Dissertation: Union and communion: The mystical spirituality of James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), by Judy Elise Lam

Judy Lam's doctoral thesis explores the mystical teachings of James Hudson Taylor, a British Protestant missionary in China. By placing Taylor's spiritual writings within the Christian mystical tradition, Lam shows how his mysticism was essential to understanding his missionary work. Here is Lam's introduction:

James Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) in 1865, was one of the most prominent 19th century British Protestant missionaries in China. Despite his profound influence on Chinese Church history, Protestant missions, and the ‘faith missions’ movement, his mystical spirituality has not received the attention it deserves. This groundbreaking study brings Taylor’s mystical wisdom to the fore and augments its relevance for contemporary soul discourse. By exploring his leitmotif of union and communion as hermeneutical key to his mystical spirituality, the multilayered contours of his soul landscape are examined (mystical text, mystical transformation, and mystical path). The research draws mainly from a selection of Taylor’s spiritual writings from mid-life onwards, namely:  John's Gospel (the Exchanged Life); the Song of Songs (Union and Communion); and mystical cum missionary motifs in Paul's writings (faith, hope, love and grace). By blending biblical spirituality and resonances with the Western Christian mystical tradition, 'Hudson Taylor' is posited as a Christian mystic cum missionary on several levels: as a bridal mystic of the Song of Songs' tradition, a beloved disciple of the Fourth Gospel, and a man ‘in Christ’, a mystic cum missionary, who stands on the shoulders of the apostle Paul.  

Lam's dissertation is freely available online.

Blog tags