Envisioning an Ideal Christian Family in Republican China

A Theological Lens


In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Author: Yun Zhou1
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  • 1 College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia,
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Amid debates and discussions on the institution of the family in Republican China, foreign missionaries and Chinese Christians played an active role in promoting an ideal Christian family. This article investigates the three waves of prominent theological thinking that underpinned changing ideals of the Christian family throughout the Republican period: Chinese society’s encounter with the gendered ethics of the Christian community in the early Republican period, discussions of domesticity by Chinese Christians amid the social gospel movements of the 1920s, and discussions of domesticity during the National Christianizing the Home Movement. An exploration of Christian publications on domesticity points to a gendered perspective on women’s domestic roles as well as a male-dominated theological construct that attempted to reconfigure the notion of the Chinese Christian family. The discourse on the ideal Chinese Christian family had both secular and spiritual dimensions, shaped by the dynamic transnational flow of ideas and the development of local theological thinking.

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