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Academic Staff


Prof. Lauren F. Pfister


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 I. Education
  • 1987 PhD University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Comparative Philosophy
  • 1982 MA San Diego State University, Philosophy
  • 1978 MDiv Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, Denver
  • 1973 BA University of Denver, American Studies
 II. Professional Positions (since 1987)
  • Director, Centre for Sino-Christian Studies
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities Fellow, David C. Lam for East-West Studies
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Chinese Philosophy
  • Distinguished Adjunct Researcher, IPCLC, Renmin University
  • Interdisciplinary Studies of Modern and Contemporary Sinologists' Classical Translations and Chinese Works

Jointly appointed as Professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department as well as the Humanities course at Hong Kong Baptist University, Lauren Pfister has lived in Hong Kong with his family since 1987. Serving as Associate Editor for the Journal of Chinese Philosophy since 1997, he has continued to pursue research in 19th and 20th century Ruist philosophy, the history of sinology, as well as comparative philosophical and comparative religious studies. He serves also as the Director of the Center for Sino-Christian Research at Hong Kong Baptist University and a Research Fellow of the Research Center for Chinese Philosophy and Culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Recent publications include works on the development of philosophical hermeneutics in Chinese contexts, questions related to environmental ethics in traditional Chinese teachings, and a philosophical account of the multi-dimensional nature of transformation in Chinese philosophy and culture. Long term research interests include the role of Christian missionary-scholars in China (especially James Legge (理雅各 1815-1897), Ernst Faber (花之安1839-1899), Richard Wilhelm (衛禮賢1873-1930), Seraphin Couvreur (顧賽芬 1835-1919), and Solomon Caesar Malan (馬智庫1812-1894) among others), their relationship to the emergence of the “philosophy” and “religious studies” in modern China, , as well as evaluative studies of Feng Youlan’s (馮友蘭1895-1990) philosophical system, New Principle(-centered) Learning 新理學, and his various histories of Chinese philosophy.

A two volume work entitled Striving for ‘The Whole Duty of Man’: James Legge and the Scottish Protestant Encounter with China was published by Peter Lang in 2004. A full Chinese translation of this work is now being prepared by a small team of Chinese translators for Commercial Press in Beijing. Another monograph is being written by a six-member international research team will present the first full account of Richard Wilhelm’s life and sinological contributions in English. Plans for a multivolume set including selections of the major publications and unpublished works of James Legge is now being worked out for publication before the bicentennial of Legge’s birth in 2015.

 III. Courses Taught
  • World Religions: An Introduction
  • World Religions and the Meaning of Life
  • Confucianism
  • Daoism
  • Confucian-Christian Dialogue and Interaction
  • Philosophy of Christian Religion
  • Major Biblical Themes
  • Approaches to the Study of Religion
  • Religion in Modern Society
  • Religion in Secular Society
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Christianity and Asian Cultures
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Major Streams in Western Philosophy
  • Major Streams in Chinese Philosophy
  • Great Thinkers on Life
  • Man in the Modern World
  • Human Self-Discovery
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • East-West Philosophy (team taught)
  • The Story of Chinese Philosophy (in Cantonese and English)
  • The Story of Western Philosophy
  • Moral Leadership
  • Existence and Reality
  • Graduate Classes: (In Master of Liberal Arts and Ethics) Cross-modular Topics in Liberal Studies (focusing on Independent Enquiry, team taught)
 IV. Research Grant/Award/Professional Service
Major Fellowships and Honours (given and announced since 1987)
  • 2007-2008 Visiting Professor and Researcher, Institute of the Science of Religion (Institut fur Religionswissenschaft), Berne University
  • 2005 Visitor (one summer month), Center for Applied Philosophy and Public
    Ethics (CAPPE), Melbourne University, Australia
  • 2005 Award: “Outstanding Books of 2004 for Mission Studies” for Striving for
    the Whole Duty of Man in the International Bulletin for Missionary Research (Yale University), 29:1 (January 2005), p. 43.
  • 2000-01 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Fellowship for Visiting Professorship
    at the Sinology Seminar, Bonn University, Germany
  • 2000 Two month Visiting Fellowship at the School of Philosophy, University
    of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (starting July 2000)
  • 1998 Short-term Fellowship to Manchester College, Oxford (HKBU)

Major Grants

  • 2013-2015 Interdisciplinary Studies of Modern and Contemporary Sinologists' Classical Translations and their Chinese Works (HKBU Interdisciplinary Research Scheme, funded for HK$1,500,000)

