Heaven in Conflict
Franciscans and the Boxer Uprising in Shanxi
One of the most violent episodes of China's Boxer Uprising was the Taiyuan Massacre of 1900, in which rebels killed foreign missionaries and thousands of Chinese Christians. This first sustained scholarly account of the uprising to focus on Shanxi Province illuminates the religious and cultural beliefs on both sides of the conflict and shows how they came to clash.
Although Franciscans were the first Catholics to settle in China, their stories have rarely been explored in accounts of Chinese Christianity. Anthony Clark remedies that exclusion and highlights the roles of Franciscan nuns and their counterparts among the Boxers-the Red Lantern girls-to argue that women's involvement was integral on both sides of the conflict. Drawing on rich archival records and intertwining religious history with political, cultural, and environmental factors, Clark provides a fresh perspective on a pivotal encounter between China and the West.
A significant and superb contribution to modern Chinese history as well as to Catholic Mission history, and should trends in the academic profession break in the right way . . . it could become something of a trailblazer in a new and necessary mode of spirit-informed history-writing.
[A] welcome addition to what one hopes will become a growing scholarly discussion on the development of Christianity in Shanxi. . . . The author delivers his account in an easy, empathetic style, reflecting the autobiographical nature of the more unique archival material he has explored. . . . Helps the reader to move beyond simplistic understandings of the actors as Chinese savages and/or Western barbarians.
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