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Luis Gutheinz SJ {*}

A Look into the Workshop
of Chinese Theology

 

From: Stimmen der Zeit 9/2007, P. 619-632
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

 

Since the Second Vatican Council despite certain inner-church resistances inculturation and contextualization of theology win more and more in weight. That directly concerns the whole width of liberation theology, not only in Latin America but also in Africa and Asia. Also the "theological attempts" {1} in India, Africa, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and China - to mention only a few examples - belong to this complex movement, in which it is about the mutually provocative and enriching meeting between the Christian message and the native, local world of language, thinking, and life. In ideal circumstances this meeting should be supported by a genuine God experience and accompanied by a differentiated hermeneutical awareness {2}. On the background of this multicoloured world-wide mosaic of many new theological drafts in the following text a look is to be tried into the workshop of Chinese theology. In a first step a short summary of the Chinese world of thinking and life must be set forth to be able to more precisely locate the attempts of Christian theology in China. The second step shortly describes the work already performed in this workshop. In the third step the reader is invited to participate in the direct work in the workshop of Chinese theology. The fourth and last step tries a look at possible developments of Chinese theology

 

I. A Panorama of Chinese Thinking and Life

The literature on this topic takes on nearly enormous dimensions {3}. Over 46 years of meeting with China's thinking and life for me the following main foci arose, which correspond to the basic streams of Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism and popular religion:

In the tradition of Confucianism man sees itself not so much as "ens rationale" (rational being) but rather as "ens ethicum" (ethical being). That is why here less meta-physics than rather meta-ethics was developed. The practice of life is prominent; it strives for the harmony in the continuum 'Heaven - Earth - Man' according to the dictate of conscience written into human nature by the "Will of Heaven".

 


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Daoism revolves around some insights that bring it partially quite close to the centre of Christian faith, or differently said: Insights that can serve Christianity as dialogue bridges. In "Dao-de-jing" - after the Bible probably the most often translated book of the world - most valuable insights for a Chinese understanding of the Christian Gospel open; at the same time this Chinese wisdom finds its fullest development in Christ's Revelation. In chapter 78 the up to now unknown author, called Laozi (i.e. old master), writes in the third century BC:

    "Nothing on earth is as soft and weak as water.
    Nevertheless it is defeated by nothing when attacking solid and strong things:
    That is made easy for it by its being nothing.
    Weak defeats strong. Soft defeats hard.
    There is nobody on earth who does not know that, nobody who is able to follow it.
    Therefore the Holy Man says:
    Who takes upon himself the dirt in the country be named Lord of the altar of fields and seed.
    Who takes upon him the disaster of the country is destined king of the earth.
    True words often sound like a paradox."

The author leads us into Jesus Christ's Pascha Mystery. The face of the Lord's suffering Servant emerges before us. Jesus' face wears the features of water, of non-interference, degradation, emptiness and weakness. But just so he becomes the revelation of God's powerful love. The smallest and humblest has found a home with Jesus. By Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, the darkness of death is "taken" into the mysterious power of the triune God's love, who like Dao wants to be quite closely but unobtrusively with man.

Buddhism is founded on the teachings of Buddha, the Enlightened (born about 450 BC in Kapilawastu, in today's Nepal), which summarized in the "Four Noble Truths" say: Suffering is universal; suffering originates from greed, hatred and blindness; liberation and welfare are only possible by overcoming greed; to overcome greed is possible by the eightfold path. The "eightfold path" covers the following elements: right seeing (i.e. the insight that then may culminate in the enlightenment that the visible world of things is only the superficial illusory world, whereas the actually real reality is incomprehensible and inexpressibly withdrawn from man's access); right thinking; right talking; right doing, right life; right striving; right awareness and memory. The goal of the "eightfold path" is called "Nirvana", a permanent state beyond the cycle of birth and reincarnation, the true and real reality, a constant peace of mind in inexpressible bliss.

