Article ID: CBB001201442

Changing Cosmology, Changing Perspectives on History and Politics: Christianity and Yang Tingyun's (1562--1627) Reflections on China (2013)


Yang Tingyun, one of the three pillars of the early Catholic Church in the late Ming period, has often been studied by scholars seeking to understand why he converted to Christianity and what Christian philosophy he embraced. This article shifts the focus to Yang's secular concerns after his conversion. The article delves into the issues of Yang's reassessment of Chinese history and political systems under the influences of Christianity and Western learning. It concludes that Yang's Christian-centered interpretation of Chinese history and his aspirations for European-style institutions led him to question the importance of monarchy in China, with the result that he shifted his interest to the state, declaring an urgent need for pragmatic learning to strengthen state power. Citing the Jesuit fathers' swift mastery of the Chinese classics and Western languages' unlimited applications, Yang further became critical of the Sinocentric worldview of Chinese tradition.

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Authors & Contributors
Elman, Benjamin A.
Collani, Claudia von
Bailey, Gauvin Alexander
Kennedy, T. Frank
O'Malley, John W.
Harris, Steven J.
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Nei Menggu Shifan Daxue Xuebao (Ziran Kexue Ban)
Guangxi Minzu Xueyuan Xuebao
East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Journal of World History
The Catholic Historical Review
University of Toronto Press
Rowman & Littlefield
Oxford University Press
Faber & Faber
Hackett Publishing Company
Science and religion
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Missionaries and missions
Science and culture
Ricci, Matteo
Martini, Martino
Yi, You
An, Qingqiao
Jie, Xuan
Mei, Wen-Ting
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
18th century
Ming dynasty (China, 1368-1644)
19th century
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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