. This work concludes by arguing that the part played by the Scottish Protestant Church Missionary Boards, the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society and the work of the medical missionaries themselves, propelled the Scottish medical missionary enterprise to the forefront of the foreign missionary project. The conclusions reached within this work are: Firstly, that the impetus for the creation, support and development of the medical missionary working across the British colonial holdings lies squarely within the effects of two major incidents within the Scottish Protestant community the Dissention of 1843 and the successive waves of evangelical fervour which swept through the country during the nineteenth century. Secondly, that the system of medical missionary work, when accompanied with Gospel teaching, proved to be a more successful method of proselityzation than simple evangelical preaching alone.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Missionary,Missionaries,Medical,India,Protestant,Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities
Supervisor's Name: Schenk, Prof. Catherine
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: mr william anderson duff
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-2272
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:53
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2272

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