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Chinese Theology
The Idea of Sino-Christian Theology

Broadly speaking, Sino-theology refers to all forms of theology expressed in Chinese language, and theology here means especially Christian theology.  Based on this definition, Sino-theology started from several centuries ago, including all ancient and modern Chinese writings about Christian faith.

Nevertheless, Sino-theology also bears a narrow definition.  A group of scholars interested in Christian religion has emerged in Mainland China since the 1980s.  They investigate the Christian faith from the perspectives of the human and social sciences.  The kind of theological discourse they developed is different from the ecclesial tradition.  This phenomenon has aroused extensive discussions in Chinese academic circles.  The proposals suggested by LIU Xiaofeng and HE Guanghu attracted most discussions

In this discussion, “Sino-” means the modern written language of most Chinese people living in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other overseas Chinese communities.  Therefore, although scholars are limited by their own contexts in constructing theology, Sino-theology is first of all not defined in terms of geographical area.  It is intended to be an inclusive category parallel to theologies written in English, German, French and so on.

In light of this, a major theme concerning Sino-theology is the relation between the Christian faith and Chinese as the expressing medium.  Related issues include how to deal with the overlapping relation between language, culture, economic and political situation, etc., the relation of the above-mentioned theological resources with divine revelation, and the relation between Sino-theology and other theologies.

Moreover, since most scholars involved expressed Sino-theology in the human and social sciences, the pressing issue also concerns various problems in constructing Christian discourse in modern Chinese academic context.  This includes the possibility and difficulties of expressing, the identity of the theologians, the relation between academic and ecclesial theology, the relation between individual existential faith experience and the religious traditions of different faith communities, etc.