Reading the Bible in China (7th - 20th Century)
In a culture that embodies long literary traditions and possesses rich classical texts that have constituted a pluralistic religious world, how is the Christian Bible read and received in China? This course aims to examine the biblical writings and commentary works made by Chinese Christians and Western missionaries in the history of Christianity in China. By investigating their readings of Christian Scriptures, this course will portray a neglected history of Chinese biblical interpretation and highlight the significant role that traditional Chinese reading practices have played in the exegetical process.
Considering several phases of Christianity in China, this course is divided into four sections. The first section will make a hermeneutical analysis on the Chinese Nestorian documents produced in the Tang Dynasty from the 7th to 9th century. The second section focuses on the Jesuits’ commentarial works and introduction of Christian Scriptures from late 16th-century to early 17th-century China. The third section studies the commentaries and annotated scriptures produced by Protestant missionaries and Chinese converts in late Qing from the arrival of Robert Morrison in Guangzhou in 1807 to the end of this last imperial dynasty of China in 1912. The fourth section concentrates on modern Chinese Christians’ reading of the Bible during the period of the Republic of China from 1912 to 1949.
This course will be taught in Mandarin. For students who know English, some optional English-language resources will be recommended as well.
Live Online and Recorded: This course is being offered online with live class sessions in Winter 2021. Recordings of each class will be made available on the course Moodle site for 48 hours after the class. If you are not able to attend the live sessions due to living in a distant time zone, you may appeal to the Senior Academic Administrator for permission to take the course by using the recordings.