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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 1.1 (2018): 142–158;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in the West)

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Research and Commentaries on Buddhism by Norwegian Missionary Karl Ludvig Reichelt

SUN Yiping
Nanjing Univeristy

Abstract: During the Republic of China period, the Norwegian missionary Karl Ludvig Reichelt 艾香德 (1877–1952) and his family were sent to China by the Norwegian Missionary Society (Nuowei wai bang chuan jiaohui 挪威外邦傳教會). Influenced by the period’s revival of Buddhist culture, and especially the lay Buddhism, Reichelt gradually realised that ‘without studying Buddhism, one hasn’t the means to evangelise’. As a result, he diligently studied and came to an understanding of Buddhism. He even established ‘Christian Centres’ (Jidujiao conglin 基督教叢林) in Nanjing and later Hong Kong in order to spread Christianity throughout China by a Buddhist-inspired method. He also launched the ‘Religious Unity Movement’ (Zongjiao lianhe yundong 宗教聯合運動), which promoted mutual understanding and dialogue between religions. The Buddhism-inspired methods used by Reichelt to disseminate Christianity have always led to a great deal of controversy, but it cannot be disputed that he advanced understanding between European and Eastern cultures and fostered interactions between Buddhism and Christianity. The religious dialogues he fostered have had a positive impact that continues to this day.

Keywords: Karl Ludvig Reichelt, Buddhist research, Christian Centre, religious dialogues


About the Author: Sun Yiping, Doctor of History, is a professor and doctoral supervisor in the Philosophy Department and Religious Studies Department at Nanjing University, and has received the ‘Government Special Allowance’ for her expertise. Dr. Sun was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University. Currently, Dr. Sun is a council member for the Chinese Society of Religious Studies, the vice-president for the Association for Research on Laozi and Daoist Culture, and a specially appointed professor in the Wenjing Jiangtan 文津講壇 lecture series hosted by the National Library. She has published more than 10 monographs, including East Asian Daoist Studies 東亞道教研究 (2014), Critical Biography of Du Guangting 杜光庭評傳 (2005), Daoist Philosophy and Faith 道教的思想與信仰 (2008), Transition of Daoist Religion in the Tang and Song Dynasty 唐宋道教的轉型 (2018), Daoist Culture 道教文化 (2009), Daoist Religion in Japan 道教在日本 (2016), and Daoist Religion in Korea 道教在韓國 (2016). Dr. Sun is the chief editor for Summary of the Famous Works on Western Religious Studies 西方宗教學名著提要. She has also published more than 130 articles in Chinese and Western journals, including Philosophical Researches 哲學研究 and Studies in World Religions 世界宗教研究. She has directed and completed several national projects, including projects hosted by the Ministry of Education. Dr. Sun has received a dozens of provincial and national awards for her research achievements.


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