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The Logos and the Dao:

John C.H. Wu’s Catholic Witness

to China's Spiritual Traditions

Public Lecture by Robert Gimello,

Professor Emeritus, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame

Cosponsored by the sociology and religious studies departments at Santa Clara University.

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Wednesday 10 April 2019

5:30 PM - reception to follow


Benson Parlors B & C

Santa Clara University Campus

Santa Clara, CA 95050

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About the Talk


In Chinese thought the Dao is the inner principle of all things, present in all things but transcending each. In the Gospel of John, the Logos is the Word, spoken by God, by which God constitutes all that is. What do these lines of thought have to do with one another? Is one right and the other wrong? Are they saying the same thing but with different imagery?
In his day, renaissance scholar John C.H. Wu (吳經熊) was able to explore the underlying points of contact between Chinese and Western spirituality, as well as the differences that allowed one to illuminate the other. A great figure of twentieth century thought during an important period of encounter between China and the West, his insights continue to inspire us today.
In his reflections on John Wu, famed international scholar Robert Gimello provides an introduction to his life and work. More, in a day when many increasingly find differences threatening and divisive, Gimello draws on John Wu to show what Christians can learn from Chinese thought. Rather than difference being a threat, it can open up new perspectives within one’s own tradition.

About Robert Gimello


Robert M. Gimello is Research Professor Emeritus of Theology at the University of Notre Dame,
and a Fellow of the Liu Institute for Asia & Asian Studies. He is most known for his study of
Buddhism, especially medieval and early modern Buddhist thought. At Notre Dame he is
concerned to contribute to the formulation of robust Catholic theological perspectives on
Buddhism. Prior to Notre Dame, he taught at Harvard University for nine years, the University of
Arizona, UC Santa Barbara, Dartmouth, and even several Buddhist universities abroad.

When Professor Gimello was an undergrad at Seton Hall University, he was a student of John C. H. Wu. In accepting the invitation to speak, Professor Gimello writes, John Wu “was for me a
crucial formative influence on my development as a scholar, a model of Chinese learning, and an inspiring example of the ways in which learned respect for Asian thought and religion can be
combined with faith in Christ. My debt to Wu cannot really be repaid, but I am glad of the
chance to make at least a gesture in that direction by offering a lecture in your new series.”

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Parking & Location


Talk Location:

Benson Parlors B & C,

in the Benson Memorial Center,

SCU Campus

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SCU Main Entrance:

500 El Camino Real


Available at the Main Parking Structure at a modest fee.

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