HerbSwanson.com ...A Resource for the Study of the Thai Church


Welcome to herbswanson.com. The primary purpose of this website is to contribute to the study of Thai church history. Readers will also find material on northern Thai and Thai history, international church history, and other subjects related to the study of the past and the church's past and present in Thailand. The website is organized on the model of a library with three "departments" or sections. They are: Reference, Periodicals, and Stacks. The Website Contents guide, below, provides a list and brief description of what will be found in each section.

In addition, users will find here a BLOG dedicated largely to sharing resources that I have come across online that are relevant to the study of Christianity in Thailand. IF you are doing research on Thai Christianity or related subjects, you might want to spend a little time looking at the blog. I started it in November 2012, and the latest entry was posted on June 3, 2015. For citations to all of the sources referred to on the blog see the Citations List.

Please feel free to come in, browse, and use what you find helpful. Downloaded material may not be distributed without permission, and the contents of this site may not be quoted at length. Using properly attributed brief quotations for academic purposes is permissible.

I trust that you will find the contents of herbswanson.com helpful. Peace.

Herb Swanson

News & Notes

Users of the Bibliography of Materials Related to Christianity in Thailand should check the bibliography from time to time as I am periodically adding new entries to it. While the goal of completeness is an impossible one, it does encourage me to keep looking online for new citations and for links to items already in the bibliography.

ORIENTALISM PROJECT: Since 2004, this website has included a growing list of aides for the study of Orientalism, a subject of study that has grown important to me. I am happy to announce that as of April 2017, that material now appears in a new website, namely OrientalismStudies.com. Other than Orientalism: A Bibliography, all of the pages dedicated to the study of Orientalism have been transferred to the new websites. Please, if you have a minute, check out OrientalismStudies.com.

NEW CONTENT: Through the good graces of the Oberlin College Library Special Collections, I have been able to add an important link to the "Bibliography of Thai Church History" entry for Newton Carl Elder's 1938 master's thesis entitled, "A study to determine a workable program for the training of leaders for service in the Church of Christ in Siam." Elder's thesis is one of the two earliest written by a Protestant missionary serving in Siam. Elder himself was an important and controversial figure in the late 1930s, which makes this link a helpful addition to the historical materials available to students of Thai church and missions history.

At the end of May 2015, two items two items were added as PDFs. Both are articles I wrote in 2004. The first is entitled, "Laying the Foundations: Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes towards Thai Buddhism." The Second is an article published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research entitled, "Said's Orientalism and the Study of Christian Missions." A third item was added in August 2015. It is Towards a Clean Church: A Case Study in Nineteenth-Century Thai Church History (Office of History, 1991).

Two new bibliographies have been added as of October 2015. They are Christianity and Orientalism: A Bibliography and Herbert R. Swanson Bibliography, which is a bibliography of all of my published work and some unpublished items.

IN PROCESS: In October 2012, I began translating a draft history of Thai pastoral care, which I originally wrote in Thai (with a lot of help!) into English. It is fairly lengthy, and I expect that it will take some time to finish it. You can follow my progress, if you like (here).

Website Contents

As also stated in the Introduction, above, and indicated in the folder tabs at the head of each page, herbswanson.com is organized into four departments. The contents of each department are as follows:


Bibliography of Materials Related to Christianity in Thailand. An English-language bibliography of materials directly related to the subject including primary as well as secondary sources of information. Under continuing construction.

Bibliography of Materials Related to Orientalism. An extensive bibliography of materials related to the scholarly debate on Orientalism including the work of Edward W. Said.

Bibliography of Materials Related to Christianity and Orientalism. An introductory bibliography of materials related specifically to the place of Christianity in the scholarly debate on Orientalism.

Herbert R. Swanson Bibliography. This bibliography contains all of my published work and some unpublished items. It includes both work related to Thailand and not related to Thailand.

Dictionary. Includes entries on subjects, people, events, and places frequently mentioned in this site. Under continuing construction.

Quotations. A collection of sometimes meaningful, occasionally tongue-in-cheek quotations without annotation. Under continuing construction.

Links. These links will take users to a variety of sites, some related to Christianity in Thailand, others of a more general interest, and some of a personal interest to me.


HeRB: Herb's Research Bulletin. This is an electronic journal containing articles, short items, news & notes, and book reviews on a wide range of subjects, generally but by no means exclusively focused on the history of Christianity in Thailand.

HeRD: Herb's Research Diary. The predecessor to HeRB , HeRD went out as an email roughly 20 times per month from 1995 to 2000.


Doctoral Dissertation. "Prelude to Irony: The Princeton Theology and the Practice of Presbyterian Missions in Northern Siam, 1867-1880."

Master's Thesis. "This Heathen People: The Cognitive Sources of American Missionary Westernizing Activities in Northern Siam, 1867-1889."

Krischak Muang Nua. A history of the northern Thai Church, 1868 to 1920, which I originally published privately in 1984.

"Northern Thai Protestant Attitudes Towards Other Faiths: Analysis of a Questionnaire." A detailed report on the results of a research project on northern Thai Protestant attitudes towards Buddhism conducted in early 2004. [PDF]

Historical Summary of the Christian Movement in Nan Province. A brief historical essay describing and evaluating the development of the churches, of the Fifth District, Church of Christ in Thailand, located in Nan Province, northern Thailand.

A History of the Laurel Presbyterian Church. A history of the church my family and I attended in Laurel, Maryland, in the 1980s. The church published this study privately in book form in 1986. It may be seen as a prelude to my later work in local church history in Thailand.
"Towards a Clean Church: A Case Study in Nineteenth-Century Thai Church History." This small book was published by the Office of History, Church of Christ in Thailand in 1991.

Laying the Foundations: Presbyterian Missionary Attitudes towards Thai Buddhism." A long essay written in 2004 on the sources of Presbyterian missionary ideology, which formed the basis of their attitudes towards Buddhism.

"Said's Orientalism and the Study of Christian Missions." This is an article published in the July 2004 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.