"Tam Giao Chu' Vong" ["The Errors of the Three Religions"] a textual and analytical study of a Christian document on the practices of the three religious traditions in eighteenth-century Vietnam

Submitted by James Miller on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 15:23
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Title"Tam Giao Chu' Vong" ["The Errors of the Three Religions"] a textual and analytical study of a Christian document on the practices of the three religious traditions in eighteenth-century Vietnam
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsTran, A. Q.
Corporate AuthorsPhan, Peter C.
Academic DepartmentProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Date Published2011
PublisherGeorgetown University
Place PublishedUnited States -- District of Columbia
ISBN Number9781124563626
KeywordsAsian Studies, Religion, Theology
Abstract

Christianity has held a small but qualitatively significant presence in Vietnam since its arrival in 1533. Yet the knowledge of its early religio-cultural context has been sparse. This study intends to fill that lacuna through an annotated translation and analytical study of a 1752 missionary document entitled Tam Giáo Chu' Vo[dotbelow]ng [The Errors of the Three Religions]. This recently discovered anonymous manuscript, written in the Romanized script, paints a rich picture of the pre-modern beliefs and religious practices of Vietnamese tam giáo (the three religions, i.e., Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism). It evaluates not only the main teachings of the tam giáo, but also their many religious practices and rituals, especially on funeral rites and ancestor worship. In addition, it provides a trove of information on the challenges and struggles that the Christian converts had to face as they adapted themselves to the Vietnamese religious scene. Tam Giáo Chu' Vo[dotbelow]ng complements other writings written before or during the same period such as Matteo Ricci's Tianzhu Shiyi (1603), Alexandre de Rhodes's Cathechismus in octo dies divisus (1651), Adriano di Santa Thecla's Opusculum de sectis (1750), the anonymous Phép Giång Ða[dotbelow]o Thâ[dotbelow]t (1758), and Hô[dotbelow]i Ðô ng Tu ̧' Giáo (ca. 1800). To obtain a fuller picture of the tam giáo and of Vietnamese Christianity, a comparison between these texts and our manuscript will be carried out. While possibly offensive and outdated to the modern ear, Tam Giáo Chu' Vo[dotbelow]ng provides a critical evaluation of Vietnamese religious beliefs, rituals and customs, some of which are still practiced today. Further examined is how eighteenth-century Christians perceived the followers of other religions, particularly how a Christian writer understood and evaluated non-Christian religions. This study of the interaction between Christianity and the tam giáo sheds light on religious pluralism, inculturation, and interreligious dialogue -- an ongoing struggle in all the countries of East Asia where Christianity must dialogue with Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism.

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