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Moralized Entertainment: Chinese Catholic Biblical Drama in the Republican Era

Harvard-Yenching Institute hosts a talk by John T.P. Lai on biblical opera in the Republican Era

March 8, 2016 12:00pm to 1:30pm

John T. P. Lai (Associate Professor in Religious Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair/discussant: David Wang (Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department, Harvard University)
Co-sponsored with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
After the collapse of the Qing imperial regime in 1911, a corpus of dramatic texts, chiefly representations of biblical stories, were published by Catholic presses in Shanghai and Sienhsien (Hebei Province) during the Republican era (1912-49). Some remarkable biblical tales were dramatized in a variety of traditional Chinese operas, folk performing arts and modern vernacular plays. These performative texts were periodically put on stage in Catholic churches, schools, and orphanages during religious festivals for the purposes of both entertainment and edification. This talk investigates the contexts and ways in which biblical narratives were transformed into Chinese dramas; and the ethical values and religious messages these works attempted to convey.

Phone Number: 
(617) 495-3369