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One of the most precarious and daunting tasks for sixteenth-century European missionaries in the cross-cultural mission frontiers was translating the name of «God» (Deus) into the local language. When the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) introduced the Chinese term Shangti as the semantic equivalent of Deus, he made one of the most innovative cross-cultural missionary translations. Ricci’s employment of Shangti was neither a simple rewording of a Chinese term nor the use of a loan-word, but was indeed a risk-taking «identification» of the Christian God with the Confucian Most-High, Shangti. Strange Names of God investigates the historical progress of the semantic configuration of Shangti as the divine name of the Christian God in China by focusing on Chinese intellectuals’ reaction to the strangely translated Chinese name of God.
About the Author
The Author: Sangkeun Kim received his Ph.D. in Mission, Ecumenics and History of Religions from Princeton Theological Seminary with the honor of magna cum laude. He is Assistant Professor of Missiology and History of Religions at Yonsei University, Korea, as well as the author of From the Fall of Jerusalem to the Rise of Southern Christianity and 30 People Who Changed the Course of Christian History.