How Does a Foreign Religion Thrive in an Indigenous Culture? A Comparative Study of the Spread of Foreign Religions in the Chinese-Speaking Cultural Sphere

Wei-Ding Tsai: Tunghai University



Religion can be considered, on one hand, to be a human practice dependent on its own culture. On the other hand, religion is also a system of beliefs with a dogmatic character. Because religion has the tendency to preserve its cultural form, it therefore encounters a paradoxical problem of adaptation when it spreads within a foreign cultural area: How can an extending religion retain both its own cultural core as well as be adaptable and modifiable, in order to be accepted by other foreign cultures? Through a comparison of the history of the spread of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam within the Chinese-speaking cultural sphere before the early 1900s, this essay intends to shed light on the hermeneutic process of the intercultural adaptation of foreign religions.


religious conversion, hermeneutics, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, China

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