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On The Term ‘Nestorianism’ And The Early Chinese Terms For Christianity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly discusses the origins, meaning and Chinese alternatives for the term 'Nestorianism'. It introduces the origins of the Church of the East relevant for the study of the Christians in Inner Mongolia under the Mongols. The term 'Nestorian Church' was coined after the Council of Ephesus of 431, when Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, debated the nature of Christ and of the Virgin Mary. The second rise of Christianity in China started with the ascent of the Khitan, resulting in the Western Liao dynasty, and faded away after the collapse of the Mongol Yuan dynasty in 1368. It is commonly accepted that there is no link between the Tang dynasty Christians and the Christians of the second period. The chapter concludes by selecting the Chinese terms and terminology used in the chapter.

Keywords:chinese terms; Mongol; Nestorianism; Tang dynasty



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