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academics, and everyone interested in person-to-person exchanges with China who would also like to gain insight on the official perspectives on religion. ANDRÉ LALIBERTÉ University of Ottawa MATTEO RICCI, Le sens réel du “Seigneur du Ciel.” Introduit, traduit du chinois et annoté par THIERRY MEYNARD, SJ. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2013. xxix, 268 pp. €39 (pb). ISBN 978-2-251-10013-5 The latest and the most complete translation into French of Matteo Ricci’s Chinese classic Tianzhu shiyi 天主實義 (The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, 1603) by Jesuit father and sinologist Prof. Thierry Meynard comes three centuries after the first French translation was undertaken by Jesuit father Jean-Charles Jacques (1688–1728) and published in “Lettres édifiantes et curieuses.” The present translation is based on a 1607 Hangzhou edition called Yanyitang 燕貽堂, which was revised and approved by Ricci. Meynard compared the Hangzhou edition with other original editions kept in Rome and in Taipei. He has also consulted the first French translation18 as well as recent translations in English by Douglas Lancashire and Hu Kuo-chen,19 in Chinese edited by Zhu Weizheng 朱維錚,20 and the modern translation by Liu Shunde 劉順德.21 This bilingual version was published in the prestigious Bibliothèque chinoise series (Hanwen fayi shuku 漢文法譯書庫), which is edited by two leading French sinologists, Anne Cheng and Marc Kalinowski; the latter also revised Meynard’s translation. The volume contains a long and knowledgeable introduction in which the reader is given the rationale and background of Matteo Ricci’s work. Ricci’s project was preceded by Michele Ruggieri’s very first exposition of the Christian faith written in Chinese in the form of a catechism, known as Tianzhu shilu 天主實錄 (The True Account of the Lord of Heaven) and published in 1584. Meynard shows the development of Ricci’s work by offering a contrastive table of similarities and differences between Ruggieri’s and Ricci’s choice of vocabulary and formulation of doctrine . We also can see the influence of Alessandro Valignano’s Catechismus japonensis written in Portuguese with the collaboration of Luís Fróis, SJ, and Japanese convert Ō tomo Sōrin. In this, Valignano gives a model of the strategic method to be followed, as he explains in detail in his well-known Sumario de las cosas de Japon written in 1583. Actually, Valignano asked Ricci to write a new catechism that in grosso modo might imitate the one addressed to the Japanese converts. Indeed, Ricci adapted the same structure as Valignano’s Catechismus, wherein his five first conferences (concio) corresponded to seven chapters of Tianzhu shiyi. 18 “Entretiens d’un lettré chinois et d’un docteur européen sur la vraie idée de Dieu,” transl. Jean-Charles Jacques, in Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrites des missions étrangères, Paris, 1781, vol. XXV, 111–418 ; Choix de letters édifiantes, 1838, vol. II, 1–179. 19 The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (T’ien-chu Shih-i), ed. Edward J . Malatesta (St. Louis, MO: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1985). 20 Li Madou zhongwen zhuyiji 利瑪竇中文著譯集 (Shanghai: Fudan Daxue chubanshe, 2001), 439–512. 21 Tianzhu shiyi 天主實義 (Taipei: Kuangchi Press, 1966). 214 REVIEWS Consequently, Valignano puts historia salutis (history of salvation) and the dogma at the end of his first book and then in the second part of his second book. Ricci similarly discusses Christ’s incarnation in the final chapter of his book. However, while Valignano speaks of the resurrection and of the final judgment in the dogmatic section of his catechism, Ricci places them earlier in his sixth chapter, believing that paradise and hell are conditio sine qua non for rational explanations that might stimulate thinking and moral behavior. Ricci used Valignano’s rationale to refute the Buddhist approach, and to argue in favor of the scholastic viewpoint of God and man. To refute the central concept of taiji 太極, he applies the same arguments that Valignano had used to refute the Buddhist concept of pantheism. However neither Valignano nor Ricci had a solid knowledge of Buddhism and NeoConfucianism ; both believed that Aristotelian and Thomist thinking would correct errors in Asian thought (pp. xxii–xxiii). Contrary to common knowledge, the Tianzhu shiyi was not the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2050-8999
Print ISSN
0737-769X
Pages
pp. 214-216
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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