 


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In China, which has a positive approach to life and this world, that prototype of Buddhism - named also "Small Vehicle" - had to put up with a noticeable transformation to the "Great Vehicle", by which not only a few monks but everybody gets the chance to make the journey to the goal of Nirvana. Supported by the typical Chinese approach to the world and challenged by the Christian commitment particularly to the poor, suffering and socially marginalized particularly in Taiwan's Buddhism for decades an increasing and charitably very effective turn to the concrete living conditions of today's people has become apparent.

In the meeting with Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism always a with difficulty definable experience of the popular religion occurs. In it elements from the three main streams in an almost inscrutable way run together to a religious attitude in which there are hardly any dogmas or prominent authorities. The popular religion is fundamentally related to the well-being of human beings.

 

II. What has already been created in the Workshop of Chinese Theology

A detailed description of the historical development of the works of Chinese theology would go beyond the scope of this contribution {4}. One would have to talk about the efforts of a Matteo Ricci SJ (1552-1610) and the difficulties in the Rites Controversy, about the figurists in the 17th and 18th century, about the groping attempts of the Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the 19th century, and finally about the theological work that in the course of the 20th century up to our days developed into more and more disciplines.

On the background of the Chinese thinking and life the different attempts of Chinese theology win in profile and can so more easily be put into a total view. On the background of the work already carried out in the workshop of Chinese theology five different manifestations of Chinese theology are to be recognized in the current context:

1. The reflection on faith of the Christian communities and churches in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, in the People's Republic of China and among Chinese living abroad. This faith reflection may be understood as basis of the academic theological work. It finds expression in church newspapers, in many magazines, reports {5}, and in the Internet. It does not write many books but concentrates on the essentials of the Christian message. This faith reflection awakens heroic courage of one's conviction; it is alive and strong, although the scientific-theoretical reflection has not yet sufficiently caught up with it. It is like the concrete frame of a shell.

 


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2. The theology of the theological faculties and seminaries. At these institutes the future leaders of the local Christian communities are trained. Their theology strives to be scientific-theoretical reflection on faith communicating knowledge. In its beginnings this faith reflection stands inevitably in the lee of the western and - as one today can also say - international theology: In this initial period it is rather a "theology in Chinese language" than a genuine "Chinese theology", i.e. a theology substantially inspired and formed by the Chinese way of thinking and life, a native and 'earthed' theology. In the course of the decades however the elements of genuine Chinese theology increase; as dawn announces the rising of the bright sun. This applies for instance to the attempts of Maurus Heinrichs and Bishop Paul Cheng Shi Guang {6}, to mention only two examples.

In the theological magazines {7} the wide spectrum of theological topics is brought up. There it is not only about imparting knowledge in the field of theology but also about creative attempts in the context of Chinese culture and Taiwan's politico-social environment, as the third and fourth kind of theology in the following will show.

The Fu Jen series "Theological Monographs" (Fujen shenxue congshu), started in 1972 by Markus Fang Zhi Rong SJ, in December 2006 published the 75th volume {8}. When in 1967 at the request of Taiwan's Bishops' Conference was decided starting September 1968 to teach in Chinese language at the theological faculty of the University of Fu Jen, there was hardly any theological literature in Chinese. Today the students of theology already face an abundance of theological publications with which they in the few years of their studies can no longer cope in detail. In March 2007 volume 76 was published, in which Jesús M. Muñoz writes about "Images of Jesus in the New Testament". In June 2007 volume 77 was published with the topic "The Idea of Religious Life in Karl Rahner's Theology", a doctoral dissertation of the Jesuit John Wu Bo Ren. As volume 78 the licentiate thesis of Lin Shu Li about "The History of the Catechists in China and Taiwan" will be published.

3. The theology in the context of the traditional Confucianism and Daoism tries to establish a deeper contact between the great tradition of Chinese thinking and feeling and Christianity. Altogether one can say that the Catholic theologians feel more at home in this context than their Protestant colleagues, who more clearly concentrate on the socio-political context. Also the movement around the so-called "Hanyu Theology" (literally "theology in the language of the Han people") belongs to this area. It is concerned with today's civilization and culture of China and tries to bring Christian ideas into the life of today's China.

