Opening China: Karl F.A. Gützlaff and Sino-Western Relations, 1827-1852

Opening China: Karl F.A. Gützlaff and Sino-Western Relations, 1827-1852

Opening China: Karl F.A. Gützlaff and Sino-Western Relations, 1827-1852

Opening China: Karl F.A. Gützlaff and Sino-Western Relations, 1827-1852

Synopsis

Western evangelists have long been fascinated by China, a vast mission field with a unique language and culture. One of the most intrigued was also one of the most intriguing: Karl F. A. Gützlaff (1803-1851). In this erudite study Jessie Gregory Lutz chronicles Gützlaff's life from his youth in Germany to his conversion and subsequent turn to missions to his turbulent time in Asia. Lutz also includes a substantial bibliography consisting of (1) archival sources, (2) selected books, pamphlets, tracts, and translations by Gützlaff, and (3) books, periodicals, and articles. This is truly an important reference for any student of the history of China or missions.

Excerpt

What Jessie Lutz has accomplished in her work can perhaps be more fully appreciated by contextualizing the career of Karl Gützlaff, both in geographical and historical and in cultural and sociological terms. Without a wider perspective of this kind, his arrival in Macau and Guangzhou (Canton), following in the wake of missionary arrivals that had began half a millennium earlier, cannot be adequately understood. Indeed, without reference to processes stretching back to the earliest beginnings of Christianity, insights become blurred.

Throughout this longer history, two features characterized such processes. One is that Christianity has always been migratory, but its presence almost everywhere has been transitory, so that from its beginnings Christianity has never found any single or permanent abiding place. the other is that Christianity has never been fully captured, contained, or encapsulated within any single culture or language. Taken together with several parallel yet intermingled processes, these features provide a matrix for understanding Christian movements in modern China.

James Kurth labelled the imperative of the gospel “one of the most profound revolutions the world has ever known.” the spreading of this gospel

1. “Religion and Globalization,” Foreign Policy Research Institute wire (28 May 1999), 7:7 [The 1998 Templeton Lecture on Religion and World Affairs]. Email address: fpri@aol.com [Orbis 42:2 (Spring 1998)].

I am deeply grateful to my colleague, co-editor, and friend, Brian Stanley, for critical comments and useful suggestions, in helping me to write this Foreword. Over the years, I have continued to benefit from his sharp eye and shrewd insights.

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