Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies: Christian Missionaries Imagine Chinese Religion

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University of California Press, Nov 15, 2004 - Religion - 283 pages
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To the Victorians, the Chinese were invariably "inscrutable." The meaning and provenance of this impression—and, most importantly, its workings in nineteenth-century Protestant missionary encounters with Chinese religion—are at the center of Eric Reinders's Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies, an enlightening look at how missionaries' religious identity, experience, and physical foreignness produced certain representations of China between 1807 and 1937.

Reinders first introduces the imaginative world of Victorian missionaries and outlines their application of mind-body dualism to the dualism of self and other. He then explores Western views of the Chinese language, especially ritual language, and Chinese ritual, particularly the kow-tow. His work offers surprising and valuable insight into the visceral nature of the Victorian response to the Chinese—and, more generally, into the nineteenth-century Western representation of China.
 

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Contents

Borrowed Gods
1
Missions in Chinese History
22
Metaphors of Mindlessness
39
Gods of the Lump
63
The Lexicon of Babel
71
Babel Embodied
89
The Idolatrous Body
100
Obeisance and Disobeisiance
113
The Other Smells
170
The Spectacle of Missionary Bodies
175
Under the Spotlight and the Disappearing Act
191
Foreign Bodies
205
Abbreviations Used in the Notes
221
Notes
223
Bibliography
249
Index
261

How the Heathen See the Light
132
Blessed Are the MeatEaters
146

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About the author (2004)

Eric Reinders is Assistant Professor of Religion at Emory University.

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