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Christian Theology in a Chinese Idiom: Reshaping the Conversation

Presented by: Dr. Jesse Ciccotti, Ph.D.

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This event is part of

Exploring Christianity and Culture in China:

Today and Yesterday


A collaborative public lecture series hosted by

the US-China Catholic Association, ChinaSource, and the China Academic Consortium

Thursday, June 10, 2021

7:00 PM–8:30 PM US Central Daylight Time


The Christian theological conversation spans two millennia. Recently, however, more and more scholars have begun to recognize that, in the words of Andrew Walls, “the theological agenda is cultural induced; and the cross-cultural diffusion of Christian faith invariably makes creative theological activity a necessity.” What does that look like in practice? Doesn’t that lead to syncretism? Can’t we just teach a pure gospel?

In this webinar, Dr. Jesse Ciccotti will investigate theologizing in Chinese contexts by first discussing theology as an “idiomatic activity,” that is, an activity by which Christian thought is expressed in ways that are natural to a cultural native. He will then highlight key Chinese cultural material in Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism and illustrate these with examples. He will close with a discussion of the relevance of cross-cultural theological creativity, as well as highlight its risks.

Dr. Jesse Ciccotti holds a PhD in Comparative Philosophy from Hong Kong Baptist University and an MA in Chinese Philosophy from Wuhan University. He and his family lived in China for 12 years. 


Jesse Ciccotti’s primary research area in philosophy has led him down several interdisciplinary paths, one of which is historical studies of Christianity in China, regarding the transmission of the Christian message across cultural boundaries, examining the lives and works of Chinese Christians and foreign missionaries to China. His work for the Center for Global Christianity and Mission focuses on the recently opened online archive of Chinese Christian posters.

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about Dr. Jesse Ciccotti

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Christian Theology in a Chinese Idiom

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