  • 2005-2008 Earmarked Research Grant for Richard Wilhelm Research
    (Hong Kong Government’s Commission for ERG)
  • 2005-2007 Grant for Translating Legge Book (HKBU Faculty Research)
  • 2003-2004 Germany/Hong Kong Joint Research Grant for Project comparing the
    Missionary-Sinological Translations of Richard Wilhelm and
    James Legge
  • 1993-96 National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), Legge Project
  • 1992-97 Research Grant Commission (Hong Kong), Legge Project
V. Publications
Monographs and Collaborations
  • Editor, “Modern and Contemporary Chinese Hermeneutics”, Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34:1 (March 2007). 149 pages.
  • Editor, Hermeneutic Thinking in Chinese Philosophy (Vol. 1 in the Journal Supplement Series to the Journal of Chinese Philosophy) (Boston: Blackwell, 2006). 159 pages.
  • Striving for ‘The Whole Duty of Man’: James Legge (1815-1897) and the Scottish Protestant Encounter with China. Vol. 34 in the Scottish Studies International Series edited by Horst W. Drescher (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2004). Two volumes, totaling 758 pages.

Special Contributions

  • The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Pergamum Press, 1994.
  • Chan Sin-wai and David E. Pollard, eds., An Encyclopedia of Translation: Chinese-English, English-Chinese Translation, Chinese University Press, 1995.
  • Jonathan Z. Smith, ed., HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, HarperCollins Press, 1995.
  • A. Scott Moreau, ed., The Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Baker Book House Co., 2000.
  • J. M. Y. Simpson and J. F. A. Sawyer, eds., Concise Encyclopedia of Language and Religion (Amsterdam: Elsevier, May 2001),
  • Antonio Cua, ed., Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2003).
  • Xinzhong Yao, ed., RoutledgeCurzon Encyclopedia of Confucianism, 2 Volumes (London and NewYork: Routledge and Curzon Press, 2003).
  • Hillerbrand, Hans J. ed., Encyclopedia of Protestantism, 4 Volumes (New York/ London: Routledge, 2004).

Other Articles (Beyond Special Contributions)

Topics of Articles include Philosophical Themes (European, Chinese, American, and comparative traditions); Issues in the Study of World Religions; Sinological Themes; Translations from Chinese and French into English on Chinese Philosophical Themes. Most articles were written in English, but there have also been 10 articles translated by others into Chinese, 2 into German, 1 into Croatian.

Overall, besides over 30 chapters in books and proceedings which have been published, there are also over 50 articles appearing in the following academic journals:

  • Asian Thought and Society; Buddhist-Christian Studies;
  • Bulletin of the History and Philology Institute of the Academia Sinica;
  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies;
  • Bulletin of the Scottish Institute of Missionary Studies;
  • Chinese Graduate School of Theology Journal; Chinese Theological Review;
  • Ching Feng; Darshana International (India); Filozofska Istrazivania (Yugoslavia) History and Culture (Hongkong); The Hong Kong Linguist;
  • Humanist Newsletter; International Bulletin of Missionary Research;
  • Journal of Chinese Philosophy; Journal of Chinese Religions;
  • Journal of Classical Sociology;
  • Journal of Foguang University: Humanities and Social Sciences Division,
  • Journal of the History of Christianity in Modern China;
  • Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society;
  • minima sinica; Monumenta Serica;
  • Newsletter of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica;
  • Orientierung (Bonn, Germany);
  • Oxford University’s Institute of Modern Chinese Studies (Working Paper Series)
  • The Pelican Record (Oxford); Philosophy East and West; ReligiousStudies News (USA); Shijing Studies (Tokyo, Japan); Thought [] (Hongkong); Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal;
  • Studies of Chinese Classical Learning (Taiwan);
  • Synthesis Philosophica (Yugoslavia);

