1st Edition

"A Model for All Christian Women" Candida Xu, a Chinese Christian Woman of the Seventeenth Century

By Gail King Copyright 2021
    178 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    Acknowledgments vii

    Preface by D.E. Mungello ix

    List of Abbreviations xiii

    Map: China in the time of Candida Xu xv

    Introduction 1

    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
    一位中國奉教太太 133

    Bibliography 135

    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.

     'The depiction of Candida Xu in this book (published in 2021) has broadened our horizon in rediscovering the life of women in Chinese Christianity.'

    - Wai-yin Christina WONG 黃慧賢, The Chinese University of Hong Kong