Prof. Daryl Ireland featured in BU Brink

The following is an excerpt from The Brink’s article “What’s Behind Boom of Christianity in China?” by Marc Chalufour, featuring Research Assistant Professor of Mission Daryl Ireland. Click here to read the full article.

Theology scholars and a global network of researchers are using big data to map religion’s history in China and explain its rapid growth

Over the past four decades, Christianity has grown faster in China than anywhere else in the world. Daryl Ireland, a Boston University School of Theology research assistant professor of mission, estimates that the Christian community there has grown from 1 million to 100 million. What led to that explosion, centuries after the first Christian missionaries arrived in China? The BU scholars behind the China Historical Christian Database aim to find out.

The project, which allows researchers to visualize the history of Christianity in modern China, links web-based visualization tools with a database packed with the names and locations of missionaries, churches, schools, hospitals, and publications. Hosted by BU’s Center for Global Christianity & Mission, the project launched in 2018 and version 2.0 of the database is scheduled for release in 2023. The new version will double the amount of data previously available, providing approximately four million data points—names, occupations, locations, dates, and more—spanning four centuries (1550–1950).

Read the full article