This article examines some of the published works of the missionary Timothy Richard (1845 - 1919), and analyzes how his mission experience played a foundational role in his study of religion. It argues that his work and his approach to Chinese religions challenged established views of the relationships between the world religions held by his contemporaries. The latter section focuses on his studies of Mahāyāna Buddhism and how they sought a familiar religious revelation clad in foreign clothing. Finally it suggests that his experience might complicate our picture of orientalist scholarship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Charles Hallisey“Roads Taken and Not Taken in the Study of Theravāda Buddhism” in Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialismedited by Donald S. Lopez Jr. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press1995) 33.
Ruth RogaskiHygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China (Berkeley: University of California Press2004) 10-13. See also Arif Dirlik “Chinese History and the Question of Orientalism” in Genealogies of Orientalism: History Theory Politics edited by Edmund Burke III and David Prochaska (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press 2008): 384-413.
Timothy RichardForty-five Years in China: Reminiscences (London: T. Fisher Unwin1916). William E. Soothill Timothy Richard of China: Seer Statesman Missionary & The Most Disinterested Adviser the Chinese Ever Had (London: Seeley Service & Co. Limited 1924). E. W. Price Evans Timothy Richard A Narrative of Christian Enterprise and Statesmanship in China (London: The Carey Press 1945.)
E. Wyatt-Edgell“On the Statistics of Places of Worship in England and Wales, Founded on a Table Compiled by the Rev. T. Blisse,”Journal of the Statistical Society of LondonVol. 14 No. 4 (Dec. 1851) 343. Paul Richard Bohr Famine in China and the Missionary: Timothy Richard as Relief Administrator and Advocate of National Reform 1876-1884 (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press 1972) 1. Evans 15.
Kenneth D. BrownA Social History of the Nonconformist Ministry in England and Wales 1800-1930 (Oxford: Clarendon Press1988) 77-79. Richard Forty-five Years 25-26. When Richard visited the school fifteen years later he found that these changes had been reversed. Soothill 26.
Brian StanleyThe History of the Baptist Missionary Society 1792-1992 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark1992) 180. On Laughton’s death see The Chinese Recorder August 1870 pp. 83-84. On Brown see Evans 22; Stanley 181.
RichardForty-five Years48-49. Evans 28-29 quotes from Richard but adds additional detail. Nestorian Christianity (Jingjiao 景教) had reached China as early as 635 CE and survived in small local religious communities until about the fourteenth century when these were dispersed by the new Ming government. Christian scholars and missionaries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made much of this historical precedent.
Timothy RichardCalendar of the Gods in China (Shanghai: Methodist Publishing House1906) i-iv. The Chinese text that Richard consulted was likely the one by Qin Jiamo 秦嘉謨 (fl. 1812 - 1818) and published in Jiangdu Jiangsu province in 1812. Two major sources were Ernest J Eitel Handbook of Chinese Buddhism and Justis Doolittle Vocabulary and hand-book of the Chinese language. Romanized in the Mandarin dialect. (Fuzhou: Rozario Marcal and company; 1872.)
RichardGuide to Buddhahoodxxi-xxiii. See Carole Morgan “The Chinese Game of Shengguan tu” Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 124 No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 2004): 517-532. Also see the chapter on “Playing with Karma: Ouyi’s ‘Selecting a Buddha’ Board Game” in Beverly N. Foulks “Living Karma: The Religious Practices of Ouyi Zhixu (1599-1655)” Ph.D. Dissertation Harvard University 2009.
Timothy RichardNew Testament of Higher Buddhism (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark1910) 2-3 129. The “Essence of the Lotus Scripture” is based on extracts from the Kumārajīva translation; on the “Great Physician” see T 1748.37.150; The Heart Sūtra appears as T 8.251. Richard’s title was perhaps based on The Creed of Half Japan by Rev. Arthur Lloyd (1852-1911) of the China Missionary Society (London: Smith Elder & Co. 1911). See Soothill 292. Takakusu Junjirō was one of the editors of the Taishō Canon.
T. W. Rhys DavidsBuddhism: being a sketch of the life and teachings of Gautama the Buddha (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young & Co.1894) 4-5. Richard also offers some estimates of religious populations in his Calendar of the Gods in China ix.
RichardHigher Buddhism46 47. Suzuki’s translation is As´vaghosha As´vaghosha's Discourse on the awakening of faith in the Mahāyāna… (Chicago: Open Court Pub. Co. 1900.) Richard’s translation was first published in Shanghai by the Christian Literature Society in 1907. Wanfa guixin lu was written by Zuyuan Chaoming 祖源超溟 (fl. 1676) and a one-fascicle edition was printed in 1889.
George Abraham Grierson“Modern Hinduism and its Debt to the Nestorians,”Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society1907: 311-335. Cited in John Stratton Hawley “The Bhakti Movement - From Where? Since When?” India International Centre Occasional Publication 10. My thanks to Professor Hawley for bringing this source to my attention.