The Royal Asiatic Society presents:
Dr. Jacob Ghazarian (Oxford) – The Ancient Silk Road: Its enduring impact on China and renewed objectives
This lecture will deal with the arrival of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam in China, and more specifically the recent revival of interest in Buddhist traditions, the vanishing of Christianity and the defiant survival of Islam. On the renewed objectives, the talk will offer how the new Chinese administration’s flag-initiative called ‘Belt and Road’ will widen China’s political sphere of influence both from economic and religious perspectives.
Jacob comes from an Armenian stock and in his formative years in Baghdad he was educated by Franciscan friars and then by the Jesuits of the Society of Jesus. In the late 1950s his family immigrated to the United States where Jacob completed his formal education then his advanced studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 1975 he joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the Medical College of Wisconsin where in 1988 he achieved the rank of a full professor. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of vitamin D metabolism.
But with a new independent career objective in mind Jacob came to Oxford in 1993. His initial focus of studies included Classical Armenian, Biblical Hebrew and Greek and was mentored by the late Professor Charles Dowsett at Oxford’s Oriental Institute. Jacob then turned his attention to socio-religious aspects of Christianity in the Near East and its legacy in the West. In 2000 he was elected a member of Wolfson College and in 2013 a fellow of the RAS.
Jacob’s interest in China began with the role of the Silk Road in introducing three major religions to China; his latest book on China was published in July of this year. A number of his publications are on display here.
Introduction by Dr Susan Whitfield (RAS/UCL):