Comparative world and global history topics can add both vibrancy and genuine intellectual depth to secondary school and undergraduate courses. The story of how priests who embraced the concept of contemplatives in action encountered highly educated Chinese Confucian literati is an excellent example of cross-cultural contact. Even beginning to learn about these interactions should lead readers to some realization of the potential creativity, as well as intended and unintended consequences, that come into play when adherents of two different but venerable belief systems make mutual contact.
The Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests known as the Jesuits, launched foreign missions shortly after its founding in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish nobleman-turned-priest. The Jesuit Asian missions were some of the most thoughtful and creative Christian ventures, seeking to adapt Christian faith to local cultures. Jesuits embedded themselves in Asian societies in order to understand them more fully and thus equip themselves with a conceptual and terminological vocabulary necessary for rendering the gospel to native audiences. What followed was a complex, and often-controversial, methodology of missions focused on the engagement between Christianity and culture.
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHIC SUGGESTIONS
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The Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT Database). https://tinyurl.com/t979nls.
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