"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Christianity in China

As I noted before, in discussing Religions of the Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization, Christianity has a long history in China, but more recent Christians (e.g., the Jesuits) were, as Foltz nicely put it, rather alarmed when they showed up in the sixteenth century only to discover that "Nestorians" had already spread the gospel there in the previous millennium.

In August of this year, Wiley-Blackwell will be bringing out a major new study by Daniel H. Bays: A New History of Christianity in China (Blackwell Guides to Global Christianity) (2011), 248pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:

A New History of Christianity in China, written by one of the world's the leading writers on Christianity in China, looks at Christianity's long history in China, its extraordinarily rapid rise in the last half of the twentieth century, and charts its future direction. 
  • Provides the first comprehensive  history of Christianity in China, an important, understudied area in both Asian studies and religious history
  • Traces the transformation of Christianity from an imported, Western religion to a thoroughly Chinese religion
  • Contextualizes the growth of Christianity in China within national and local politics
  • Offers a portrait of the complex religious scene in China today
  • Contrasts China with other non-Western societies where Christianity is surging
While the whole book looks to be fascinating, two sections will have particular appeal to Eastern Christians: the first chapter ("1. The Nestorian Age and the Mongol Mission, 635-1368") and the appendix ("The Russian Orthodox Church and Ecclesiastical Mission to China").

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