When Marco Polo described his travels across China in the late 13th century, he wrote of seeing “Nestorian” Christians in many towns, some of whom were high government officials. Scholars now know that this eastern form of Christianity was to be found in China already in AD 635. Besides the enigmatic crosses in the museum exhibit, other archaeological finds have slowly enlarged our knowledge of this movement. This illustrated lecture will trace the origins of this first appearance of Christianity in China, and describe what is known – and what remains unknown—about it.
Dr. Glen L. Thompson is the Academic Dean and Prof. of New Testament and Historical Theology at the Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. He has lectured internationally on the history and spread of Christianity, and the cultural exchanges resulting from it. He is an expert on the Church of the East (Jing Jiao-Nestorianism).