Author: ZHAO Qingwen, Associate Professor, School of Philosophy and Public Management, Henan University
As one of China’s most important indigenous modern theolo- gians, XIE Fuya regarded shaping Christian character as one of the basic approaches toward developing a contextual Chinese theology. In the 1920s, he was more philosophically oriented in his thinking and promoted the notion of a “Noble Christian (Junzi de Jidu tu),” in which Christianity plays a more important role in forming an ideal character. In his later stage, he put forward the concept of “Christian Nobleman (Jidu tu Junzi)” by creatively synthesizing these two traditions. Based on a close reading of XIE’s writings on Christian character in different periods, the author intends to present and analyze the evolution of XIE Fuya’s thought on this topic, indicating how the Chinese classical training he received early on in life has influenced his Christian thinking and how Christian ideas have transformed his understanding of Chinese culture. XIE was well-educated in Chinese traditional teachings, embraced Christian doctrine in his youth, and strongly promoted the balance between Chinese and Christian cultures later in life by stressing the principle of “zhi liang yong zhong” (listen to both sides and choose the middle course). The trajectory of the changes in his thinking on Christian character serves as a paradigm of Chinese intellectuals of his age trying to negotiate the complex interactions of Chinese and Christian traditions.
XIE Fuya, ideal character, Junzi, Christanity, Chinese tradition
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