 


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Theology in the Context of the Category of Unity

Chinese thinking is thoroughly based on the idea of an all-embracing unity of all things. What matters are ultimately not so much the differences among the beings but rather their being innermost interwoven in an All-One. Before this horizon of thought in the theological reflection of Aloisius Berchmans Chang Chun Shen, the dean of many years of the theological faculty of the Fu Jen University, the idea of the category 'unity' as completion of the category 'person' developed. He was able to show that in the context of the category of 'unity' new aspects, particularly in Ecclesiology and the theology on the Sacraments come out. The church as Communio and as Sacrament of Salvation (Communio with the triune God) so becomes more easily understandable for the Chinese student.

There is an area in which the category of 'unity' in a very thrilling way finds expression: the sacrament of ordination. In the traditional school theology the essence of the ordination consists of the laying on of the bishop's hands and the solemn prayer interpreting this sign; the other participants in the ordination do not substantially belong to the sacrament. But with the help of the category of 'unity' it becomes clearer how important and substantial the whole Communio of the church is for this future priest. Thus the fundamental contribution of parents and teachers of this candidate on the way to the priesthood is theologically enhanced: The laying on of the hands and the prayer of the bishop are theologically integrated into the overall context of Christian life and the local community {9}.

Inspired by Chang Chun Shen, the Chinese Sister Madeleine Kwong Lai Kuen, Hong Kong, during her study of many years in Paris developed the idea of Qi as bridge to a deeper and more realistic understanding of the Holy Spirit {10}. In Chinese Qi stands for vitality, for a dynamic vitality that reigns in the whole cosmos in different dimensions (ontologically, cosmologically, ethically, socially, medically and aesthetically). Madeleine Kwong then convincingly compares the Chinese idea of Qi and the Jewish-Christian concept of "Ruah" and "Pneuma", the breath of God. In the last two chapters the authoress introduces the reader to a pneumatological Christology and anthropology.

But with these theological attempts in the context of the traditional Chinese culture the question is unavoidable how much of this classical China actually is still alive today. This question is differently answered by specialists, sometimes rather positively and sometimes rather negatively. But one can maintain with certainty that the substantial insights into the mysteries of reality (e.g. the awareness of the unity of all things, the Dao, the Qi, the Yin Yang paradigm, the importance of the practice of the ethical life

 


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- to mention only some main pillars of the world of Chinese thought) will in adapted form hold their ground also in the meeting with the modern and post-modern world. And so the theological attempts described above remain valid.

 

Theology in the Socio-political Context

Not all Chinese theologians feel so at home in the Confucian-Daoist world of thought as A.B. Chang, M. Kwong, and the in the last decades above all in China emerging "Culture Christians", who admittedly are mostly not baptized but very interested in Christianity and strive to develop the so-called "theology in Chinese language" (Hanyu shenxue). Above all the Protestant theologians, both in China and Taiwan show a preference for socio-political questions.

4. The Homeland theology of Taiwan is based on a strong love for the island of Taiwan, which is theologically celebrated as homeland. The context of this theology of some Protestant theologians {11} is the longing of the Taiwanese population, who entered the island more than 300 years ago in the exodus from mainland China, to be allowed after a long march through a tunnel of suppression {12}to raise again their heads in dignity and to become at last lords on the island {13}.

5. The theology of the TARGTI group revolves around the central term of "quality of life". The "Taiwan Area Research Group on Theological Issues" (TARGTI), formed by Catholic and Protestant theologians and philosophers whose work was supported by sociologists, did research work in two study phases from 1978 to 1983 and from 1990 to 1993. The goal of the study was to introduce the Christian faith closer to the current life of Taiwan's society. For this purpose it appeared extremely necessary to know more exactly and more precisely how Taiwan's people experience their life and what they are longing for. The two study sections were published in a final report {14}. In theologico-philosophical reflection TARGTI compiled the following definitions of genuine quality of life:

"Quality of life is the degree of the right proportion, of the dynamic integration and creative flexibility of nine dimensions (the ecological, material, social, political, intellectual, aesthetic, psychological, ethico-moral and religious) of human life."

