chapter  5
23 Pages

Christian truths in the Andean and Chinese settings

Both the Doctrina christiana y Catecismo (DCC) and the Tianzhu Shiyi (TZSY) represent and embody a doctrine set out as dominant and authoritative enough to dismiss the catechisms that preceded them in the respective mission contexts of Peru and China. Both being catechisms, they approach core Christian truths: the existence of God – the Lord of Heaven in China – the creator of all things in the universe; that he is the only God of all men, who are endowed with a corruptible body and an immortal soul and who can either be rewarded in heaven or punished in hell. This chapter focuses on how these core Christian principles are interwoven

according to the specificity of the mission space in which they were introduced. In both spaces the missionaries had to make complex belief systems comprehensible by resorting to a familiar – and limited – canon of European concepts. In the China mission, the Jesuits soon found opponents who objected to their views and interpretation of Chinese thought. In fact, even the Jesuits themselves did not see eye to eye when it came to translating religion according to Confucian tenets. In Peru, the Spanish had consistently disparaged the Indians’ views of the world and tried to impose their own. The Andean population had to adapt, but adaptation never meant the abandonment of the their religious practices. Apart from exploring the interweaving of the Christian tenets, this chapter approaches the obstructed dialogues and miscommunications in the mission spaces.