Notable Articles

  • “The Different Faces of Contemporary Religious Confucianism: An Account of the Diverse Approaches of Some Major Twentieth Century Chinese Confucian Scholars”, Journal of Chinese Philosophy 22:1 (March 1995), pp. 5-79.
  •  “James Legge’s Metrical Book of Poetry”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 60:1 (February 1997), pp. 64-85.
  • “A Transmitter but not a Creator: The Creative Transmission of Protestant Biblical Traditions by Ho Tsun-Sheen (1817-1871)” in Irene Eber, et. al., eds., Bible in Modern China: The Literary and Intellectual Impact (Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 1999), pp. 165-197.
  • “Discovering Monotheistic Metaphysics: The Exegetical Reflections of James Legge (1815-1897) and Lo Chung-fan (d. circa 1850)” in Ng On-cho, et. al., eds., Imagining Boundaries: Changing Confucian Doctrines, Texts and Hermeneutics (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), pp. 213-254.
  • 王韜與理雅各對新儒家憂患意識的回應” (Chinese version of #16) 載林啟彥, 黃文江主編 «王韜與近代世界» (香港: 香港教育圖書公司, 2000), 117 147.
  • “Mediating Word, Sentence, and Scope without Violence: James Legge’s Understanding of `Classical Confucian’ Hermeneutics” in Tu Ching-i, ed., Classics and Interpretations: The Hermeneutic Traditions in Chinese Culture (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2000), pp. 371-382.
  • “Ernst Faber’s Sinological Orientalism” in Ricardo K. S. Mak and Danny S. L. Paau, eds., Sino-German Relations Since 1800: Multidisciplinary Explorations (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2000), pp. 93-107.
  • “Re-examining Whole Person Cultivation: Reconsidering the Significance of
  • Master Kong’s ‘Knowing the Heavenly Decree’ and Yeshuah’s ‘Beatitudes’”, Ching Feng 1:1 (New Series, Spring 2000), pp. 69-96.
  • “Critical Assessment of James Legge’s (1815-1897) Translation of the Spring and Autumn Annals and its Zuo Commentary” (“理雅各氏英譯春秋左傳析論”) co-authored with Líu Jiāhé劉家和 and Shào Dōngfāng 邵東方, in Jīngxué yánjiū lùncóng 《經學研究論叢》 (Collected Essays of Investigations into Scriptural Learning), 8 (September 2000), pp. 263-290. Republished in revised version in 劉家和著《史學, 經學與思想 : 在世界史背景下對於中國古代歷史文化的思考》 (北京: 北京師範大學出版社,2005), 200227

  • “Christianity and Daoism in Modern Chinese Culture: Encounters, Debates, and Explorations” (“現代中國文化中基督教與道教的相遇, 論辯, 相互探索”) in Lo Ping-cheung 羅秉祥and Zhào Dūnhuá 趙敦華eds., Christianity in Modern Chinese and Western Cultures 《基督教與近代中西文化》 (Běijīng: Běijīng University Press, 2000), pp. 398-447. Article translated in Chinese by Wong King-fan .

    • “Feng Youlan’s New Principle Learning and his Histories of Chinese Philosophy”, in Chung-ying Cheng and Nick Bunnin, eds., Contemporary Chinese Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell Pub. Co., 2002), pp. 165-187.
    •  “From the ‘Three Teachings’ to ‘Chinese Philosophy’”, in Hú Jūn 胡君ed., Chuántǒng yǔ chuāngxīn: Dì sì jiè Féng Yǒulán xuéshù sīxiǎng yántǎohuì lùnwénjí 《傳統與創新: 第四屆馮友蘭學術思想研討會論文集》 (Tradition and Creativity: Collected Essays from the Fourth Research Conference on Féng Yǒulán’s Academic Ideas) (Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2002), pp. 137-166.
    • “From Derision to Respect: The Hermeneutic Passage within James Legge’s (1815-1897) Ameliorated Evaluation of Master Kong (‘Confucius’)”, Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 26 (2002), pp. 53-88.
    • “The Mengzian Matrix for Accommodationist Missionary Apologetics: Identifying the Cross-cultural Linkage in Evangelical Protestant Discourse within the Chinese writings of James Legge (1815-1897), He Jinshan (1817-1871), and Ernst Faber (1839-1899),” Monumenta Serica 50 (2002), pp. 391-416.
    • “Personal Roles within Transformative Contexts: Exploring the Ethical Significance of Supramoral Experiences in Easts and Wests”, in Rolf Elberfeld and Günter Wohlfart, eds., Komparative Ethik: Das gute Leben zwischen den Kulturen (Comparative Ethics: The Good Life Between Cultures) (Köln: Chōra, 2002), pp. 63-79.
    • “A Modern Chinese Philosophy Built upon Critically Received Traditions: Feng Youlan’s New Principle-Centered Learning and the Question of Its Relationship to Contemporary New Ruist (“Confucian”) Philosophies,” in John Makeham, ed., New Confucianism: A Critical Examination (Houndsmill, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 165-184.
    • “The Creative Potential and Philosophical Importance of Going Beyond a “China-West” Philosophical Focus in 21st Century Chinese Philosophy”, in Fāng Kèlì 方克立, ed., Chinese Philosophy and the Trends of the 21st Century Civilization (Běijīng: Commercial Press, 2003), pp. 603-624.
    • “20th Century Contributions in Chinese Philosophy of Religion(s): From Deconstructive Contradiction to Constructive Reconsideration,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30: 3-4 (September/December 2003), pp. 541-553.
    • “Reconsidering Three Faces of the “Revived One” from Mid-19th Century China,” in Roman Malek, ed., The Chinese Face of Jesus Christ, Volume 2 (Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 2003), pp. 663-684.
    • “Rethinking Mission in China: James Hudson Taylor and Timothy Richard” in Andrew Porter, ed., The Imperialist Horizons of British Protestant Missions, 1880-1914 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmanns Pub. Co., 2003), pp. 183-212.

