Jul 08

BFSU Prof. Zhang Xiping`s Introduction of Research on the Spreading of Confucianism into Europe published

Tracing the origin of the introduction of Chinese learning into the West: a review of Professor Zhang Xiping`s Introduction of Research on the Spreading of Confucianism into Europe

Recently, Introduction of Research on the Spreading of Confucianism into Europe, written by Zhang Xiping, Professor of Beijing Foreign Language Studies University, has been published by Peking University Press. Based on the study of original literature, the book, as stated in the subtitle, talks about the “path and influence of the introduction of Chinese learning into the west between the 16th and 18th centuries”. It traces the origin of the introduction of Chinese learning into the west and explores the cultural tension and its profound influence resulted from the encounter between Chinese and western cultures in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties.

Following Liang Qichao`s idea of New History, this book views Chinese history in the context of global history, demonstrating similar ideals shared by Chinese culture and the Enlightenment in Europe. Few Chinese scholars managed to make in-depth research on the introduction of Chinese learning into the west due to inadequate foreign language skills and limited access to original literature. The academic significance of this book lies in its use, reorganization, translation and analysis of the original western literature, which, in a certain sense, makes the book a valuable treasure to all the scholars. In the book, Prof. Zhang Xiping considered Michele Ruggieri as the first person introducing Chinese cultural classics to the west and analyzed Ruggieri`s translation of the Four Books for the first time in Chinese academia. Besides, he generalized about the translations of Chinese classics completed by Jesuits in China, analyzed the translations of Chinese classics in The General History of China by Jean-Baptiste Du Halde, and made a thorough study about the philosophies discussed in Philippe Couplet`s book titled Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (Confucius the Chinese Philosopher). When talking about the influences of Confucianism, the book reflects on the relations between Chinese and western cultures between 16th and 18th centuries and considers modern China in the context of global history.

Another feature of this book is its innovation of research methodology. The author has the awareness of the theory and culture with a prudent attitude towards post-colonialism, and attempts to integrate Chinese theories with western ones. Only through this approach can sinology truly take the advantage of historical materials and channel China with the west, thus benefiting from both Chinese and western cultures.

Contents of the book:

Preface

Introduction

Chapter one   Michele Ruggieri: first person introducing Chinese classics into the west

1.Translating part of the Great Learning into Latin for the first time

2.Drawing the first map of China in Europe

3.The first Latin book introducing China and missionaries in China

4.Translating the Four Books into Latin for the first time

5.The significance of Michele Ruggieri to the exchange between China and the west

Chapter two   Society of Jesus in China: introducing Chinese cultural classics to the west

1.Jesuits` translations of Chinese classics before the Chinese Rites Controversy

2.Jesuits` translations of Chinese classics during the Chinese Rites Controversy

3.Summary of Jesuits` translations of Chinese classics

Chapter three   Confucius Sinarum Philosophus: a classic book of Chinese philosophy in Europe in the 18th century

1.Introduction of Confucius Sinarum Philosophus

2.Sinarum Philosophus and the Chinese Rites Controversy

3.Cross-cultural characteristics of Confucius Sinarum Philosophus

4.Significance of Confucius Sinarum Philosophus to the cultural history of the world

5.Key messages of Confucius Sinarum Philosophus

6.Analysis of the translation: swinging between Europe and China

7.Deeper understanding of China

Chapter four   Influences of Chinese cultural classics to Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries

1.New ideas in the context of global history

2.Sinomania in the 18th century Europe

3.Values of Chinese philosophy

4.Enlightenment and traditional Chinese culture

Chapter five   Basic summary of the research

1.Number of Jesuits` translation works and different periods of their introduction of Chinese classics to the west

2.Summary of the introduction of Chinese learning to the west between the 16th and 18th centuries

3.Reasons of inadequate research of the introduction of Chinese learning to the west between the 16th and 18th centuries was

Conclusion

 

(Source: International Institute of Chinese Studies at BFSU)