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Borrowed Gods and Foreign BodiesChristian Missionaries Imagine Chinese Religion$
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Eric Reinders

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241718

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241718.001.0001

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The Spectacle of Missionary Bodies

The Spectacle of Missionary Bodies

(p.175) Chapter 12 The Spectacle of Missionary Bodies
Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies

Eric Reinders

University of California Press

This chapter explores how the foreignness of Western missionaries in China became embodied experiences. It discusses the body problems faces by missionaries and suggests that the most serious problems of inter-cultural interaction were bodily. The most intractable scandal of foreign bodies was the refusal of the missionaries and their converts to bow to the emperor. This chapter also highlights the tensions between the impulse toward the indigenization of the missionaries and their concern that the essential Gospel would be lost or corrupted through careless nativization.

Keywords:   Western missionaries, foreignness, China, body problems, inter-cultural interaction, indigenization, nativization

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