AAR 2017: Chinese Christianities Seminar

AAR

At the 2017 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston later this month, we will have our third session of the Chinese Christianities Seminar. The theme for our program unit this year is ‘Chinese Christianities and Religious Boundaries’. It will be held on Saturday, November 18 from 1:00pm-3:30pm in Sheraton Boston-Beacon E (Third Level). Christie Chui-Shan Chow (City Seminary of New York) will be chairing the session and the papers that will be presented will be as follows: Continue reading “AAR 2017: Chinese Christianities Seminar”

Carl Kilcourse’s ‘Taiping Theology’ – A Book Review

Taiping Theology: The Localization of Christianity in China, 1843–64. By Carl S. Kilcourse. New York, NY, USA, Palgrave Macmillan 2016. Pp. xvii+281. $100.00.

9781137543141

As Christians around the world have been commemorating the quincentenary anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, many have reiterated one of its most famous dicta: sola Scriptura. These two Latin words have been used to summarise the spirit of Protestantism, especially as found through the reading of the vernacular bible. However, one often forgets that many of the translations were accompanied by copious notes to clarify words and expressions, and to comment on ‘correct’ Christian doctrine.1 While the Protestants behind each of these bibles held to the principle of sola Scriptura, they also held to a very strong sense that the bible read ‘incorrectly’ could be wielded — not as a sword of truth, but as a sword of blasphemy. In many ways, the book under review offers a profound case study of the power of the bible and the attempts of a religious leader in asserting his ‘correct’ reading of that vernacular text. Carl S. Kilcourse has provided a magnificent study of ‘Taiping Theology’ and the thinking of the main leader behind it, Hong Xiuquan. Continue reading “Carl Kilcourse’s ‘Taiping Theology’ – A Book Review”

The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples

This year, there are many festivities celebrating the legacy of the Protestant Reformation – 500 years after Martin Luther penned his Ninety-five Theses in 1517. However, one of the most important legacies which has been overlooked is the Counter-Reformation – the Catholic revival which responded to the protests of Luther and other reformers. When we consider a country like China – or most other places outside of Europe at the time – it is in fact the Counter-Reformation that had an arguably more important impact (at least initially). Three examples, I believe, are worth highlighting, as they show just how much Protestantism in China is indebted to Catholicism in China and, by extension, the Counter-Reformation. Continue reading “The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples”

The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?

Liverpool Chinese Seamen

For the last Yale-Edinburgh conference on the theme ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage’, I gave a paper on a possible new area of research for myself: British Chinese Christianity. In preparation for the presentation, I was struck by much of the reading I encountered which asserted that widespread hostility against Chinese in Britain has rarely been recorded. One commentator even claimed:1

The reason for this apparent lack of interest in Chinese immigrants would seem to be largely that they have not appeared to pose any sort of minority problem. Their numbers are relatively insignificant, and they do not constitute an economic threat to the workers of the host society, since they seldom compete directly with British labour for jobs. Nor has attention been drawn to them, as it has to ‘dark-skinned’ immigrants, by any serious racial disturbances.

In fact, when compared to the United States, Canada, and Australia, the government in the United Kingdom has never created any form of ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ Continue reading “The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?”

Taking Back Education: A Plea for Diversity

Pepper ZhangAs I have been working to finish a book manuscript, I have had a hiatus from blogging. But I do need to blog about something, if only briefly.

This morning I woke up and picked up my daily news (a.k.a. social media) and encountered FOUR items which reminded me of where the world is, where the world was, and where the world needs to go. They were:

Those are just the four items I encountered between getting my breakfast and traveling on the bus into work this morning. But what it really highlights, if I may borrow from Van Norden, is a need to take back education and plea for greater diversity. Here a few ramblings off the top of my head… Continue reading “Taking Back Education: A Plea for Diversity”