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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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The aim of this book is to show that during the early half of the twentieth century and as Chinese society was torn apart by both internal dissensions and external invasion, Christian churches in China experienced significant challenges to their theological self-understanding. In response to the traumatic events of 1920–1949, 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. In essence, Chao searched for a new interpretation of Jesus Christ that would make Him relevant to China’s context and social thought. It was a contextualized Christology that was based on the encounter of Western Christianity with Chinese culture and contemporary social changes. As a result, a personality-focused interpretation of Jesus Christ was developed to re-formulate Jesus according to the classical Confucian ideals for the cultured man. In exploring his contextual Christology, Chao not only tried to be faithful to the Christian faith but also relevant to classical Chinese culture and the contemporary context so that Christian intellectuals could also contribute to the national reconstruction of the country.

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