This essay is concerned with the possibilities and limitations of the Jesuit-Islamic dialogue in China in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It presents and discusses evidence for the interest of Chinese Muslims and Jesuits in each other almost from the outset, immediately after Matteo Ricci’s arrival in China. Muslims read Jesuit material and even incorporated it in their own works. Chinese Muslims were not, however, interested in Jesuit doctrines because of a shared monotheist faith: Chinese Muslims clearly saw Christianity not as a sister faith but as a Western one, and that was the main reason for their interest. With regard to the tendency to compare Jesuits and Chinese Muslims as two rivals competing for success in the Chinese world of ideas, the Chinese Muslim scholars should be considered not as rivals of the Jesuits but primarily as Chinese scholars engaging Jesuit knowledge and using it selectively for their own purposes.
Ben-Dor BeniteZviSchneewindSarahThe Marrano Emperor: The Mysterious Bond between Zhu Yuanzhang and the Chinese MuslimsLong Live the Emperor! Uses of the Ming Founder Across Six Centuries of East Asian History2008MinneapolisSociety for Ming Studies275308
BrookTimothyÜçerlerM.AntoniJ.“Europaelogy: on the Difficulty of Assembling a Knowledge of Europe in China,”Christianity and Cultures: Japan & China in Comparison 1543-16442009RomaInstitutum historicum Societatis Iesu269293
Van DalenBennoDold-SamploniusYvonneIslamic and Chinese Astronomy under the Mongols: A Little-Known Case of TransmissionFrom China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas2002StuttgartSteiner327356
ZurndorferH.T.BlusséL.ZurndorferH.T.“One Adam Having Driven Us Out of Paradise, Another Has Driven Us Out of China”: Yang Kuang-hsien’s Challenge of Adam Schall von Bell,”Conflict and Accommodation in Early Modern East Asia: Essays in Honour of Erik Zürcher1993LeidenE.J. Brill141168
P.M. D’ElieFonti Ricciane: Documenti originali concernenti Matteo Ricci e la storia delle prime relazioni tra l’Europa e la Cina (1579-1615) (Rome: La Libreria Dello Stato1942): 1:179; the translation is based on Gernet’s translation with my minor amendments. J. Gernet China and the Christian Impact: A Conflict of Cultures (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1985). See also M. Ricci The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (a Chinese-English ed. of T’ien-chu Shih-i) ed. Douglas Lancashire and P. Hu Kuo-chen trans. E.J. Malatesta (Taipei: Institut Ricci 1985); I use this Chinese-English edition throughout.
See for instance K. Yabuuti“Islamic Astronomy in China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties,”Historia Scientiarium7 (1997): 11-43; B. Van Dalen “Islamic and Chinese Astronomy under the Mongols: A Little-Known Case of Transmission” in From China to Paris: 2000 Years Transmission of Mathematical Ideas ed. Y. Dold-Samplonius et al. (Stuttgart: Steiner 2002): 327-56.
W. FengZhongguo Huizu kexue jishu shi (Yinching: Ningxia Renmin Chubanshe2008): 24-114. On Muslim pride about Islamic science see Zvi Ben-Dor Benite “The Marrano Emperor: The Mysterious Bond between Zhu Yuanzhang and the Chinese Muslims” in Long Live the Emperor! Uses of the Ming Founder Across Six Centuries of East Asian History ed. S. Schneewind (Minneapolis: Society for Ming Studies 2008): 275-308.
L.M. BrockeyJourney to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China 1579-1724 (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press2007): 106. On Ricci and Buddhism see R. Po-chia Hsia A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci 1552-1610 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010): 135-6.