proclaimed itself protector of all Catholic missions of whatever nationality, succeeded both in moderating the ban on Christianity by an imperial edict of toleration, and in gaining the concession that former church buildings should be restored to Catholic ownership. Although foreigners were supposed to be limited to the five port cities stipulated in the treaties, the existence of old-established Catholic communities in the interior caused many missionary priests to travel widely, and their newly established legal privilege of extraterritoriality (which they enjoyed with all foreigners) made them relatively immune from harsh treatment by Chinese authorities. The late 1840s and 1850s were a period of rejuvenation for Catholic missions, with many new missionaries from several orders arriving (almost sixty Jesuits alone). This was also a period of suppression and eradication by the European missionaries of some of the patterns of indigenous Chinese clergy and lay leadership that had emerged in the long decades of absence of the Europeans, especially in old Catholic strongholds like those in Jiangsu province. The coerciveness and insensitivity of the reimposition of European control in the 1840s caused a near-revolt in the Catholic communities in Jiangsu. From this period on, European hegemony in the Catholic Church would prevail until well into the twentieth century.

Before i860 Protestant missionaries had no significant number of converts beyond the five coastal treaty port cities where they were permitted to reside under provisions of the treaties of the 1840s. The one exception to this pattern was the successful evangelisation in the 1850s of some communities of Hakka (Chinese people, but of distinct ethnicity and culture) in Guangdong province. Although linked to the Basel Mission in Hong Kong, the evangelisation was the work of Hakka Christians, some being products of Karl Gützlaff's ill-fated Chinese Christian Union of the late 1840s, which used native evangelists based in Hong Kong to penetrate and distribute Scriptures in the interior. Gützlaff's scheme, reviled as a disaster by missionary opinion because of its abuses, was in many ways a precursor of indigenisation policies of the twentieth century. With fewer than a hundred missionaries in the five port cities as late as i860, in these years some Protestants continued the foundational literary work of previous decades. A new and erudite translation of the Bible in classical style, the 'Delegates' Version', was produced with much effort and considerable controversy over the proper term for God; it became the most popular translation for decades, until efforts later in the century to create a more usable translation resulted in the vernacular 'Union Version,' finally published in 1919. The 1840s also saw James Legge (1815-97) of the LMS, soon after arrival in Hong

Kong, take up his monumental decades-long task of translating (with capable

0 0

Post a comment