Chinese Christian Studies Forum in 2023: Featuring Prospects of Sinicized Christianity

The Chinese Christian Studies Forum in 2023 and an academic seminar on Christianity Research and Contemporary Themes were conducted in Shanghai, from November 18 to 19, 2023.
The Chinese Christian Studies Forum in 2023 and an academic seminar on Christianity Research and Contemporary Themes were conducted in Shanghai, from November 18 to 19, 2023. (photo:
By John ZhangNovember 23rd, 2023

The Chinese Christian Studies Forum in 2023 was convened in Shanghai, along with an academic seminar on "Christianity Research and Contemporary Themes: Exploration, Breakthroughs, and New Chapters."

According to Chinese Christian Studies, from November 18 to 19, the Center for the Study of Christianity at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the School of Philosophy at Fudan University jointly organized this forum, which drew a total of 50 experts and academics from research institutions and universities.

During the opening ceremony, Zhuo Xinping, honorary president of the Chinese Association of Religious Studies and a member of the CASS, highlighted that current Christian research faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities. He proposed three major concerns for Christian research. He said research should focus on the international situation and play a significant role in cultural communication and academic exchanges. Then, he highlighted the importance of emphasizing the academic rigor and seriousness of research and conducting scholarly inquiries from a scientific standpoint and approach. Thirdly, he stated that Christian research should align with China's national conditions and correspond to the country's social development.

The keynote speeches at this forum included a presentation by Professor Zhang Zhigang, professor of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Peking University (PU) and president of the Institute of Religious Culture at PU, titled "Localization and Sinicization from the Perspective of World Christian History." He examined key examples from three typical stages in the history of Christian thought, arguing that "localization" has intricate and multifaceted conceptual meanings, urging researchers from different eras, cultures, and nations to delve deep and innovate.

Following this, Professor Zhang Qingxiong from Fudan University delivered a lecture titled "Love, Order, and Progress as the Goal of Social Governance: On the Sociology of Auguste Comte." He delved into the contradictions and coordination in the thoughts of Comte, founder of positivism, and the relationship between morality, order, and progress, as well as the historical significance of empirically verifying "moral science."

Professor Liu Ping from the School of Philosophy at Fudan University presented a report on "An Overlooked Translation of the Southern Baptist Convention: An Exegesis of the Poteat Version of Bible Translation", examining the long-neglected translation of the Bible by the Southern Baptist Convention missionary Gordon McNeill Poteat. Finally, Tang Xiaofeng, vice director at the Institute of World Religions of CASS and director of the Christianity Research Center of CASS, shared a speech titled "Setting the Standard in All Directions: A Study of Religious Practices of Arcaoun in the Yuan Dynasty," reconstructing the faith and characteristics of the Christian community in the Yuan Dynasty from distinct perspectives such as church structure, theological thoughts, and ritual traditions.

Subsequently, experts at the forum engaged in discussions within two sub-venues, exploring the perspectives, prospects, and potential of the sinicization of Christianity, as well as the development, expansion, and innovation of Christianity research under the new era.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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