    ** As of January 2004 this article was placed on HKBU website with lantern slide collection, Archive for the Study of the History of Christianity in China, seeálanternápdfápfister.pdf

    • 述而作: 近代中國第一位新教神學家何進善 (1817-1871)載 伊愛蓮等著 蔡錦圖編譯《聖經與近代中國》(香港: 漢語聖經協會,2004), 132162
    • “Nineteenth Century Ruist Metaphysical Terminology and the Sino-Scottish Connection in James Legge's Chinese Classics” in Michael Lackner and Natascha Vittinghoff, eds. Mapping Meanings: The Field of New Learning in Late Qing China (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 615-638.
    • “Protestant Ethics among Chinese Missionaries, Problems of Indigenization, and the Spirit of Academic Professionalization” Journal of Classical Sociology 2:1 (March 2005), pp. 93-114.
    • 攀登漢學中喜瑪拉雅山的巨擘 從比較理雅各 (1815-1897) 和尉禮賢 (1873-1930) 翻譯及詮釋儒教古典經文中所得之啟迪」 (“Scaling the Sinological Himalayas: Insights Drawn from Comparisons of James Legge’s (1815-1897) and Richard Wilhelm’s (1873-1930) Translations and Interpretations of Ruist Canonical Literature”) 載《中央研究院中國文哲研究所通訊》(The Newsletter of the Institute for Chinese Literature and Philosophy of Academia Sinica) 15:2 (2005年六月), 2157. (Published in September 2005)
    • “Reconsidering Metaethical and Ethical Dimensions of Play and Sport from a Comparative Philosophical Perspective”, Orientierung 2/2005 (December 2005), pp. 1-22.
    • “Hermeneutics: Philosophical Understanding and Basic Orientations” in Lauren F. Pfister, ed. Hermeneutic Thinking in Chinese Philosophy (Boston: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 3-23. (First Volume in Journal Supplement Series for Journal of Chinese Philosophy.)
    • “Sensing Love’s Tensions and Transformation: Another Look at Spiritual Depths in Chen Kaige’s Movie, Together”, Chinese Cross Currents《神州交流》(English and Chinese) 4:3 (July 2007), pp. 112-125.
    • “Brothers in the Spirit”, in Marc Hermann, Christian Schwermann, and Jari Grosse-Ruyken, eds., Zurück zur Freude. Studien zur chinesischen Literatur und Lebenswelt und ihrer Rezeption in Ost und West. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kubin (Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 2007), pp. 55 - 82.
    • “Environmental Ethics and Some Probing Questions for Traditional Chinese Philosophy,“ in Karyn Lai, ed., New Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Chinese Philosophy (Journal of Chinese Philosophy Supplement for 2007), pp. 101-123.
    • “In the Eye of a Tornado: Lessons Learned from Critiques of Christian Missionaries”, Ching Feng 8:1-2 (2007), pp. 91-116.
    • “A Bio-Philosophical Profile of Chung-ying Cheng” in Ng On-cho, ed., The Imperative of Understanding: Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, and Onto-hermeneutics (New York: Global Scholarly Publications, 2008), pp. 61-72.
    • “Philosophical Explorations of the Transformative Dimension in Chinese Culture,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 35, No 4, 2008, pp. 663-682.
    VI. Others
    Graduate Students engaged at HKBU
    • PhD Students Co-supervised at HKBU: 1 Student (currently); 4 students so far.
    • MPhil Students Supervised at HKBU: 1 student so far.

    BA Honours Projects Advised [and those Evaluated]

    • Since 1991, 37 projects (8 in English; 29 in Chinese) advised, [1 English and 22 Chinese evaluated as Second Reader] all but four from Religious Studies Course.

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