The belated formation of the China Bible House (1937): Nationalism and the indigenization of Protestantism in Republican China

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Abstract

This paper investigates the belated formation of the China Bible House, the first national Bible society in China, as a result of the interplay between the politics of foreign Bible societies' and the indigenizing Chinese church in relation to rising nationalism during the Republican era. The challenge of Chinese nationalism to Christianity drove foreign Bible societies and Chinese Protestants to work towards the indigenization of Bible work. However, distrust and conflicts hindered foreign Bible societies' co-operation among themselves and also with Chinese Protestants. While Chinese church leaders saw the founding of a Chinese Bible society as a manifestation of the Chineseness of the Protestant church in China, they agreed with foreign Bible societies on the global identity of Bible work, which justified the latter's continuing presence in China. This understanding, together with the need for foreign financial support and expertise, explains why Sino-foreign co-operation existed in Bible work in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-535
Number of pages21
JournalBulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

User-Defined Keywords

  • American Bible Society
  • British and Foreign Bible Society
  • China Bible House
  • Indigenization
  • National Bible Society of Scotland
  • Nationalism
  • Protestant Christianity
  • Republican China

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