2022 年 12 月 17 日


14:00 - 16:00



Saints and Sages: Mediating Christian and Chinese Concepts of Human Excellence in the Late Ming Dynasty

Saints and Sages: Mediating Christian and Chinese Concepts of Human Excellence in the Late Ming Dynasty 

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Canaris(柯修文博士)
Respondent: Fr. Thierry Meynard SJ(梅謙立神父)
Moderator: Fr. Patrick Taveirne CICM(譚永亮神父)
Date: December 17 (Saturday, 2:00-4:00 pm)
Medium: English

Video Replay

AbstractIn the 1580s, when the Jesuit missionaries Michele Ruggieri (1543-1607) and Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) established the first Jesuit mission in China, the terms “translatability” and “cultural incommensurability” were yet to enter the European lexicon, but these questions were addressed implicitly through the translation choices employed in the mission field. For the early missionaries, translatability had immense ramifications for their missionary practice. One of the foremost challenges was how to communicate in Chinese the concept of “sanctity”, which was central to Christian soteriology. There was a range of terms in Chinese intellectual and religious traditions that the Jesuits drew upon to translate sanctus such as shengren, zhenren and xian, but each of these terms implied a certain commensurability between Christian and indigenous Chinese conceptions of human excellence. This paper will present a microhistory of early Jesuit attempts to translate sanctus into Chinese and reflect upon the significance of these translation choices for the development of the Jesuits’ missionary strategy.

Speaker profileDr Daniel Canaris is currently DECRA Research Fellow in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney. Prior to his present appointment, he was Associate Professor at Nanjing University and Postdoctoral Researcher at Sun Yat-sen University. His research focuses on the Sino-Western intellectual exchange in the early modern period and the Italian Enlightenment, especially the thought of Giambattista Vico. His first monograph, Vico and China (2020), was published in the Oxford University Studies of the Enlightenment series, and subsequent book publications include a translation and critical edition of Longobardo’s A Brief Response on the Controversies over Shangdi, Tianshen, and Linghun (Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History, 2020, co-edited with Thierry Meynard), and of Ruggieri’s Tianzhu shilu (forthcoming in December 2022 in Brill’s Studies in the History of Christianity in East Asia).