24 mars 2022
The Changing Image of Martin Luther in Modern China
Among the famous personalities in European history, Martin Luther is a common figure who appears in the Chinese literature composed during the late Qing and Republican period (1840-1949). However, there was a transformation of his image in China due to the role of Christian missionaries and the reform movement in Qing China. Chinese intellectuals began to understand Martin Luther in more detail only after the Opium War, but until the 1890s his image among them was mostly negative as they thought Luther was responsible for the abruption of the Christian church. Meanwhile, the protestant missionaries praised Luther’s achievements in reforming the church and focused on shaping his image as an “reformer”. During the 1898 Reform Movement in Qing China, intellectuals such as Liang Qichao and Tan Sitong used Luther as a key historical figure, sought legitimacy for their reform movement, and repeatedly emphasized the significance of Luther to create a “myth”. The study of Luther’s mythological image is not only about exploring whether it is in line with the history of Christianity in Europe, but more importantly, about the actual purpose of these image creators and the specific Chinese historical context.
Zhang Ke is an Associate Professor in the department of History at Fudan University, China. He also serves as assistant directors of the International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization (ICSCC) and the Asia Research Center (ARC) at Fudan. He received his Ph.D. from Fudan University in 2009. His research interests include modern Chinese intellectual history, conceptual history and the global history of cultural exchange. He is the author of The Conceptual History of ‘Humanism’ in Modern China,1901-1932 (2015, in Chinese), the editor of The Transformations of Ideas and Knowledge in Modern China (2018, in Chinese), and the co-editor of The Production of Knowledge and the Politics of Culture in Modern China (2014, in Chinese), and Stray Birds on the Huangpu: A History of Indians in Shanghai (2018, Bilingual, English and Chinese). He was the recipient of Harvard Yenching Institute visiting fellowship in 2019.
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