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This new book, Meaning and Controversy within Chinese Ancestor Religion, is written by Dr. Paulin Batairwa Kubuya. Please order the book here.

  • Investigates the dynamics of interpretation behind ancestor related practices across cultural boundaries.
  • Focuses on contrasting assessments by of ancestor practices by foreign interpreters.
  • Offers detailed analysis int the discrepancies between indigenous and foreign interpretations.

About the Book

Chinese practices related to ancestors have long been the subject of conflicting interpretations. These practices are rooted in the lived experience of practitioners, and therefore need to be considered as embodied expressions of the quest for existential meaning. For practitioners, the achievement of existential meaning requires the inclusion, implication, and mediation of the ancestors. When gestures in ancestor rites are analyzed from this perspective it is possible to appreciate their essence as constitutive of “ancestor religion.” This book uses an inquisitive method that investigates the discrepancies between foreign and local explanations, and proposes another hermeneutic framework for ancestor related praxes.

About the Author

Paulin Batairwa Kubuya is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University and Executive Secretary of Taiwan Regional Bishops’ Conference-Commissions for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism.



“Paulin Batairwa Kubuya builds a refined hermeneutical space in which he reconsiders various interpretations, both local and foreign, of ritual practices for the ancestors within the context of Chinese religion. By locating these practices in a wider intercultural setting, through the use of numerous examples drawn from Christian traditions and African religiosities, the book is a valid contribution, from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, that sheds new light on a complex, though fascinating, topic.” (Alessandro Dell’Orto, Urbaniana University Centre for Chinese Studies, Rome, Italy) “Meaning and Controversy in Chinese Ancestor Religion focuses on Chinese ancestor related praxes in the context of a hermeneutic of contacts between cultures and religions. It is an important contribution to the study of Chinese religion that will help all religious scholars to rediscover the subtleties and significance of ancestor related praxes.”  (Yi-Jia Tsai, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan)

“This is an indepth and diligent examination of issues of ancestor worship in China. It draws on the author’s critical reading and insights as an African intellectual. The whole book is thought-provoking, and the conclusion as well, when it states that ancestor worship is more correctly to be called ‘ancestor religion,’ and that it is here to stay even in the world of modernity.” (Umberto Bresciani, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan)


Kim, Grace Ji-Sun (Ed), Cheah, Joseph (Ed)

Asian American theology is still at its nascent stage. It began in the 1980’s with just a handful of scholars who were recent immigrants to the United States. Now with the rise in Asian American population and the rise of Asian American theologians, this new community is an ever-important voice within theological discourse and Asian American cultural studies. This new series seeks to bring to the forefront some of the important, provocative new voices within Asian American Theology. The series aims to provide Asian American theological responses to the complex process of migration and resettlement process of Asian immigrants and refugees. We will address theoretical works on the meaning of diaspora, exile, and social memory, and the foundational works concerning the ways in which displaced communities remember and narrate their experiences. Such an interdisciplinary approach entails intersectional analysis between Asian American contextual theology and one other factor; be it sexuality, gender, race/ethnicity, and/or cultural studies. This series also addresses Christianity from Asian perspectives. We welcome manuscripts that examine the identity and internal coherence of the Christian faith in its encounters with different Asian cultures, with Asian people, the majority of whom are poor, and with non-Christian religions that predominate the landscape of the Asian continent. Palgrave is embarking on a transformation of discourse within Asian and Asian American theological scholarship as this will be the first of its kind. As we live in a global world in which Christianity has re-centered itself in the Global South and among the racialized minorities in the United States, it behooves us to listen to the rich, diverse and engaging voices of Asian and Asian American theologians.