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Tianxue chuan'gai 天學傳概. 天學傳槩. [Jap-Sin I, 89]
AuthorLi Zubai 李祖白, d. 1665
Pub. Location---Publisher---
Date1664Phys. Desc.1 juan.
LocationDigital Archives, and Hallway CasesCall NumberBX1665.A2 L59 1664
Tianxue chuan'gai 天學傳概. [天學傳槩] / [Li Zubai 李祖白].
See also: Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian xubian 天主教東傳文獻續編 vol. 2, pp. 1043-1068.

"...the final version of this pamphlet was by the hand of Li Zubai, a Christian official in the Astronomical Bureau (baptised by Schall in 1622). It gave a clear testimony of the Jesuit interpretation of Confucianism and stated (rather for the first time) that the Chinese are descendants of Adam and Eve."-- Cf. Standaert, Handbook of Christianity in China, vol. 1, p. 514.

JapSin I, 89
Tianxue chuan’gai 天學傳概.
By Li Zubai 李祖白.
One juan. Manuscript, Chinese bamboo paper, without date or place. 24.6 x 16.5 cm.

There is a Latin inscription in the hand of Antoine Thomas (Anduo 安多, zi 平施, 1644–1709): “Libellus de Lege divina | a quo Yang quam Sien sumpsit | exordium suae accusationis | contra P. Adamum Schal | Soctis Iesu | ut patet ex memoriale ab | accusatore oblato. | Hoc exemplar est conforme exemp | lari impresso, quod Pekini servatur. Tabulis | pridem in persecutione exustis. | Ita testor Pekini 5a Nov. 1701. | Antonius Thomas | Vice provincialis Soctis Jesu | Vice~Provae Sinensis.” A seal in red with the emblem of the Society of Jesus is stamped at the end.
There is a preface (five folios) by Xu Zhijian 許之漸 of Piling 毗陵 (Jiangsu), dated Kangxi 3 (1664). The main text consist of seven unnumbered folios. The first folio gives the title and the name of the author. Pfister (p. 237) gives the following account of this book:
Lorsque Yang Koang sien 楊光先 [1597–1669] commença ses attaques contre le P. Schall, l’astronomie européenne et la religion chrétienne, le P. Buglio et son compagnon répondirent, en 1662, par une apologie que Jean Li Tsou pé 李祖白, assesseur du P. Adam au tribunal d’astronomie, fit imprimer, et à laquelle un han lin fameux, nommé Hiu (footnote 2) donna son approbation, et qu’il fit précéder d’une préface, où il dit qu’il préfère la loi chrétienne à toutes celles de la Chine (Greslon, Histoire, pp. 94 seq.).
In footnote 2 (Hiu Tche tsien, Tsan tseng 許之漸,纘曾, le «Docteur Basile», fils de Candide Hiu), Pfister confused Xu Zhijian (zi 儀古, hao 青嶼) with Xu Zuanzeng 許纘曾 (zi 孝修, hao 鶴少), son of Madame Candida and great-grandson of Xu Guangqi (cf. Pfister, p. 1039, where both are written correctly). Xu Zhijian does not seem to have been a Catholic; cf. JWC 2:28–29. Cf. Havret, vol. II, p. 102:
Or, dès l’année 1659, quand l’Empereur [i.e., the Shunzhi emperor] commença à se livrer au pratiques du lamaïsme et à la débauche, un lettré originaire du 徽州府 au Ngan-hoei, nommé 楊光先 Yang Koang sien (長公 Tch’ang-kong) publia, sous le titre de 闢邪論 Pi sié luen, un libelle plein de haine contre les missionaires et leur doctrine. La 1ère année de K’ang hi (1662) parut sous le titre de 天學傳概 T’ien hio-tch’oan-kai, une apologie de la religion chrétienne, composée par les Pères L. Buglio . . . et Gabr. de Magalhaens . . . , retouchée et éditée en son propre nom par un chrétien qui devait payer de sa vie cet acte de courage: il était employé au Tribunal des mathématiqes et se nommait Jean Li Tsou pé. Dans cette apologie, que l’Académicien 許之漸 Hiu Tche tsien avait enrichie d’un préface, les Pères réfutaient les calomnies de Yang Koang sien, ‘mais sans marquer de ny le nom ny le Livre de celuy dont ils combattoient les Maximes.’
This book developed a theory that man originated in Judea and that a branch of the human family migrated to China. Later the Apostle Thomas sent his disciples and established Christianity in China. It then recounts the coming of the Nestorians in the Tang dynasty (634) and the arrival of the Matteo Ricci and his companions in the Ming dynasty and their history up to the time of the author. There is an account of the scientific and missionary work done by the missioners. They wrote books, and made friends with government officials and scholars. To show them favor the Shunzhi emperor built them a church in the capital. En passant, the book gives some details that are of historical interest, such as the new churches built in different provinces in the early years of the Qing dynasty and the places where Catholic books were printed. Especially important is the mention of over 7,000 volumes of European books brought by the missioners to China.
The publication of the Tianxue chuan’gai infuriated Yang Guangxian, who then wrote another book, the Budeyi 不得已 (I could not do otherwise), in which he attacked the Christian teaching and Western astronomy. Schall, who had been stricken by paralysis, was unable to defend himself. Verbiest was still new to the Chinese language and therefore was unable to defend his companion. On 15 April 1665, Schall was condemned to die together with several of the Chinese officials serving in the Imperial Observatory. The missioners then in Beijing were sentenced to flogging and exile. However, an earthquake occurred on the following day and this led the council of officials to change the sentence on the missioners, but Li Zubai and four of the Chinese astronomers were executed. Xu Zhijian, because he had written the preface for the Tianxue chuan’gai, was degraded from his office of censor and reduced to the status of an ordinary citizen. Xu Zuanzeng, who had contributed funds for missionary work, was also stripped of his official ranks. The censor in chief, Tong Guoqi 佟國器 (cf. Jap-Sin I, 56 and 66) suffered the same fate for his association with the missioners. Cf. Giandomenico Gabiani, Incrementa Ecclesiae Sinicae a Tartaris oppugnatae (Viennae, Austriae, 1673), 144–222; ECCP 2:890–891, JWC 2:24–30; DMB 2:1155.

