Michigan State University

Travel, Missionaries

Missionary biography was a traditional Protestant form of inspirational literature and a staple of Sunday school books. Like the gospels themselves, these books sought to relate the history of evangelism throughout the world and to present exemplary lives on which to model one's own spiritual life. As such, they reveal much of the attitudes of missionaries toward the lands they visited and worked in, and toward the people they tried to convert.

Typically, the works are a mixture of hagiography, piety, candor, struggle, and prejudice. They also reveal much of the teaching methods and growing debates about instruction that informed the rise of Sunday school literature as a whole.

— Stephen Rachman, Department of English, Michigan State University

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