As the first school established by Protestant missionaries to China, the Anglo–Chinese College played an important role in the history of cultural communication between China and the West. The Anglo–Chinese College offered a broad tuition that included Christianity alongside Western and Chinese humanities and sciences, which promoted the development of modern education in China. Its printing press was the first to publish Chinese books by using metal moveable type, which modernized the publishing technology of China and opened the next phase of China’s print culture. Its translations between English and Chinese opened up China to Christian culture and Anglophone societies to Chinese classical culture. The Anglo–Chinese College built a bridge between the East and the West, not only in the time of Morrison and Legge, but in its legacy that continues to have an impact even until today.
Single female missionaries arrived in Manchuria in 1882 and constituted more than half of the mission during the whole period of the mission activities there. This chapter shows the complexity of building the female missionaries’ view on China and their contribution to the creation of the Western image of China. First, the chapter shows how missionary candidates in Scotland were first given a vision of the Orient in the Women’s Missionary College through courses on non-Western cultures, initiated by Annie Hunter Small. Second, it discusses the further development of knowledge about China during a language course in Beijing. Such a language course not only facilitated the communication between missionaries and potential Christians, but it also opened different future career possibilities. Third, the chapter discusses how female missionaries presented an image of China to Scottish Presbyterians through missionary journals. Fourth, it presents the complexity of the relations female missionaries established on the mission field. Namely it discusses the friendship of a Scottish missionary Helen B. K. Maclean and a Chinese woman called Fragrant Tree. This was a very unusual friendship, as Fragrant Tree later moved to Scotland. All of these aspects present a variety of missionaries’ perceptions and knowledge of China, and their relations with Chinese women.
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.
This chapter explores the understanding of the role of “the people” in James Legge’s (1815–1897) translation of the Book of Documents (1865). In comparison with other European translations of this book Legge’s readings will be explained in the context of both, the prevailing Chinese commentarial interpretations of his times as well as his own Scottish philosophical and theological background. The analysis attempts to tackle the question what exactly the factors were that inspired Legge’s readings, readings that have informed, and still continue to inform, contemporary interpretations of the Shangshu and thus contemporary discussions about Chinese traditional political culture and early Chinese approaches to human rights.
This Afterword places James Legge in a tradition of contributions by Protestant missionaries or former missionaries to the development of sinology as a discipline in Britain. It takes note of his predecessor and teacher, Samuel Kidd, and offers a summary evaluation of Legge’s enduring scholarly achievement. It then discusses the sinological scholarship of the Methodist W. E. Soothill, the Anglican A. C. Moule, the Congregationalists G. S. Owen and W. H. Rees, the Baptist J. P. Bruce, and finally of Evangeline D. Edwards, a former Manchuria missionary of the United Free Church of Scotland who became professor of Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. The Afterword offers the conclusion that modern sinology remains indebted to the pioneering scholarship of James Legge and other leading figures in the brief period of Protestant missionary involvement in China.
With a focus on The Great Learning (Daxue大學), this paper explores the specific exegetical or hermeneutical methodology adopted by James Legge in his translation of this Confucian canonical text. It begins with an analysis of the translation theory endorsed by Legge, comparing his translation with those of Ku Hung-ming and Wing-tsit Chan. The second part aims to explicate the hermeneutic dilemma faced by Legge in his dealing with this text. It looks at the intellectual context in which Legge’s scholarship on the Chinese classics had developed, as well as the academic standard he was required to maintain throughout his translation. Overall, Legge’s familiarity with Qing scholarship makes it interesting to determine where and why he follows or rejects Zhu Xi. Given Legge’s Christian missionary background and the sense of mission pervading Zhu Xi’s commentary, we conclude that Legge’s affinity with Zhu Xi is much more subtle and complex than previously speculated: the difference in their approach to Confucian texts cannot be reduced to a contrast between construction and deconstruction or between canonisation and decanonisation.
This paper will focus upon James Legge’s years as professor in Oxford and his ambivalent position there as both Scottish and non-conformist in a deeply Anglican university and city. At every level he was an outsider – and how does this impact upon the nature and future of Chinese studies but also the field of comparative religion. My sense is that not only was he a remarkable scholar, but in his conservative way he was also deeply ‘radical’ and his importance for the study of religion has barely been acknowledged.
James Legge faced many extreme events across his long life, yet was astonishingly productive. This chapter studies his responses to challenging events in terms of psychological research. Deep-rooted aspects of resilience become more visible in behaviour during and after extreme events. Legge was the object of vilification from missionaries who disagreed with his favourable views about Chinese culture. He twice risked beheading by intervening to help Chinese men being terrorized during the Taiping Rebellion. He lost five of his eleven children and his two wives to alarming premature deaths, survived cholera epidemics, severe accidents, voyages surviving terrible storms, and massive fires in Hong Kong. He was poisoned twice in a famous scandal, helped save a sailing ship from fire on the high seas, took in a bohemian Qing scholar fleeing the dynasty, and foiled a bank-bombing plot. He earned enmity in the colony twice for providing court testimony about translation that favoured accused Chinese men rather than the authorities. He encountered severe interpersonal conflict in Malacca, and in Hong Kong was asked to intervene in conflicts between other mission men. Psychological research identifies roots to resilience, including specific features of temperament, beliefs, general intelligence, and social support. Across 30 years, Legge responded with resilience in three main ways. He tried to find out the facts where there were conflicts, he defended against injustice despite risking his life or reputation, and he persisted with productive work and family life.