Review: From Christ to Confucius

This review was originally posted here.

Recent historical scholarship on modern Christian missions to China, as to the non-European world as a whole, has been bedeviled by two weaknesses. First, historians have written about Protestant missions to China, or less frequently about Catholic ones, but very rarely about the two together within a single monograph. Second, Anglo-American scholars have tended for obvious linguistic reasons to confine themselves to the study of British or American missions, to the general neglect of those from continental Europe. Not the least of the virtues of Albert Monshan Wu’s book is that it transcends both of these limitations at once. By selecting as his two case studies in missions to China the Protestant Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) and the Catholic Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Wu is able to illuminate both commonalties and dissimilarities across the confessional divide. Continue reading

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

This article was originally posted here.

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

Recap of ‘James Legge and Scottish Missions to China’

Legge 2015 Group Photo

On 11–13 June 2015, the Centre for the Study of World Christianity, in collaboration with the Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies, organised a conference in honour of the Scottish missionary-scholar to China, James Legge, on the bicentennial of his birth (see conference page). The conference received generous financial support from the Confucius Institute and the New College Senate. Continue reading