Robert Morrison and the Birth of Chinese Protestantism

by Christopher Hancock

Robert Morrison and the Birth of Chinese Protestantism Synopsis

Robert Morrison: The Birth of Chinese Protestantism is a brief, accessible life of the pioneer Protestant missionary, Robert Morrison (1782-1834), who arrived in China in 1807. Morrison masterminded translation and production of the first Chinese Bible and a series of other Christian texts in Mandarin. A gifted linguist and educational strategist, he founded the Christian College in Malacca (the first Chinese tertiary educational establishment). With fellow missionaries William Milne and Walter Medhurst, Morrison formed a bridgehead for later missionary endeavour in China. Morrison's life has received comparatively little recent attention (see his wife Eliza's Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison (1839), M. Broomhall Robert Morrison: A Master Builder (1924), W.J.Townsend Robert Morrison, The Pioneer of Chinese Missions (1888), and essays in single volumes or dictionaries). Morrison conquered Chinese, though had to contend for residence in China (depending on US help when EIC policy barred missionaries). He fought loneliness and ill health, misunderstanding and mission society prejudice, as he engaged Chinese customs and local help. His first wife died in childbirth, although his son John later continued his work. Morrison's linguistic ability and rugged self-discipline became the avenue for acceptance and respect in later life. On a visit to the UK in 1823-5, Morrison received a hero's welcome and official recognition, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1825. He died soon after returning to China and was buried in Macau, where his grave can still be seen.

Robert Morrison and the Birth of Chinese Protestantism Press Reviews

[A] well-composed picture of Morrison the man of faith ... the level of well-documented detail furnished by Hancock's book should at the very least provide an excellent point from which to move on to further studies. - Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies A thoughtful and faithful biography timed to commemorate the bicentennial of Morrison's arrival in China. Social Sciences and Missions 22 (2009) Mention - International Review of Biblical Studies, vol. 54:2007/08 [Hancock] has successfully generated a new and hermeneutical narrative of Morrison's life and experiences including his ambition, frustration, painstaking effort and achievement...this book is not only an invaluable resource for students and general readers on the subject of Chinese Christianity but also a refreshing and timely contribution to inter-religious and inter-cultural studies. Ecclesiastical History, October 2009

Book Information

ISBN: 9780567031785
Publication date: 20th April 2008
Author: Christopher Hancock
Publisher: T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 160 pages
Categories: Christianity, Theology,

About Christopher Hancock

Dr Christopher Hancock, former Dean of Bradford Cathedral, is Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in China, in Oxford, UK. A former professor of theology and Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, Dr Hancock teaches regularly in China, India and the USA.

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