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New Songs for China: The Contextualisation of Hymnology in the 1920s and 1930s

by Dr Rowena Ruiwen CHEN, Lecturer in Chinese History at Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Hong Kong Anglican Church), Adjunct Lecturer of School of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Read and Red
Date                 14 February 2017
Time                 4:30pm
Venue               AG710
The talk will be conducted in English.

Abstract
This talk will investigate the contextualisation of Chinese hymns through the creative collaboration between T. C. Chao (1888-1979), perhaps China’s greatest twentieth century theologian, and Bliss Wiant (1895-1975), an American missionary and musicologist, in the 1920s and 1930s. We will explore their creative interpretations of hymn translations, hymn writing, and music through two hymnals produced by Chao and Wiant, Christian Fellowship Hymns and Hymns for the People (both 1931). They have made a lasting and unique contribution to Chinese hymnody, an important but so far neglected area in the study of the history of Christianity and contextual theology in China.

About the Speaker
Dr. Rowena Ruiwen CHEN (陳睿文), Lecturer in Chinese History at Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Hong Kong Anglican Church), Adjunct Lecturer of School of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Her research focuses on the history of Christianity in China and Chinese Christian music. Her books include Fragrant Flowers Bloom; T. C. Chao, Bliss Wiant and the Contextualization of Hymns in Twentieth Century China (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2015); All Generations Shall Call You Blessed: The History of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui St. Mary’s Church (1912-2012) (Hong Kong: Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, 2014. Co-authored with Philip L. Wickeri in Chinese).

She has held piano recitals in 2003 and 2010, and she has been an accompanying pianist in the churches in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Her hymn compositions include “The Rough Path” and “Asking”.

 

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