The workshop of Chinese theology is everywhere where these five kinds of theology are worked for. After this summary overview on the variety of Chinese theology, often still "theology in Chinese language", in the third step it is to be tried to let the reader even more concretely participate in the work in the workshop of Chinese theology.

 


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III. Concrete Participation in the Work in the Workshop of Chinese Theology

From time immemorial Chinese philosophers use to express the unity of reality with the two-word formula "Heaven - Man" (Tian Di) or with the three-word formula "Heaven - Earth - Man" (Tian Di Ren). The basic idea is found in the Chinese thinking, which loves entireness, harmony and the being all in one. The Revelation in Jesus Christ, God and man in union on this earth, gives a final religious content to the original world view of Chinese philosophers. From this centre of Christian and Chinese world view for me the insight resulted to put the "Mystery of God", the "theological anthropology" and the "ecological theology" into an all-embracing Chinese context. In three volumes (volume 25, 27 and 37) of the Fu Jen Series of Theological Monographs already mentioned, which the author wrote with Chinese assistants, the trilogy "Heaven - Earth - Man" stands in the centre.

 

Chinese Theological Anthropology

Not only western modern thought of the last centuries tends in the so-called "anthropological turn" to man; the Chinese thought too revolves in its basic motion primarily around the mystery of man - hence the dictum "Chinese Humanism". From there the approach of the trilogy Heaven - Earth - Man suggested itself for the writing of a "Theological Anthropology" {15}. It is not an introduction in the whole width of theology's view of man that is meant with it; it is rather about an appropriate entry into the realm of theological thought in the context of the world of Chinese life and culture.

To make the approach to the theological anthropology easier to the Chinese reader, the first part - after a short reference to methodology - describes some attempts by theologians of note up to our scientifically and social-economic-politically almost confusingly plural present time. The following three parts revolve around the questions: Man, from where do you come? Who are you? What are you? So it is about the origin and history of mankind and in it of the individual human being (so it is more appropriate to the Chinese way of thinking), then about the questions after "being a person" (image of God, dignity of man, free subject and creator of its history of well-being and disaster).

Then the questions after the fundamental structure of man are discussed: Various models for the explanation of the material, biological, mental and transcendental dimensions of man's existence are described, the bisexuality of man, and finally the thorny problem of man's "natural and supernatural reality",

 


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which is explained starting from four points of departure of thinking: the traditional static two-storey model of the scholastic school theology, the more dynamic attempt of the French "Nouvelle Théology", then the idea of the "supernatural existential" of Karl Rahner and finally an attempt of the author to present - on the basis of a Relation-Structure-Process-Metaphysics that is more in detail described in Part V - a more integrated theological view of traditional problems of "man's natural - supernatural reality".

The fifth part provides the systematic attempt to complete the rather static paradigm of the classical "substance metaphysics", and to make with the help of those concepts the mystery of man from the Christian view clearer to the Chinese reader. The final chapter of Part V applies this speculative-systematic representation of man to the different areas of dogmatic theology (as e.g. the mystery of God, Christology, original sin, grace, Ecclesiology, sacraments and Eschatology). In this way the author tries to let himself be inspired on the one hand by the Chinese turn to man but on the other hand to "heighten" the Chinese anthropocentric view into the integral view of the Christian Revelation.

 

The Mystery of God - Yin and Yang in Unity

The anthropocentric Chinese mentality, which is rather turned to the earth than to heaven, simply demands a gradual awakening of interest in the mystery of God in the Christian Revelation. That is tried by "The Doctrine of God", volume 27 of the Fu Jen Series of Theological Monographs {16}. The first part of the treatise deals with the variety of actual experiences of God and with the human reason's possibility to recognize the existence of a transcendental reality {17}. In this connection also the burning problem of atheism is brought up.

The second part describes the Old Testament's image of God in its historical development; the third part unfolds Jesus' image of God, the rearrangement of the Old Testament's image of God through the experience of the Risen Lord and the Holy Spirit in the early Church, and in summary the specific Christian image of God: the triune God. The fourth part goes along the history of the Christian churches and points to important stages of theological thought about the mystery of God in the different contexts of society, culture and religiousness. Part V deals with theological systematic. Again three questions serve as a certain, but never satisfying order of theological thinking about the secret of the infinite triune God: God, what are you doing? Who are you? What are you?

 


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In this work about the mystery of God the element that is perhaps most familiar to Chinese thought is the attempt to explain the absolute mystery of love of Father (Yang - the giving, creative face), Son (Yin - the receiving and answering face) and Holy Spirit (He, the uniting face in form of an elegantly swinging line between Yang and Yin in the well-known "Taiji model") with the basic paradigm "Yin and Yang in unity" (Yin Yang He). But as in the Taiji model in the white field (Yang) always is a black point and in the black field (Yin) always also a white point (Yang) so by it - for the Christian theologian - the fundamental truth is expressed that each of the three divine persons has Yang and Yin in different relatedness in itself.

As the experience of many years of instruction shows, the students of theology react very lively and positive-critically to that representation. The strength of the "Yin Yang He" - hypothesis lies in the dynamic mutual penetration of Yin and Yang in He called "perichoresis" (dwelling within each other) by the Greek Church Fathers; likewise the presence of the triune life and love mystery in all spheres of the cosmos and in the human life is very clearly expressed.

Here a small theological excursion about the delicate question of priesthood of women may be dared, without wanting to provocatively anticipate the Catholic Church's Magisterium (teaching authority of the church): When in the "Yin Yang He" hypothesis the Second Divine Person (the Word of the Father, the Son, and so Jesus Christ) could be called "Yin" (remember: Yin contains also Yang) and when in applying the "Yin Yang He" hypothesis to the world of human life man is called "Yang" and woman "Yin" (don't forget: in Yin is also Yang and in Yang also Yin), one simply cannot (help) but conclude that in the church also women can be visible representatives of Jesus Christ. From this theological view priesthood both of men and women as dynamic presence of the One Jesus Christ would be a more complete representation. The theologian may present such ideas in the genuine attitude of "sentire cum ecclesia" but the concrete decisions are the business of the Magisterium and church authorities.

The Theology of the Earth or "Christian ecological theology" {18} is based on the first two books of the trilogy. It tries creatively to connect the theological anthropology with the doctrine of God on the one hand, and describes an increasingly expressing itself ecological awareness and a legitimate worry about the future of the one world-village of the global mankind on the other hand. This volume may so be regarded as test case for the validity of the theological considerations of the two first volumes. The results of the study on the "quality of life in the bio-region Taiwan" already mentioned, were harmoniously inserted into the representation of the six parts of that treatise.

 


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Basic equipment for the Workshop of Chinese Theology

The history of the "Fu Jen Theological Publications Association" (FJTPA) began on 18 January 1969, when seven persons {19} of the theological faculty met at the Fu Jen University to think about the creation of theological tools in the Chinese area. From this intensive consideration the resolution developed to create an association with the goal to give the local church of China instruments for the study of theology and catechesis (either by translation or also by own reflection) and to support the inculturation of the Christian faith and its theology, so that Christianity gradually took on a Chinese face.

