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Professor Joshua Brown Contributes to New Edition of Chinese Catholic Classic

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Catholic publishing house Ignatius Press has published a new edition of “Ways of Confucius and of Christ,” featuring an introduction and notations from Associate Professor of Theology Joshua Brown, Ph.D.

joshua-brown-452.452-in-text.jpgPierre-Celestin Lu, O.S.B., an abbot in a Benedictine monastery in Belgium who was originally from China and served for decades as a diplomat in his home country, originally wrote “Ways of Confucius and of Christ” in 1948. It is a collection of talks he gave to fellow monks during the Nazi occupation of Belgium.

Brown, who has taught theology at the Mount for the past six years, was inspired to begin this project after reading Chinese biographies of Lu, whose birth name is Lu Zhengxiang. Brown discovered how few editions of “Ways of Confucius and of Christ” were available for purchase, and how expensive they were.

“I felt compelled to keep Lu’s story accessible for readers today, and…wanted to help the readers who didn’t know much about the history of Christianity in China or Chinese politics to appreciate Lu’s story, so I offered to write an introduction (the original work had none) and add a good number of notes throughout lu_1-in-text.jpgthe book to explain Lu’s references for the modern reader. I also updated the Chinese romanization in the text to modern Pinyin,” shared Brown.

Brown, whose wife Jamie is Malaysian Chinese, became interested in Chinese history and culture during their relationship. After converting to Catholicism around the time they became parents, Brown wanted to find a way to pass on his faith and his wife’s heritage to their children.

“I was invested in trying to discern how to help build a home founded on Catholic faith and Chinese values. Over time I simply fell in love with the Chinese language as a vehicle of philosophical and theological ideas, and with the stories and virtues of Chinese philosophers and Chinese Christians,” he explained.

Brown expressed his hope that readers of “Ways of Confucius and of Christ” will come to admire Lu and his insight and learn more about the rich tradition of Catholicism in China, and Chinese culture and thought. Brown also noted that “Lu wrote his book during the Nazi occupation of Belgium, and he offered it as a word of hope in dark times. In that vein, I hope that all readers, but especially those who look about them and wonder if God has abandoned them, can learn from Lu about the goodness and faithfulness of God.”

“Ways of Confucius and of Christ,” featuring Brown’s additions, is available for purchase on Ignatius Press’s website.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19