Chapter 10 Finding God’s Chinese Name: A Comparison of the Approaches of Matteo Ricci and James Legge

In: Scottish Missions to China
Author: Alexander Chow

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This essay will explore the so-called “term question” associated with major attempts at providing a Chinese rendering of the name of God. It will focus on two foundational missionary-scholars to China, Matteo Ricci and James Legge, and examine the different philosophical and theological contexts that ultimately resulted in the same conclusion – that is, to identify an equivalence between the Christian God and the ancient Chinese understanding of Shangdi 上帝 (“Lord on high”). This essay will also suggest that, for James Legge, this conviction offered a major rationale for producing English translations of Chinese philosophical and religious works: his monumental Chinese Classics.

Scottish Missions to China

Commemorating the Legacy of James Legge (1815-1897)



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