Author:LI Xuetao, Professor, School of History, Beijing Foreign Studies University
When the short-lived Hundred Days’ Reform ended, KANG Youwei (1858-1927), one of the six chief advocates of Reform, fled China. In his exile he visited 31 countries, of which Germany attracted him the most. His account of Martin Luther (1483-1546) deserves more serious academic research. Kang studied Luther in the historical context of Germany and Europe and offered a detailed account of Luther’s life story and Luther’s historical impact on the world. However, as a Reformist politician, Kang’s examination and critical assessment of Luther has a strong bias because he stressed the political and historical contribution of Luther and deliberately ignored Luther’s important theological ideas such as “justification by faith.” The paper will pay attention to what Kang chose to write and what he deliberately ignores, and argue that as a Chinese reformist of his era, Kang represents the mindset of a group of Chinese intellectuals who were seeking solutions to serve their motherland.
Martin Luther, KANG Youwei, Reformation, German history, modern Chinese history
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