Christian Women in Chinese Society
The Anglican Story
ISBN : 978-988-8455-92-8
Sheng Kung Hui: Historical Studies of Anglican Christianity in China
292 pages, 6″ x 9″, 18 b&w illus.
Christian Women in Chinese Society: The Anglican Story expands on the long-standing debates about whether Christianity is a collaborator in or a liberating force against the oppressive patriarchal culture for women in Asia. Women have played an important role in the history of Chinese Christianity, but their contributions have yet to receive due recognition, partly because of the complexities arising out of the historical tension between Western imperialism and Chinese patriarchy. Single women missionaries and missionary spouses in the nineteenth century set the early examples of what women could do to spread the Gospel, yet they might not have intended to instill the same free spirit into their Chinese converts. The education provided to Chinese women by missionaries was expected to turn them into good wives and mothers, but knowledge empowered the students, allowing them to become full participants not only in the Church but also in the wider society. Together, the Western female missionaries and the Chinese women whom they trained explored their newfound freedom and tried out their roles with the help of each other. These developments culminated in the ordination of Florence Li Tim Oi to priesthood in 1944, a singular event that fundamentally changed the history of the Anglican Communion. At the heart of this collection lies the rich experience of those women, both Chinese and Western, who devoted their lives to the propagation of Anglicanism across different regions of mainland China and Hong Kong. Contributors make the most of the sources to reconstruct their voices and present sympathetic accounts of these remarkable women’s achievements.
“This inspiring volume restores women converts and missionaries to their central place in the history of Chinese Christianity. Its critical re-evaluation of the contribution of women to the Anglican church in China reconfigures our understanding of mission and of the construct of Chinese womanhood.” —Chloë Starr, Yale University
“This engaging volume provides a rounded and nuanced picture of the role of women in the history of the Anglican church in China by approaching it from multiple perspectives. A must-read for those interested in Asian Christianity or the role of women in the history of the church.” —Judith Berling, Graduate Theological Union
“This wide-ranging collection offers a re-appraisal of the role of women in Anglican mission in China. Careful and detailed scholarship allows women’s often painful stories to be told afresh. Like all good collections, this book serves to challenge assumptions, stimulate research, and provoke further questions.” —Mark D. Chapman, University of Oxford