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A Study of T. C. Chao’s Christology in the Social Context of China (1920–1949)

Daniel Hoi Ming Hui

The aim of this book is to show that during the early half of the twentieth century, Chinese society was disillusioned by both internal dissension and external invasion, and the churches experienced many challenges. In response to the traumatic events of 1920–1949, the Chinese theologian Prof. T. C. Chao tried to construct a ‘new religion’ for China, believing that an indigenous Christianity would offer a solution to the national crisis. Chao searched for a new interpretation of Jesus Christ to make him relevant to China’s context and social thought, and tried to develop Christology based on the encounter of Western Christianity, Chinese culture and social change. A personality-focused interpretation of Jesus Christ was developed, and an image of Confucian Jesus was found in his thought. Chao tried to explore his contextual Christology with the purpose of being faithful to Christian faith, and being relevant to Chinese classical culture and the contemporary context in order to enable intellectual Christians to contribute to the national reconstruction of Country.

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Chapter 2 – A biographical Sketch of T. C. Chao and his theological Context


Chapter 2

A biographical Sketch of T. C. Chao and his theological Context

2.1 T. C. Chao

T. C. Chao (1888–1979) was born on 14 February 1888 in Zhejiang, 35 and came to be highly regarded as a theologian, philosopher, religionist, poet, and educationist in China.36←27 | 28→

When Chao was a child, his family suffered economic setbacks from the upheavals of the Taiping Rebellion in the middle of the nineteenth century and in his younger years, he struggled financially. His father wanted to force him into a business career, but Chao had set his mind on studying at a foreign school and was interested in Christianity as a result of conversation with Christian friends. When Chao was young, he had strong nationalist feelings and joined anti-Western and anti-Christian activities shortly after the Boxer Uprising succumbed to Western arms. However, the Christian influence gradually became stronger. John Mott’s visit to Suzhou and his message profoundly impressed Chao with the moral sense of Christianity and he asked to be baptized one year later in 1908.37

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