Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Deanna Ferree Womack
Alternative Stories
  • Edinburgh, Scotland: 
    Edinburgh University Press
    , April
     424 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Philipp Reisner forthcoming.


A comprehensive study of Arab Protestantism during the Nahda in Ottoman Syria

The Ottoman Syrians – residents of modern Syria and Lebanon – formed the first Arabic-speaking Evangelical Church in the region. This book 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. 

Key Features

  • Locates Syrian Protestant narratives within American, Ottoman and global histories
  • Explores macro-questions of Arab–American relations and gender roles in the Islamic world
  • Brings Middle Eastern studies into conversation with the field of World Christianity
  • Makes rare and neglected writings by Syrian Protestants accessible to non-Arabic speakers
  • Includes a bibliography of primary Arabic source materials by Syrian Protestant women
  • Provides family trees of Syrian Protestants
  • Includes rare photographs from nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ottoman Syria
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Deanna Ferree Womack is Assistant Professor of History of Religions and Multifaith Relations at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.


Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.