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Timothy Richard, World Religion, and Reading Christianity in Buddhist Garb 1

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This article examines some of the published works of the missionary Timothy Richard (1845 - 1919), and analyzes how his mission experience played a foundational role in his study of religion. It argues that his work and his approach to Chinese religions challenged established views of the relationships between the world religions held by his contemporaries. The latter section focuses on his studies of Mahāyāna Buddhism and how they sought a familiar religious revelation clad in foreign clothing. Finally it suggests that his experience might complicate our picture of orientalist scholarship in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Résumé Cet article se penche sur certaines publications du missionnaire Timothy Richard (1845 - 1919) et montre comment son expérience de la mission joua un rôle fondamental dans son étude de la religion. Le texte avance que son travail et sa perspective sur les religions chinoises remit en cause les approches dominantes de ses contemporains à propos de la relation entre les grandes religions du monde. La deuxième partie du texte se concentre sur ses études du bouddhisme Mahāyāna et sur la façon dont ces études cherchèrent une révélation religieuse familière par-delà une apparente étrangeté. L’article suggère que son expérience complique probablement nos vues sur l’orientalisme à la fin du 19e et au début du 20e siècle.

Affiliations: 1: Columbia University, New York, USA


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