A number of years ago, I presented a paper at a learned society for the study of religion about Sino-Christian theology. The first question I was asked was, ‘So, are Chinese now able to produce their own theology?’ I was taken aback by this question. On the one hand, it seemed as though the questioner had not paid attention to my 20min paper that focused on the ingenuities of a scholarly movement in the 1990s in offering theological approaches to China’s sociopolitical concerns. (I didn’t think I was that boring!) On the other hand, it was as though this person was not aware that, since the early 20th century, there has been a very fruitful development of Christian theology in China. One of the greats, of course, was T. C. Chao (or Zhao Zichen 趙紫宸, 1888–1979), whose five-volume collected works were published a few years earlier, and who was elected as one of the six presidents of the World Council of Churches in 1948. Yet, why should I expect him to know about a figure like Chao—such an esoteric figure. At the same time, there are many theologians in Europe and North America who are likewise esoteric, but no less important.
In an attempt to redress some of this—and to highlight the point that theology has been produced in many parts of the world, I have decided to offer a selected bibliography of works on systematic theology by individuals informed by the majority world. Alongside general treatments, I have broken the list along some classical theological loci. This can be problematic by itself, given that this approach to dogmatics is somewhat ‘Western’. (Andrew Louth has explained that even the great dogmatic work An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, by John of Damascus, was scholasticised when it was translated into Latin.) But I have done so because it gives us a starting point for discussing theology across contexts.
I’m pleased to announce that there is a new book series being started through Notre Dame Press entitled the Chinese Christianities Series. I will be serving as its series editor, with Stephen Little of the press as acquisitions editor.
This past weekend was the release of the much awaited movie, Crazy Rich Asians. It has been applauded by many as being the first movie since Joy Luck Club to have a cast composed entirely of individuals of Asian descent. This has not been without some controversy—some have accused its main male actor Henry Golding as not being Asian enough because his father is English, and the cast does not offer proper representation of multicultural Singapore. But the overall sense of the movie, it seems, has been one that can only be described as “redemptive” (see, for example, this tweetstorm). As my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with friends and strangers declaring how healing the movie has been for them, I can’t watch the film since I live in the UK where the film comes out later—September 14. Continue reading “An Asian American in the Diaspora in an age of Crazy Rich Asians”→
Many have noted the recent “Orthodox Renaissance” in Western studies of Christianity. Helpfully, an increasing number of Orthodox writers have produced theological primers for Western Christians. Furthermore, Western luminaries—from Aquinas to Calvin, from Barth to Torrance—have been “rediscovered” for being closet Orthodox Christians (okay, that may be a stretch) who offer their own versions of theosis. My own work has followed this latter trajectory in many senses, although it has focused on another “Eastern” Christianity—that is, the East Asian Christianity of mainland China. Continue reading “Orthodoxy and Chinese Public Theology”→
This summer, I am very much looking forward to being in Toronto this summer to teach a 1-week intensive version of a class I teach in Edinburgh: Theologies in Global Contexts. If you know of somebody studying at Tyndale Seminary or in the Toronto area who may be interested, let them know. Here’s the promo video for the class: