|Chen Yuan zhi zongjiao yanjiu 陳垣之宗教研究 / Liu xian.|
Abstract also in English.
Bibliography: p. 119-129.
Local access dig.pdf [Liu Xian-Chen Yuan Diss.pdf]
This dissertation attempts to understand and probe the Chen Yuan’s study of religions from the perspectives of his historical research, his cultural concern and their relationship with his Christian Faith. In order to explore the Characteristic in Chen Yuan’s study of religions, the author also compared his research with some modern approaches of western religious studies, especially compared with Phenomenology of religion.
Through the study on archives of London Missionary Society, and on related words of his friends, the author confirmed the Christian identity of Chen Yuan. The author attempted also to narrate his active roles in the Christian indigenous movement, and demonstrate how his faith was expressed in his religious works.
Because of his personal interest in historical studies, the historical approach became his main approach in Chen Yuan’s study of religions, and because of his Christian faith, he started in working with the history of Chinese Christianity. Later his research field was expanded to different religions. It was proved that history of religions is a basic part of religious studies whether in western or in eastern academia. And Chen Yuan was one of the earliest Chinese historians of religion who attempted systematic research on history of religions in China.
Chen Yuan’s research on religion had been greatly influenced by his Cultural concern. There were three distinctive ways of expressions in his cultural concern: In his Christian studies, it was reflected on his attempt of indigenization of Christianity in China: Christianity should be seen as a part in the history of Chinese Culture; In his studies of ancient religions, he argued for the assimilation of Chinese Culture to different foreign religions; and in his Buddhist and Daoism studies, he analyzed that religions could save and develop culture, and emphasized the life-force of Chinese Culture. All the three cultural concerns and their different expressions on the relationship between religions and Chinese Culture were responses to the social context. We should take into fully consideration on cultural concern when analyzing his study of religions.
Christian faith is also a key factor in analyzing Chen Yuan’s study of religion. In Christian studies, his Christian faith has allowed him to take up both an insider’s and an outsider’s view and even to be critical in attempting research on Christianity; Again, in the study of ancient religions, his Christian faith has allowed him to adopt more sympathy towards ancient religions, and he could treat other religions “equally” and “sympathetically”; And in Buddhist and Daoism studies, his personal religious experience had again given him a open mind and to respect other religions. In a word, the Christian faith adopted by Chen Yuan did not impede, on the contrary, it exerted more positive influences to his study of religions.
Comparing with the various dimensions of the phenomenology of religion, we can get an even better view regarding his approach on study of religions: His approach was mainly descriptive, historical and comparative; He treated religions equally, objectively, sympathetically, no matter it was his own faith, or other people’s faiths; Chen Yuan did not have the intention of developing an autonomous discipline of the study of religion, but he managed to establish the autonomy of “historical study of religion” as a branch of the discipline of history in China. Chen Yuan has also somehow started the study of “history of religions” as a branch of the discipline of religious studies in China, which he might not have the clear intention to do. -- [Abstract]