The Spirit and the Flesh in Shandong, 16501785
- Publish Date: 2001-03-21
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: D. E. Mungello
In the spring of 1738, Fr. Bernardino Bevilacqua was hustled out of Shandong to quiet the uproar over his sexual seduction of young Chinese converts. Fr. Alessio Randanini followed him to Macau in 1741. The story of this scandal has remained largely untold for nearly three centuries. Among Christians in Shandong and southern Zhili provinces during the years 1650-1785, the spirit and the flesh lived in constant tension as the aspirations of the spirit (faith, hope, love, devotion, mercy, and piety) contended with the passions of the flesh (hatred, jealousy, lust, and pride). The Spirit and the Flesh in Shandong tells the deeply human story of the introduction of Christianity to a provincial region in China where European missionaries shared the poverty and isolation of their Chinese flocks. Their close personal relationships led to intellectual and pastoral collaboration, suppression, an underground church, imprisonment, apostasy and martyrdom as well as peasant secret society affiliations, self-flagellation, and sexual seduction. In the remote villages of this region, the missionaries and their converts lived out their pious aspirations and eternal damnations under a darkening sky of growing anti-Christian policies from the capital.