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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2014, Vol. 9 Issue (4) : 615-624
The Encounter of Christianity and Daoism in Philippe Couplet’s Confucius Sinarum Philosophus
HUANG Mei Tin()
Academia Catholica/Monumenta Serica Sinological Research Center, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, 242 Taiwan, China
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The book Confucius Sinarum Philosophus1, published by the Jesuit Philippe Couplet in 1687, aimed at spreading Confucian thought and the Confucian classics in Europe. Its publication caused an enormous sensation and was highly valued by the King of France, Louis XIV. The description of Chinese geography, history, and religions, including three important Latin translations of Confucian works (namely, Ta hio-Liber Primus: Scientiae Sinicae [Daxue], Liber Secundus: Chum yum [Zhongyong], and Liber Tertius: Lun Yu [Lunyu]), in addition to some missionary works of the Jesuits, was of great value for Europe at the time. Through the publication of this work, Confucianism was successfully introduced into Europe and treated as an eastern counterpart of the European Renaissance. The book became a fundamental source for Europeans trying to understand Chinese culture in the 17th century. In order to evangelize in China, the Jesuits made an effort to accommodate Confucian thought within Catholicism. As part of this strategy, Daoism and Buddhism were marginalized and treated as false philosophies. In spite of this, Philippe Couplet described Daoism in his Brevis Notitia Sectae: Li lao kiun Philosophi. Although his understanding of Daoism was not far from that of Matteo Ricci, Couplet, however, did recognize Lao Zi as a philosopher, something which Ricci never did. This paper focuses on Couplet’s description of Daoism as a means of investigating the first image of Daoism transmitted to Europe in the 17th century

Keywords Confucius Sinarum Philosophus      Daoism      Philippe Couplet      Jesuit missionaries in China     
Issue Date: 11 December 2014
 Cite this article:   
HUANG Mei Tin. The Encounter of Christianity and Daoism in Philippe Couplet’s Confucius Sinarum Philosophus[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2014, 9(4): 615-624.
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