February 29, 2008

Popularity of Christianity in Ancient China

by Rachael Grant

A damaged tombstone with scriptures of the Jingjiao or Nestorian Church, dating back to the ninth century, has added weight to the possibility that during the Tang Dynasty in China, Christianity was popular.

The tombstone, which also features pictures of crosses, was unearthed in Luoyang City in central Henan province in 2006. Luo Zhao, a teacher of religion from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences commented: “To be exact, the Christian text was a China-proper ontological thesis about the Christian theology written by a prelate who had been long living in China in the late eighth century”.

In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), tombstones with Buddhist texts were popular, but it was the first time that Jingjiao scriptures were discovered.

The stone tablet was unearthed by archaeologists in 1623, which illuminated, for the first time, the spreading of religion in half a century after it entered China.

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