The Fruits of Failure: How Chinese Resistance to Missionaries Led to Modern Institutions in China

March 11, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 PM EST

In 1860, the interior of China opened up to foreign missionary activity following the ratification of treaties linked to the Second Opium War. In the United States, missionaries who saw the hand of God in China’s opening streamed into China to start saving souls. Their sole objective: the conversion of the Chinese people to Christianity. As their evangelical method, the missionaries chose “itinerant preaching.” Traveling long distances on mules, they established a Christian presence in the countryside, delivered street sermons, opened chapels, and trained Chinese converts to be ministers. They believed that, as the result of their effort, indigenous Chinese churches would mushroom across China. This generation of missionaries saw any activity other than church-building – such as teaching in schools – as a distraction that wasted precious time, energy, and money. Their project was about spreading the Gospel – and nothing else. Absalom Sydenstricker, the father of the novelist Pearl Buck, epitomizes this kind of missionary.

If we fast-forward 40 years to 1900, we observe that a dramatic change took place. With the exception of a few old stalwarts, missionaries dropped itinerant preaching. What were they doing instead? They were establishing schools, colleges, hospitals, medical schools, museums, printing presses, and YMCA chapters. They were, in short, engaged in institution building. Henry Winters Luce – the father of Henry Luce, who founded Time, Life, and Fortune magazines – exemplified this model of missionary. Instead of preaching in the streets, these men and women taught English and biology, coached basketball and track, managed hospitals, trained medical students, published scientific textbooks, ran YMCA chapters, and administrated colleges. Many of these institutions have long since vanished. However, a few have not only survived, but they have also evolved into elite institutions. Beijing University, Qinghua University, and Peking Union Medical College stand out as salient examples, but there are others. Taken collectively, these institutions contributed to China’s modernization in the twentieth century. How and why did the American missionary movement reinvent itself before 1900? This presentation by Dr. Haddad tells that story.

Dr. John R. Haddad teaches in Penn State Harrisburg’s B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs in American Studies. In the past, he has taught at Nankai University and Hong Kong University. He is the author of three books that explore the American experience in China. The material for this presentation comes from Cultures Colliding: American Missionaries, Chinese Resistance, and the Rise of Modern Institutions in China (Temple University Press, 2023). He has also written The Romance of China: Excursions to China in U.S. Culture, 1776-1876 (Columbia University Press, 2008) and America’s First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation (Temple University Press, 2013). Dr. Haddad resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his family.

1860年,第二次鸦片战争不平等条约签订以后,中国内地对外国传教活动全面开放。在美国的传教士在此开放中看到了上帝之手在运作,纷纷涌入中国去拯救灵魂。他们唯一的目的就是让中国人信奉基督教。他们的传教方式可被称作“云游布道”。驴背上长途旅行,传教士在中国农村建立了基地,在大街中央宣道,开设教堂,培训中国信徒当传教士。 他们深信自己的努力会让土生土长的教堂如雨后春笋一样遍地开花。在这一代传教士眼里,任何与修建教堂无关的事情,比如在学校教学,是在浪费时间、人力和金钱。他们的事业是传播福音,只此无它。小说家赛珍珠的父亲赛兆祥(Absalom Andrew Sydenstricker)便是这一派传教士的代表。

时间推进40年,到1900年,传教发生了巨大变化。除了少数坚守分子之外,传教士大多放弃了“云游布道”。 那他们做了些什么呢?他们建大中小学、医学院、博物馆、印刷馆和基督教青年会(YMCA)。简而言之,他们在营建各种机构。《时代》《生活》和《财富》杂志创始人、华美协进社的赞助者亨利·鲁斯(Henry Luce)的父亲亨利·温特斯·鲁斯(Henry Winters Luce)便是这种传教模式的典范。这些传教士不在街上传道,而转去教英文、教生物、当篮球和田径教练、管理医院、培训医科学生、印刷发行科学课本、开设基督教青年会、管理大学。这些机构很多后来销声匿迹了,可是也有少许不但生存下来了,而且成为精英机构。北京大学、清华大学和北京协和医学院是此精英机构的代表。这些精英机构作为一个整体为中国二十世纪的现代化做出了贡献。美国在华传教运动是如何在1900年之前重新打造自己的呢? 请于美东时间2023年3月11日晚8时至9时半(北京时间3月12日上午8时至9时半)听约翰·海达德教授(John R. Haddad)细细道来。

海达德教授为哈佛大学英语学士、耶鲁大学英语硕士、得克萨斯大学美国研究博士,现任教于宾州州立大学哈里斯堡分校美国研究系。他曾在中国南开大学及香港大学任教。海达德教授出版了三本探索美国人在中国经历的著作。本讲座的内容出自由美国天普大学2023年最新出版的《文化碰撞:美国传教士,中国人的抵制和中国现代机构的崛起》(Cultures Colliding: American Missionaries, Chinese Resistance, and the Rise of Modern Institutions in China )。另外两部著作是哥伦比亚大学2008年出版的《中国传奇:美国人眼里的中国》(The Romance of China: Excursions to China in U.S. Culture, 1776-1876 )和天普大学2013年出版的《美国人闯中国:贸易,条约,鸦片和赎罪》(America’s First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation)。海达德博士和家人现居宾州兰卡斯特市。

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