Since that decision the following basic works in Chinese language were published: "The Law of Christ" (Bernhard Häring), the "Vocabulaire de Théologie Biblique" (Xavier Léon Dufour), the "Synopse of the Three First Gospels" (Josef Schmid), the "English-Chinese Vocabulary of Dogmatic Theology" (Theresa Jiang Qi Lan, Erwin Schawe and Luis Gutheinz) with 524 pages, now already out of print. In the following three larger works may be described somewhat more in detail:

The "Theological Dictonary - A One volume Encyclopedia of Christian-Catholic-Theology" (Shenxue cidian) required eleven years of editorial work (June 1985 to June 1996). The 712 articles of different length (according to the theological weight) come from 26 theologians in the Chinese area. The FJTPA was quite intent on the authors' doing their utmost to include elements of the Chinese world of thought and the burning questions of the today's politico-social context. That was a further small step on the long way of inculturation and contextualization. After two years a new edition followed.

In June 1999 the Guangqi publishing house in Shanghai published an edition in simplified Chinese characters. By arrangement with the responsible publisher (author of this contribution) in late autumn 1998 seven articles (communism, socialism, social analysis etc.) were taken out upon the request of the Office for Religious Affairs in Shanghai - altogether topics that are not that important for communist China but very important for Taiwan. Today the assistant Maria Zhao Ying Zhu works on a thoroughly revised version of many articles on the basis of the following tool:

"A Foreign Languages-Chinese Christian Theological Lexicon of Terms and Persons" (Jiduzongjiao - waiyuhanyu shenxuecidian). Nine years of work are behind this work, which on 15 October 2005 was presented to the public. While the authors were formulating the majority of the terms and personal names (the many Biblical personal names included), it became painfully clear to them that Christianity today on the one hand is striving for ecumenical approach - and the differentiated work on absolutely wanted regulations as to the wording to be used belonged to it -,

 


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but that on the other hand many translators and authors bother little about the already existing Chinese terms and rather create their own Chinese terms according to their own feeling for language, what often needs much less time than carefully to look for possibly already existing translations.

As sign of an honest effort to reach mutual understanding for example in the text of the many short articles the Catholic name for God (Tianzhu - Lord of Heaven) and the Protestant (Shangdi - Highest Ruler) were presented together "Tianzh / Shangdi", so also the name for the Trinity "Tianzhu shengsan" (God Holy Three) and "Sanyishangdi" (Three One God). But to avoid a superabundance of different translations the Catholic terms and names were usually used in the main text. For more than one year again in the Guangqi publishing house Shanghai has been worked on an edition with simplified characters. This encyclopaedia with about 1200 pages contains also different appendices: Abbreviations, a list of the popes and antipopes, a list of the encyclicals, a short description of the Ecumenical Councils, a list of the Patriarchs of Constantinopel and a survey of the most important Christian churches and denominations.

On the basis of the encyclopaedia and the lexicon the work for the third larger work began in summer 2005: the Chinese edition of Denzinger-Hünermann's "Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum" (Jiaohui xundaoquan wenxianxuanji) according to the 40th edition (Freiburg 2004). The preliminary work for this important ecumenical instrument goes back to the 90's. A very much encouraging discussion with Peter Hünermann in Stuttgart smoothed the way for the for one and a half years running work on the "Denzinger", as this collection of the most important documents of the church's teaching authority in questions of faith and moral is called among Catholic experts. It should be finished at the end of 2008. It is of great importance to the publishers to insert footnotes important for the Chinese reader but not necessary for the western reader, and furthermore to quote in the appendix also the most important creeds of the prominent Protestant churches and communities in order to give the internal-Christian dialogue a solid basis. That complete edition will surely cover more than 2000 pages.

And finally a "New edition of the Catholic Bible" is in preparation. The in 1968 by the Franciscans' "Studium Biblicum" in Hong Kong published first complete Catholic Bible made a great contribution to build a Biblically founded Catholic religious life. Since that time already 39 years have passed. The results of today's Bible science should be incorporated into a solidly-made version of a new commentary, to open an approach to the core of the Christian revelation for individual Christians, preachers, Bible circles and people who are interested in the Christian message.

