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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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I am so glad to write a brief preface to this great work by my long-time friend, Dr. Daniel Hui, the Chaplain of Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I have had great pleasure in reading Daniel’s doctoral thesis a few years ago, which was entitled: “A Study of T.C. Chao’s Christology in the Social Context of China 1920–1949”, and now I am so pleased to know of its publication by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers in Switzerland. Daniel’s work is both informative and illuminating, and indeed a timely and significant attempt to study the contextual Christology of T.C. Chao.

T. C. Chao was the most well-known Chinese theologian throughout the 20th century.1 He was world-known, not only as a Professor and Dean of the School of Religion in Yenching University, China, but also as an active participant at the International Missionary Council (IMC) Conferences held at Jerusalem in 1928 and at Tambaram, Madras in India in 1938. In 1948, Chao was elected as one of the six Presidents of the World Council of Churches (WCC).2 Daniel’s thesis is to be commended for his exploration of Chao’s Christology and the development of Chao’s indigenous theology in the Chinese cultural and social contexts from 1920s to 1940s. Unlike the works of Ng Lee-ming, Winfried Gluer, and Wing Hung Lam.3 Daniel attempts to distinguish the developments of Chao’s contextual Christology in four different stages, namely: (1) A humanity-focused interpretation of Jesus Christ; (2)...

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