|Christian communities and alternative devotions in China, 1780-1860 / Xiaojuan Huang.|
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Princeton University, 2006.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 249-265)
Local access [Huang-Christian Communities 1780-1860.pdf]
"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".--OCLC record.
See also sections on the Russian Orthodox Church in China and its contacts with the Jesuits, the Beitang, Nantang, and church properties during the early 19th century.