 


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These four tools in the workshop of Chinese theology (Theological Dictionary, Theological Lexicon of Terms and Persons, Chinese edition of Denzinger-Hünermann, and new edition of the Catholic Bible) should give the "workers" in this workshop solid instruments, so that they in the coming decades slowly accomplish of what we dream - a "Chinese theology". In the last step a preview on the future of the Chinese theology is to be tried in form of a thought experiment. It can only be an experiment, for China itself with its about 1.35 billion humans is on the point of a radical change and emerging with many unknown factors.

 

IV. Possible Developments of Chinese Theology

The matter of linguistic prescriptions is an extremely urgent one. It is a very vital aspect of the ecumenical movement in the world of Chinese people. What is to be done, when for a Christian-theological idea no appropriate Chinese word is available? There are above all two possibilities: Either one forms a new word - usually compounded of two or more characters; this creation remains reserved to those theologians who wield a more reliable literary pen in Chinese. Or one takes a Chinese word already existing and explains the philosophico-theological sense that one wants to connect with this term, as Christian theologians from time immemorial have done time and again. This linguistic prescription lies to a large extent on the shoulders of native Chinese theologians. Chinese theology needs a lot more young people with solid training, both in their culture and in the western-Christian history of ideas.

The desired prescription should be based on an experienced meeting with God. Christianity must not only and above all not primarily be understood as commitment to a culture and life but in its deepest sense must be understood as experience of God's inexpressible triune love event. If that experience inspires the theologians - who does here not think of the great master of today's theology, Karl Rahner SJ! -, we may expect that they the absolute love event within the Eternal Now to some extent appropriately put into limited - and therefore time and again to be overhauled human conceptions, terms and words but at the same time remain open to further insights, clarifications, changes and improvements of what has already been said.

Chinese theology becomes problematic, if a theologian pursues his theology like a mathematician his mathematics, but no longer thinks, feels and writes from the unique experience of the triune God. Many theological works would probably never have been written and the terminology of others would be better understandable

 


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if the authors concerned had more vitally experienced the living God and not only thought at their desks. Chinese mentality and spirituality stress the ortho-practice of the Christian life, orthodoxy as doctrine is at its service.

More and more the necessity of an interdisciplinary teamwork suggests itself. The increasingly complicated and differentiated modern world requires a theology appropriate to it, working in a more differentiated way. This demand has three elements:

The slowly to be learned co-operation of the theologian with the local religious community, as today's theology of the Christian community emphasizes above all. Also among Chinese Christians the basis community will be a substantial factor in the creation of a theology that is close to time, context and life.

The interdisciplinary co-operation within the academic area. It can no longer be denied that the theologian - if he wants to understand his time really more deeply - must openly and humbly ask for example his colleagues in sociology, literature, psychology and philosophy.

The intercultural and inter-religious meeting. That meeting may be understood as a sign of the times. It strives for mutual understanding by dialogue, which time and again leads to new insights, and for a profound change of awareness.

On the basis of the efforts to find the necessary linguistic prescription, supported by a close to life experience of the triune God and connected with interdisciplinary teamwork it will be possible to take up more transparently and convincingly the hot problems of Chinese theology. To those hot problems belongs among other things the mystery of Jesus Christ, which challenges each culture and each mentality: the scandal of the Incarnation and the Cross. Most closely connected with it the reality of God's revelation in the First and Second Covenant collides with the Chinese rationalism of which only the power of the Holy Spirit is able to take hold. And finally, to mention still another last example, the Chinese ethics must be interwoven and participate in the life of the triune God to "save" a creeping Pelagianism. To sum up we may say: From the workshop of Chinese theology new theological drafts will be brought into the world-wide theological discussion in a not too far future.

 

Notes

{1} See R. Schreiter, Abschied vom Gott der Europäer. Zur Entwicklung regionaler Theologien (Salzburg 1992).

{2} See L.-Ch. Lee, Hermeneutische Theologie in einer pluralistischen Welt (Frankfurt 2007).

{3} See L. Gutheinz, China im Wandel. Das chinesische Denken im Umbruch seit dem 19. Jahrhundert (München 1985); ders., China im Aufbruch. Kultur u. Religionen Chinas u. das Christentum (Frankfurt 2001).