One must not confuse this book with another one, which has the same title Tianxue chuan’gai, written by Huang Mingqiao 黃鳴喬 in 1639 (Chongzhen 12); cf. Hsü 1949, pp. 230 and 433; Courant 6875; JWC 2:26. It is a brief history of the Catholic Church in China. Havret has this note on it: “Il ne faut pas le confondre avec un autre livre de titre identique, écrit en 1639 (12e an. de Tch’ong tcheng par le Dr. (promotion de 1592) 黃鳴喬 Hoang Ming kiao du Fou kien. La bibliothèque de Zi ka wei possède un exemplaire de cet ouvrage, qui ne comprend que quatre feuilles. Nous offrons dans l’Appendice la partie du texte de ce dernier écrit, relative à la stèle chrétienne. Il semble, au moins pour la partie historique, que les auteurs de 1662 se sont inspirés de l’opuscule de 1639” (Havret, vol. 2, p. 103, n. 1).

For Xu Zhijian, cf. ECCP 2:876, 890; JWC 2:28–29; JMTTT, p. 1028, col. 4; Väth, pp. 297, 299, 305. For Xu Zuanzeng, cf. JWC 2:71–80; Hsü 1940, pp. 115–118.
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 140-142.

Full bibliographic citation see: Ad Dudink & Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT-Database).
Online at ARSI Chinese Books.
Local access dig.pdf. See ARSI Jap-Sin I-IV folder [Jap-Sin I-89.pdf]

Subject(s)Catholic Church--China--Apologetic works--Qing dynasty, 1644-1911--Sources
Rec. TypeBook (Text in Collection), and Digital Book (PDF)LanguageChinese 中文
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #14512