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Salt and Light in China


Adding to my recent list of Ten Books on Christianity, I'd like to also commend the three volumes of Salt and Light: Lives of Faith that Shaped Modern China, by Carol Lee Hamrin and Stacey Bieler.

While most books about Christianity in China are usually centered on the work of foreign missionaries, these volumes focus on the lives and work of Chinese Christians throughout the twentieth century. Here is the description of Volume 1 on Amazon:

Salt and Light presents the life stories of outstanding Chinese Christians who, as early modernizers, promoted China's nation building and moral progress in the early twentieth century. Lively anecdotes and photographs highlight the strong character of ten pioneers in the modern professions of education, medicine, journalism, and diplomacy. These professionals were motivated by faith to introduce practical social reforms and build up China's civil society. They modeled and promoted virtues essential to social progress during the "golden age" of Chinese Protestantism. Their stories touch on themes important in today's global era: patterns of cooperation between foreign and Chinese partners, the contributions to China of Western-educated professionals, Christianity's role in furthering East-West understanding and exchanges, and the transnational nature of modern Chinese Christianity. The editors and authors articulate the importance of recovering China's Christian heritage as part of world Christianity.

And Volume 2:

The hidden seeds of the Christian renewal in China today include the outstanding Chinese Christians in Salt and Light 2, a dozen new life stories with lively anecdotes and photographs. These reformers made lasting contributions that shaped modern China. Working out of the limelight in their professions, they had quiet but powerful influence on early twentieth-century civil society. Motivated by their faith, they modeled essential virtues. This series helps recover a lost Christian heritage linked closely to a legacy of East-West cooperation in an earlier global era.

And Volume 3:

In this centennial year of China's 1911 Revolution, Volume 3 in the Salt and Light series includes the life stories of influential Chinese who played a political or military role in the new Republic that emerged. Recovering this precious legacy of faith in action shows the deep roots of the revival of Christian faith in China today.

I would also suggest making frequent visits to the companion website Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, which continues to add new stories.

Volume 1 has been translated into Chinese and published in China by ZDL Books. If you are in China, or wish to purchase it for someone in China, you can do so directly from ZDL or from Baojiayin.

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio