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The Saint in the Banyan Tree – Christianity and Caste Society in India - California Scholarship Online
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The Saint in the Banyan Tree: Christianity and Caste Society in India

David Mosse


The Saint in the Banyan Tree is a nuanced and historically persuasive exploration of Christianity's remarkable trajectory as a social and cultural force in southern India. It skillfully combines archival research and anthropological fieldwork to explain how, from the seventeenth century, Jesuit missionary Catholicism was localized into Tamil institutions of caste and popular religiosity, while in the twentieth century, Christianity opened space for political assertions of those subordinated as “untouchable.” Mosse shows how caste was central to the way in which the categories of “religion” and ... More

Keywords: anthropology, India, Christianity, Catholic, missionary, Jesuit, caste, Tamil, dalit, politics conversion, festivals, saint cults, syncretism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780520253162
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520253162.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Mosse, author