The Overly Candid Missionary Historian: C.G.A. Oldendorp’s Theological Ambivalence over Slavery in the Danish West Indies

A3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Anders Ahlbäck
Editors: Holger Weiss
Place: Leiden, Boston
Publication year: 2015
Publisher: Brill
Book title: Ports of Globalisation, Places of Creolisation Nordic Possessions in the Atlantic World during the Era of the Slave Trade
Title of series: Studies in Global Slavery
Number in series: 1
Start page: 191
End page: 217
ISBN: 978-90-04-30278-5
ISSN: 2405-4585


This article examines the depictions of slavery and the Afro-Caribbean slave population in C.G.A. Oldendorp’s history of the Moravian mission to the Danish sugar islands S t T homas, S t John and S t Croix. Comparing the original manuscript with the heavily edited version authorized and published by the radical-pietistic Moravian church in 1777, it discusses Oldendorp’s theological and emotional ambivalences over the issue of slavery. S truggling to reconcile the socially conformist Moravian mission theology with his personal impressions from a voyage to the Caribbean in 176768 and close encounters with Afro-Caribbean Christian converts, Oldendorp presented an ambiguous critique of slavery. T he cuts, omissions and alterations to his manuscript made by the editor, Johann Jakob Bossart, point to significant tensions within the Moravian church over this issue in the 1760s1770s.


Afro-Caribbeans, anti-slavery sentiment, C.G.A. Oldendorp, Danish West Indies, Denmark--Colonies--History, Johann Jakob Bossart, Lutheranism, missionary work, Moravians, pietism, slavery, Slavery--Denmark--History, Slavery-- Scandinavia--History

Last updated on 2020-02-04 at 04:50