From James Legge to Evangeline Edwards: The role of Scottish and other missionaries in the formation of sinology in Britain

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Abstract

Over the last half-century, the foreign missionary movement from the West has attracted much academic scrutiny from historians of imperial encounters with indigenous peoples. More recently, scholars have also begun to draw attention to the significance of missionaries, former missionaries or their progeny, as repositories of specialist linguistic and cultural knowledge of Asia and Africa who were indispensable to Western governments and universities and whose influence was sometimes formative in shaping conceptions of the non-European world. This article addresses one aspect of this broader theme, namely the leading role played by missionaries or former missionaries in the development of the academic discipline of sinology in Britain. Particular emphasis is placed on the contributions of two missionaries with strong connections to Scotland. One of these, James Legge, is well known. The other, Evangeline (‘Eve’) Dora Edwards, has been almost entirely forgotten.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalScottish Church History
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Chinese Christianity
  • Sinology
  • Missionaries
  • Scottish history

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