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Title: A contemporary Christian response to ancestor practice in China
Author: Mak, Siu Fai
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 0718
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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The objective of this thesis is to discover if it is possible to develop a Biblically -based solution to the pastoral and missiological problem associated with ancestor practice. There are three parts in the thesis. The aim of Part I is to trace the origin and development of ancestor practice up to the present. I propose that: (1) ancestor practice has its socio- political, religious and cultural dimensions, (2) its origin lies in the ancestor quest, and (3) it has undergone three historical developments: an orientation period, a de- orientation period and a re- orientation period. From this study, it is better to hold a holistic approach to ancestor practice and avoid any reductionism. The purpose of Part II is to describe missionaries in China and their encounter with ancestor practice. Their entries are explained as three encounters: with the Nestorians a religious encounter, with the Catholics a cultural encounter and with the Protestants a socio- political encounter. I conclude that from the experience of these historical encounters the best possible way to tackle the issue of the acceptability of ancestor practices for Christians is to approach the problem from a `both /and' perspective. The plan of Part III is to apply some Biblical principles to the issue of ancestor practice and work out a theological model (with Chinese characteristics) to tackle it. Three suggestions are proposed: (1) a biblical -theological perspective towards its socio- political dimension, (2) a pastoral perspective towards its religious dimension, and finally (3) a missiological perspective towards its cultural dimension. I argue for the potential acceptability of the veneration of the ancestors for Christians but I also discuss the `fallen' state of the traditional rites. In transforming traditional ancestor practice, a ritual transcendence is proposed to demythologise the beliefs of ancestor veneration and transform its traditional practices into modern social and civil practices in accordance with both the Christian faith and Chinese tradition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available