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Euclid in China

The Genesis of the First Chinese Translation of Euclid's Elements Books I-VI (Jihe yuanben; Beijing, 1607) and its Reception up to 1723


As part of the Jesuits' programme of introduction to European culture, in 1607 the Elements of Euclid (± 300 BC) were translated for the first time into Chinese.
The translation of this epoch-making ancient Greek textbook on deductive geometry meant a confrontation of contemporary Chinese and European cultures.
Part I of Peter Engelfriet's work deals mainly with the European and Chinese backgrounds, part II with linguistic and textual matters. In part III the manner in which learned Chinese tried to integrate this new knowledge into their own, Chinese, mathematical and cultural traditions comes to the fore.
This fascinating work explores in depth and at various levels the circumstances and mechanisms that shaped the transmission of a key work of science from one language and cultural context onto another. Consequently it offers often surprising insights into the ways of intercultural exchange and misunderstandings.
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Linked Faiths

Essays on Chinese Religions and Traditional Culture in Honour of Kristofer Schipper

Edited by Jan de Meyer and Engelfriet

If any subject lends itself to treatment in an edited volume, it is Chinese Religions; It is a recognized fact that the boundaries between the various religions in China, and those between religion and culture in general, have always been fluid. This can only be duly acknowledged by careful research from many angles – and by many experts. It is exactly these mutual influences that form the leading theme in this Festschrift in honour of Kristofer Schipper, taken up by a selection of his many expert pupils and colleagues.

The thirteen contributions span over two millennia, ranging from the late Zhou to the present. Topics include divination, religious puppet theatre, the art of translating, late Ming Christianity, and literature. The major focus, however, is Taoism and its connections with medieval society, popular cults and medicine. Special mention, in this connection, should be made of an extensive analysis and translation of a fourth century poem from the Taoist Canon, and a study of the social circle of a leading Tang dynasty Taoist.
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Statecraft and Intellectual Renewal in Late Ming China

The Cross-Cultural Synthesis of Xu Guangqi (1562-1633)

Edited by Catherine Jami, Engelfriet and Gregory Blue

This is the first comprehensive work on one of the key figures in early Chinese-Western relations. Xu Guangqi was one of the first promoters of Western science in China, worked together with the Jesuit Matteo Ricci on translations of Western science, was one of the first Chinese converts, a high-ranking statesman, organizer of a major calendar reform, introduced Western weapons into the Chinese army, etc. etc.
His astonishingly multifarious activities are now for the first time pieced together within their (Chinese and Western) social, intellectual and cultural context. The result is a composite profile of this complex figure that is solidly anchored in Chinese (and Western) primary sources A major achievement.