Jordan Paper, Theology of the Chinese Jews, 1000-1850(2012)

ChineseCS 2014年12月6日18:12:28
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Jordan Paper, Theology of the Chinese Jews, 1000-1850(2012)

Author:   Paper, Jordan  
Publisher:	Wilfrid Laurier University Press                  
ISBN: 978 1 55458 372 0
Format: Hardback
Pages: 175
List price(s): 70.99 GBP  85.00 USD  
Publication date: 1 April 2012

Short description

Traces the history of Jews in China and explores how their theology's focus on love, rather than on the fear of a non-anthropomorphic God, may speak to contemporary liberal Jews.

Full description

A thousand years ago, the Chinese government invited merchants from one of the Chinese port synagogue communities to the capital, Kaifeng. The merchants settled there and the community prospered. Over many centuries, with government support, the Kaifeng Jews built and rebuilt their synagogue, which became perhaps the world's largest. Some studied for the rabbinate; others prepared for civil service examinations, leading to a disproportionate number of Jewish government officials. While continuing orthodox Jewish practices, they added rituals honouring their parents and the patriarchs in accord with Chinese customs. Thus they remained fully Jewish while harmonising with the family-centred religion of China. Based on the theology they brought from Baghdad, the Chinese Jews developed a theology that bypassed the horrors of Christian persecution and expressed it in literary Chinese using Daoist terminology. This book traces the history of Jews in China and explores how their theology's focus on love, rather than on the fear of a non-anthropomorphic God, may speak to contemporary liberal Jews. By the mid-eighteenth century, cut off from Judaism elsewhere for two centuries, their synagogue destroyed by a major flood, their community impoverished and dispersed by a civil war that devastated Kaifeng their Judaism became defunct. It is co-published with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.

About Jordan Paper
Jordan Paper is a professor emeritus at York University (East Asian and Religious Studies) and a fellow at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. He studied Buddhist Chinese at and received his doctorate in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin (Madison). His many books on religion and Chinese philosophy include The Fu-Tzu: A Post-Han Confucian Text, The Spirits Are Drunk: Comparative Approaches to Chinese Religion, The Chinese Way in Religion (2nd edition), and The Mystic Experience: A Descriptive and Comparative Approach.

Reviews
“This fascinating book offers a history of Chinese Jewry based on existing sources and articles, and places this in the context of a broad overview of Chinese religious life. It is a wonderful, somewhat popular, but also very sophisticated achievement. Paper helps one see the complex ways that religions emerge and attain stability, even within a mighty tradition like Judaism.”

— Michael Fishbane, Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Chicago
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