AS 374 - History of the Spread of Christianity in Asia

This course traces the introduction and spread of Christianity in Asian history, focusing primarily on East Asia and giving special attention to Korea. It begins with an examination of Jesuit missions to Japan and China, as well as the role that India played in the establishment and maintenance of these missions. The different Jesuit strategies for accommodating or rejecting indigenous religious beliefs and customs are compared and considered, as well as the Nestorians in China much earlier. Then we turn to the unique way in which Catholicism was subsequently established in Korea, where Christianity has enjoyed unparalleled success in East Asia. We will look closely at how Christianity has affected and been affected by socio-political developments, its interactions with and influence upon traditional Asian religions, its relationship to nationalism since the late 19th century, and its tensions and conflict with colonialism and Communism in the 20th century. It concludes by asking what factors might have enabled Christianity to have such success in Korea (and the Philippines) and compare these to the situation in China and Japan.