Dissertation, Huang, Xiaojuan: “Christian communities and alternative devotions in China, 1780–1860”

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Title: Christian communities and alternative devotions in China,
1780--1860

Pub No: 3236180
Author: Huang, Xiaojuan
Degree: Ph.D.
School: Princeton University (0181)
Date: 2006
Pages: 276
Adviser: Naquin, Susan
Source: DAI Vol 67-09, Section: A, page: 3544
Subject: Religion, History of (0320);History, Asia, Australia and
Oceania (0332)

Abstract: This dissertation surveys the history of Christianity in
China during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with
particular attention given to Chinese clergy and lay Christians. A
variety of issues are discussed: the social organization of Christian
communities, the networks among communities in different localities,
internal tensions and conflicts, and Christian devotions in relation
to the printing and circulation of Chinese Christian texts known as
"scriptures". By examining a group of unusual sources that have been
mostly neglected by past scholars---the correspondence of Chinese
Christians with ecclesiastical authorities in Rome, and other more
familiar but little studied sources such as memorials and edicts
regarding the investigation and interrogation of Chinese Christians
and Western missionaries during the period of prohibition
(1724-1844)---I intend to show how the imperial ban on Christianity in
1724, especially the expulsion of missionaries and the closing of all
churches outside the imperial capital, may have affected Christian
beliefs and practices at the local level. The historical survey of the
period from 1724 to 1780 and the two case studies in Beijing and
Jiangnan from 1780 to 1860 will demonstrate that the repression of
Christianity and periodic anti-Christian campaigns did, to some
extent, help to shape the Christian community in China, making them
into a whole body of people connected by religious identity, as
distinguished from non-Christians. Yet this strong sense of community
may also have been due to spiritual and social connections with
Christian communities beyond China. A second contribution of this
dissertation study has to do with its exploring the nuances of
Christian and other forms of popular devotions. Recent scholarship
that sees Christianity primarily as a Chinese popular religion may
have underestimated its distinctive "foreignness" and in part
misunderstood what conversion meant in the context of Chinese religion
and society. To some extent, Chinese converts were attracted to
Christianity because it provided another choice for them beyond the
existing religious traditions. A drastically different calendar
characterized by distinctive feast days, fasting and abstinence,
veneration of saints, along with other peculiar Christian beliefs and
practices, have become what I define as "alternative devotions".

more:
http://pqdd.sinica.edu.tw/twdaoeng/servlet/resultpage?select=.all%28Christian%2BCommunities%26Alternative%2BDevotions%2Bin%2BChina%29&topage=&completemode.x=40&completemode.y=11

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