{4} See G. Evers, Hermeneutical Problems in the Process of Inculturation. The Case of Chinese Theology. in: Ein Glaube in vielen Kulturen. edited by Missionswissenschaftliches Institut Missio e.V. (Frankfurt 1996) 55-76.

{5} A selection may suffice. Taiwan: Witness (Jianzheng), Constantinian (Hengyi), Christian Life Weekly (Jiaoyou shenghuo zhoukan), Shantoa Catholic Weekly (Shandao zhoukan), Taiwan Church News (Taiwan jiaohui gongbao); in Hongkong: Tripod (Ding), Spirit (Shensi), Kungkaopo (Gongjiaobao); in China: Catholic Church in China (Zhongguo tianzhujiao).

{6} M. Heinrichs, Katholische Theologie u. asiatisches Denken (Mainz 1963); Cheng Shi Guang, Tian ren zhi ji (Between Heaven and Men, Tainan 1974).

{7} In Taiwan: Collectanea Theologica Universitatis Fujen (Fujen shenxue lunji), in 1969 founded by Markus Fang Zhi Rong SJ; the Presbyterian Church keeps two theological journals: Taiwan Journal of Theology (Taiwan shenxue) und Theology and the Church (Shenxue yu jiaohui).

{8} A.B. Chang - R. Wang, Son and Saviour: The Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures (Taipei 2006).

{9} See A.B. Chang, Dann sind Himmel u. Erde in Einheit: Bausteine chinesischer Theologie (Freiburg 1984).

{10} Kwong Lai Kuen, Qi chinois et anthropologie chrétienne (Paris 2001).

{11} Wang Xian Zhi, Collected Essays on Taiwan Homeland Theology (Tainan 1988).

{12} Huang Po Ho, Ein Volk, das sich nach dem Ende des Tunnels sehnt (Benxiang chutoutian de zimin, Tainan 1991).

{13} See the books of the in Taiwan born theologian C.-S. Song, Theologie des dritten Auges (Göttingen 1989); The Compassionate God (London 1982); The Cross in the Lotus Land: Jesus, the Crucified People (Vol. I, New York 1990), Jesus and the Reign of God (Vol. II, Minneapolis 1993), Jesus and the Power of the Spirit (Vol. III, Minneapolis 1994); The Believing Heart: An Invitation to Story Theology (Minneapolis 1999).

{14} TARGTI, Quality of Life in the Bioregion of Taiwan (Taipei 1994).

{15} L. Gutheinz - Jiang Qi Lan, Himmel - Erde - Mensch: Theologische Anthropologie (Taipei ³2002).

{16} L. Gutheinz - P. Zhao Song Qiao, Himmel - Erde - Mensch: Gotteslehre (Taipei ³2002).

{17} See two volumes in the Fu Jen Series of Theological Monographs: Volume 50, Vu Kim Chinh, Man's Meeting with God: The Theological Anthropology fo Karl Rahner (Ren yu shen huiwu: lanei de shenxue renguan, Taipei 2000); Volume 52, P. H. Welte, Reasons for the Faith in God. Fundamental-theological Arguments for the Religious Faith (Xinyang de liyou: jibenshenxue zhi zongjiao lunzheng, Taipei 2000).

{18} L. Gutheinz - T. Liao Yong Xiang, Himmel - Erde - Mensch: Christliche ökologische Theologie (Taipei 1994).

{19} Markus Fang Zhi Rong SJ, A.B. Chang Chun Shen SJ, Paul Heribert Welte OP, Thaddäus Hang, Helen Reichl, Monika Liu und Luis Gutheinz SJ.

 

    {*} A genuine Chinese theology means more than a theology in Chinese language. LUIS GUTHEINZ, professor of dogmatic theology at the Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, gives an idea of the Workshop of Chinese Theology, in which theologians in the context of their own world of thought and life and based on the faith reflection in the parishes develop new drafts.

 

Link to 'Public Con-Spiracy for-with-of the Poor'