Reshaping the Boundaries

The Christian Intersection of China and the West in the Modern Era


Edited by Song Gang

ISBN : 978-988-8390-55-7

Religion, Philosophy

November 2016

136 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$420.00

Reshaping the Boundaries: The Christian Intersection of China and the West in the Modern Era brings new material and new insight to deepen our understanding of the multilayered, two-way flow of words, beliefs, and experiences between the West and China from 1600 to 1900. The seven essays taken together illustrate the complex reality of boundary-crossing interactions between these cultures and document how hybrid ideas, images, and identities emerged in both China and the West. By focusing on “in-betweenness,” these essays challenge the existing Eurocentric assumption of a simple one-way cultural flow, with Western missionaries transmitting and the Chinese receiving.

Led by Song Gang, the contributors to this volume cover many specific aspects of this cultural encounter that have received little or no scholarly attention: official decrees, memoirs, personal correspondences, news, rumors, musical instruments, and miracle stories. Grounded in multiple intellectual disciplines, including religious studies, history, arts, music, and Sinology, Reshaping the Boundaries explores how each of the major Christian traditions—Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox—bridged the West and the East in unique ways.

Song Gang is associate professor of Chinese history in the University of Hong Kong. He has published extensively on Christianity in late imperial China.

“These fascinating essays offer new insightful perspectives on the artistic and cultural relations between China and Europe. Each contribution convincingly illustrates the distinctive feature of ‘in-betweenness’ in the specific two-way ‘boundary-crossing’ exchange of knowledge. This remarkable, richly documented collection fundamentally challenges traditional interpretations of the Sino-Western cultural encounter.” —R. G. Tiedemann, School of History and Culture, Shandong University, China

Reshaping the Boundaries brings together new and helpful research on the interactions in religion, printing, art, literature, and music. It interweaves both Chinese and Western perspectives to capture the productive nature of these cross-cultural exchanges during the late imperial era. This exciting volume successfully illustrates how the process of boundary-crossing included mutual influence and, consequently, reciprocal reshaping.” —Christopher A. Daily, SOAS, University of London; author of Robert Morrison and the Protestant Plan for China