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Thierry Meynard

Liang Shuming (1895-1988) is one of the most important Chinese philosophers in twentieth century China. Generally considered to be a Confucian, and even the last Confucian, the author argues that he was in fact a Buddhist. Liang’s thoughts are analysed within the background of the intellectual debates on religion in republican China. He reshaped the Western concept of religion from the standpoint of Yogācāra Buddhism. Yet, he advocated for the present time Confucianism as the ethical religion that would lead ultimately to the Buddhist liberation. Examining Liang’s religious belief sheds new light on his fascinating life, particularly his involvement in the Rural Reconstruction movement of the nineteen-thirties. It also explains why Liang was the only intellectual who dared to publically oppose Mao in the nineteen-sixties and seventies.

Thierry Meynard

The article examines the dynamics of religious competition brought into Asia by Christianity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. More specifically, it analyzes how Xu Dashou adopted an exclusivist approach in order to defend his own traditions, leading him to a full rejection of Christianity. After engaging himself for some time in an anti-Christian campaign, he understood that the exclusivist approach he had embraced was not congenial with his own traditions and, drawing from the metaphysical insights of Buddhism and Confucianism on ultimate reality and truth, he showed a way beyond religious exclusivism.

Thierry Meynard

The Mingli Tan is recognized as the first Chinese-language treatise introducing Western logic in China. First published in the final years of the Ming dynasty, the work was presented to Emperor Kangxi in 1683. Despite its sophisticated thought and innovation, the work failed to gain support among intellectuals and court officials. By analyzing the objectives of the Mingli Tan in tandem with its companion work, the Coimbra commentary, this paper explores some of the important philosophical, pedagogical, and historical reasons that can help to explain this failure. Through this historical failure, we can gain some insights about the nature of logic and its current position in China.

The Jesuit Reading of Confucius

The First Complete Translation of the Lunyu (1687) Published in the West

Series:

Thierry Meynard

The very name of Confucius is a constant reminder that the “foremost sage” in China was first known in the West through Latin works. The most influential of these was the Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (Confucius, the Philosopher of China), published in Paris in 1687. For more than two hundred years, Western intellectuals like Leibniz and Voltaire read and meditated on the sayings of Confucius from this Latin version.
Thierry Meynard examines the intellectual background of the Jesuits in China and their thought processes in coming to understand the Confucian tradition. He presents a trilingual edition of the Lunyu, including the Chinese text, the Latin translation of the Lunyu and its commentaries, and their rendition in modern English, with notes.