I Am a Pilgrim, a Traveler, a Stranger
Exploring the Life and Mind of the First American Missionary to the Middle East, the Rev. Pliny Fisk (1792–1825)
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"It became rare in today's scholarship to find a serious scholarly study on the missionary work in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Arab Near East, though such literature is still strongly needed to develop a comprehensive understanding of missionary thought of that significant era. In this longed for volume, John Hubers offers us an admirable analysis of such missionary work in the Arab World. He eruditely takes missiological studies an original step forward by tackling the yet understudied question of how the interaction with the non-Christian imaginations of the indigenous Oriental groups challenged, impacted, and even transformed not just these missionaries' understanding of these imaginations, but, more intriguingly, their very own Christian faith alike. The result is an ably and lucidly developed thesis, and an innovative, thought-provoking, and excellent volume that must be in the library of every teacher, student, and lay reader interested in this subject."
--Najib George Awad (Dr. Phil; Dr. Theol. Habil.), Hartford Seminary, CT
"Drawing upon deep archival research and newly available sources, John Hubers' I Am a Pilgrim, a Traveler, a Stranger delivers a much-needed, fresh analysis of the life and ministry of Pliny Fisk, the first Protestant American missionary to the Middle East."
--Thomas S. Kidd, Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University
"This book examines one of the first American Protestant missionary enterprises to the Middle East. For a world that is highly dependent on intercultural and interfaith relations, this publication provides important insights. For those interested in the encounter between the United States and the Middle East, this study on its pioneering stage is an essential read. The book provides a glimpse of hope that hearts can be changed and bridges of understanding built."
--Mitri Raheb, President, Dar al-Kalima University College
"In this account of the brief missionary career of Pliny Fisk, Hubers has given us an intricate analysis of the ways in which an imagination schooled in the Bible, the Enlightenment, New England Protestantism, and the lives of missionary heroes could impose and maintain an objectifying and estranging distance even from the most hospitable 'other.' This book will be a fascinating case study (and warning) for anyone interested in the possibility of fruitful inter-religious encounter."
--Mark N. Swanson, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
"The story of Pliny Fisk (1792-1825), ABCFM's first missionary to the Middle East, is as salutary today as it was tragic then. Shaped by the Orientalism of the times, blinded by the presumptions of Western superiority, and constricted by the doctrinal straitjacket of his Calvinism, Fisk's social isolation was guaranteed, and his failure as an emissary of the Gospel assured. A perpetual outsider, detached and critically aloof from the religious and cultural others among whom he lived out his missionary vocation, he is a pitiful figure. His story and its lessons bear hearing in our time of nationalistic hubris fueled and ignited by ignorance. For those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and the humility to self-examine, there is much to ponder. Hubers is to be thanked for writing a story that is surprisingly contemporary in its lessons."
--Jonathan J. Bonk, Director, Dictionary of African Christian Biography; Research Professor of Mission, Center for Global Christianity & Mission, Boston University School of Theology