Proximity and Distance China and the Christian West: An Essay in Intercultural Philosophy

In: Crossroad Discourses between Christianity and Culture

This essay focuses on the relation between China and the West. For the most part it concerns China as viewed through Western lenses, starting with the “natural theology” of Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit Mission, then turning to the “Rites Controversy” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and ending with contemporary issues. In the final section the emphasis shifts from the West to China. This contribution aims to go beyond the description of certain phases in the relation between West and East. First and foremost, it attempts to reconstruct this development in terms of “proximity” and “distance.” It considers the genius of natural theology to be its sense of proximity and the later development a fateful distancing. To regain proximity it suggests that intercultural philosophy heed the experience of Christian communities. To illustrate this point, it draws on Vroom’s discussion of symbols in Indian hymns, John Wu’s translation of the Bible, and a case study on Chinese churches in the Netherlands.


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 33 11 1
Full Text Views 21 14 2
PDF Downloads 10 6 2