This biography of Candida Xu (1607–1680), granddaughter of the prominent Chinese Christian convert and statesman Xu Guangqi (1562–1633) and foremost Chinese Christian woman of the seventeenth century, is based on the biography of Candida Xu titled Histoire d’une dame chrétienne de la Chine (Paris, 1688) written by her confessor Philippe Couplet, S.J. (1623–1693), an obituary of his mother and other writings by her eldest son, and the Xu family history. Using these as well as other relevant European missionary and Chinese language sources, Candida Xu’s life as daughter, wife, mother, and generous contributor to the Christian Church is recounted. Events in her life are set in the context of historical and religious circumstances in China at the time. Consideration of the situation of women, particularly Christian women, draws out how Candida Xu’s faith helped her and other believing Christian women to gain greater freedom of choice and action.
Table of Contents
Preface by D.E. Mungello ix
List of Abbreviations xiii
Map: China in the time of Candida Xu xv
Chapter One: Roots of the Xu Family: The Generations before Candida Xu 15
Chapter Two: Childhood and Married Life 31
Chapter Three: The Widowed Years 63
Chapter Four: The Legacy of Candida Xu 99
Appendix 1: "Baolun tang gao" 寶倫堂稿. Autobiographical Preface by Hesha 鶴沙 (Xu Zuanzeng 許纘曾). Translation of Portions Related to Candida Xu 115
Appendix 2: Xu Zuanzeng’s Biography of His Mother Candida Xu. Translation of
"Compendio de la vida y la muerte de Doña Candida, sacado de un librito,
que imprimió su hijo D. Basilio Hiù." Translated by Matt Hill 121
Appendix 3: Xu Yunxi, Foreword to the 1938 edition of Yiwei Zhongguo fengjiao taitai
Index with Glossary 155
Gail King was born and raised in a small farming town in Colorado in the western U.S. She received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Colorado, worked as a bookmobile librarian in Colorado for four years, and completed an M.A. and Ph.D. (1982) in Chinese Literature at the University of Chicago. From October 1982 until retirement in May 2019 she served as the Asian Studies Librarian in the Harold B. Lee Library of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Selected for The Society for the Study of Chinese Religions Celebration of First Books at the AAS Annual Meeting (March 26, 2022), featuring books that exemplify new groundbreaking work in the study of Chinese Religions.