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Christian Monks on Chinese Soil

A History of Monastic Missions to China
Matteo Nicolini-Zani, Translated by Sophia Senyk and William Skudlarek, OSB

ISBN: 9780814646991, 4699
Details: 408 pgs , 6 X 9
Publication Date: 11/22/2016


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The contribution of monks to the evangelization of lands not yet reached by the preaching of the Gospel has certainly been remarkable. The specific witness that the monastic community gives is of a radical Christian life naturally radiating outward, and thus it is implicitly missionary. The process of inculturation of Christian monasticism in China required a bold spiritual attitude of openness to the future and a willingness to accept the transformation of monastic forms that had been received. In Christian Monks on Chinese Soil, Matteo Nicolini-Zani highlights the willingness of foreign monks to encounter the cultural and spiritual realities of China and the degree of acceptance by the Chinese of the form of monastic life that was presented to them by the missionaries.

Matteo Nicolini-Zani is a monk of the Community of Bose (Italy) and coordinator of the Italian Commission of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Chinese Language and Literature. His main interest of research is the history of Christianity in China, a topic upon which he has published several articles and books.

"With this book, Nicolini-Zani reminds us again that the encounter between different cultures can happen not because they are existing in one space but because various connections, visible or invisible, concrete or abstract, beyond space and time, link them together."
Liang Zhang, Catholic Books Review

"An excellent introduction to the history of monasticism in China with all its complexities on issues of inculturation, interreligious dialogue, spirituality, and Christian mission."
Mission Studies

"Nicolini-Zani's work, rendered into fine English by the translators and equipped with an extensive bibliography, should long serve as a standard reference work for students of Christian monasticism in China, as well as a starting point for scholars wishing to explore one or another aspect more comprehensively."
American Benedictine Review

"The history of Christianity in China will be a growing area of study in the coming years, when we will see China emerge as the largest Christian nation in the world. An important chapter of that history is the story of Christian monks in China, a chapter that until recently has not received sufficient treatment. Thanks to Matteo Nicolini-Zani, a monk of the community of Bose who has published a number of studies of Chinese Christianity, we now have a sound study of that history. Distinguished scholars Sophia Senyk of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and William Skudlarek of Saint John's Abbey have rendered Nicolini-Zani's original Italian text very readable, giving English readers access to a fascinating story of Christian mission and intercultural dialogue. I recommend Christian Monks on Chinese Soil to students of Chinese history, Christian missions, and monasticism, as well as to anyone interested in intercultural dialogue."
Timothy P. Muldoon, PhD, Boston College