Missionary Approaches and Linguistics in Mainland China and Taiwan

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Missionary Approaches and Linguistics in Mainland China and Taiwan.

Edited by Ku Wei-ying. Louvain: Louvain Univ. Press, 2001. Pp. 275. Paperback EUR20.

The contents of this scholarly work come from the papers and discussions presented at the Sixth International Conference on Church Activities in Qing and Early Republican China, convened in 1998 and sponsored by the K.U. Leuven Verbiest Foundation in Louvain. The eleven chapters-three on Taiwan and eight on mainland China-embrace a variety of issues relating to the spread of Christianity in the seventeenth century in these two countries: language, theology, methodology, economics, matrimony, indigenous leadership, and newly collected research materials. The editor and authors, largely from a Roman Catholic background, focus on the story of Catholic Christianity, although one chapter deals exclusively with early Dutch Reformed Christianity in Taiwan.

The editor observes (p. 6) that, in contrast with the past, several of these authors utilize missiological and theological perspectives to deal with their subjects. A good example is Gianni Criveller, who analyzes how the Jesuit missionary Giulio Aleni used the concepts of mystery and faith in presenting the plan of salvation to his Chinese listeners. Likewise, Jean-Paul Wiest compares the missionary style of the first Jesuits in China with the later French Jesuits in Zhendan. …