From Christ to Confucius
German Missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Globalization of Christianity, 1860-1950
Yale University Press 2016
New Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network July 19, 2017 Chris Fojtik
Where Europeans have gone, so, too, have their ideas about religion. We know that this was no one-way street, that Christian missionaries have both changed and been changed by their interaction with nonwhite, non-Christian peoples, and that their experiences have had a profound impact on the development of religious and philosophical thinking in Europe itself, while Christianity has left an indelible imprint on the rest of the world.
Albert Wu has written a book of great interest to scholars of Christian missionary work as well as those who study modern Germany and China. From Christ to Confucius: German Missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Globalization of Christianity, 1860-1950 (Yale University Press, 2016) explores the way that relationships between German missionaries and Chinese Christians spawned new missionary impulses among the Chinese, affected the course of Chinese modernization, and prompted German reconsideration of the very character of Christianity itself. Most fascinatingly to me was the way that Wu reveals that though German missionary efforts grew in part out of nationalist sentiment, the missionaries themselves were surprisingly receptive to, accommodating of, even interested in Chinese cultural differences, and understood that their own embrace of Confucian influence facilitated the spread of Christian belief.