|Budeyi bian 不得已辨 / 南懷仁.|
In: Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian 天主教東傳文獻
N.B. Description based on Jap-Sin II, 43.
Budeyi bian [Pu-te-i pien] 不得已辯 [辨]
By Nan Huaren 南懷仁 (Ferdinand Verbiest).
One juan. Bamboo paper, bound in European style. No date or place of publication.
The cover bears a Latin title: “Refutatio persecuto | ris Yam Quam Sien | circa res mathemati | ces | a p. Ferdin. Verbiest | S.J.”
There is a preface by the author (three and one-half folios) and a table of contents (two folios). The main text consists of 61 folios. Each half folio consists of nine columns with eighteen characters to each column.
Folio 1 bears the title of the book and the name of the author: 極西耶穌會士南懷仁述. The middle of each folio bears the title of the book (the character 辯 is a mistake for 辨) and the number of the folio is given under the fish tail.
This book of Verbiest has the same title as the Budeyi bian of Lodovico Buglio (Jap-Sin I, 90, 90a, 91 and 92), but the contents are different. They both refute the errors of Yang Guangxian. Verbiest, however, seeks to point out the errors of Yang Guangxian on the Chinese calendar, basing his arguments on European studies. Pfister gives the title as Lifa budeyi bian 曆法不得已辯 “Apologie de l’astronomie européenne contre ses détracteurs, 1 vol. 1669, Pékin” (p. 354, no. 11); cf. Couplet: “Apologia contra calumnias in astronomiam europaeam” (p. 42).
In his preface Verbiest states that, after the great persecution of Yang Guangxian against the missioners, Adam Schall had lost the power of speech. Verbiest himself, being a newcomer to China, had been unable to defend himself and he had therefore lived in retirement. This was the occasion for him to reflect and to discover the errors of Yang Guangxian. Verbiest then points out that the calendar method of Yang Guangxian came from the traditional school of the Ming dynasty. Since the establishment of the new regime, the Shunzhi emperor had proclaimed the employment of the new European method, which had been in use for over twenty years and had yielded good results. In Verbiest’s opinion, progress comes from long and careful studies. The longer the studies, the more perfect will be the science of the calendar. Yang Guangxian, however, esteemed the old method and belittled the new one. As the result of his maliciousness eight members of the Imperial Observatory had lost their lives. Yang Guangxian cared only for the principles of calendar making and ignored the practical side. To this Verbiest retorts that to show the validity of the principles one must see them in practice. Wrong principles can never give good results. The disgrace of Yang Guangxian before the Kangxi emperor and his ministers through the failure of his experiments clearly showed that he was ignorant of the principles of calendar making. Finally, Verbiest concludes that although justice had been done in the case of Yang Guangxian, the damage done by Yang’s books still remained. For this reason he still wished to publish his work as a defense of the truth.--Cf. Albert Chan, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 344-346.
For full bibliographic citation see Ad Dudink & Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT-Database).