During the age of European colonialism, Jesus was first seen by many Asians as a tribal god of the firangis , or white Europeans. But as his story circulated, Asians remade Jesus, at times appreciatively and at other times critically. In a recently published book called Jesus in Asia , Professor RS Sugirtharajah situates the historical Jesus beyond the narrow confines of the West and offers an eye-opening new chapter in the story of global Christianity. Sugirtharajah demonstrates "how Buddhist and Taoist thought, combined with Christian insights, led to the creation of the Chinese Jesus Sutras, and explains the importance of a biography of Jesus composed in the sixteenth-century court of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He also brings to the fore the reconstructions of Jesus during the Chinese Taiping revolution, the Korean Minjung uprising, and the Indian and Sri Lankan anti-colonial movements", the synopsis for the book explains. This quest produced different biographies of Jesus depending on theological and ideological perspectives of a particular scholar.
“Jesus in Asia” by RS Sugirtharajah
The race and appearance of Jesus has been a topic of discussion since the days of early Christianity. Various theories about the race of Jesus have been proposed and debated. Now these documents are mostly considered forgeries. A wide range of depictions have appeared over the two millennia since Jesus's death, often influenced by cultural settings , political circumstances and theological contexts. These images are often based on second- or third-hand interpretations of spurious sources, and are generally not historically accurate. By the 19th century, theories that Jesus was non- Semitic were being developed, with writers suggesting he was variously white, black, Indian, or some other race. Jesus probably looked like a typical Judean Jewish man of his time.
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E ast is East, and West is West, but the twain did meet and influenced each other unpredictably. For instance, the post-colonial Asia encountered Christianity during its first interactions with the West. The fruit of such a meeting is the post-colonial religion that is practiced in different parts of the continent as Christianity. Jesus is a protagonist of the stories of transformation of thought and practice of the religion in Asia.
In themselves they are exceedingly different. Matthew was composed by the earliest group of Christians, called Jewish Christians. Luke came to Christianity from Graeco-Roman paganism. His viewpoint is like that of Paul and eventually prevailed in the course of Christianity. Both Matthew and Luke depend on Mark but supplement him.