|Xinfa biaoyi 新法表異. [Jap-Sin II, 39.4-5]|
|Full bibliographic citation see: Ad Dudink & Nicolas Standaert, Chinese Christian Texts Database (CCT-Database).|
JapSin II, 39.4-5
Xinfa biaoyi 新法表異.
By Tang Ruowang 湯若望 (Johann Adam Schall von Bell).
Two juan. Bamboo paper, one ce.
No date or place of publication.
The cover bears a label with the title and a Latin inscription: “Differentia inter Euro | paeam et sinicam astro | nomiam | a p. Adamo Schall | S.J. | 2 tomi.”Folio 1r bears the title and the number of the juan and the author’s name 敕錫〔賜〕通微教師加二品通政使司通政使掌欽天監印務事臣湯若望著. There are nine columns in each half folio with twenty characters in each column. The title is given in the middle of each folio with the number of the juan and the number of the folio below the fish tail. Juan A consists of thirty-five and juan B of twenty-two folios.
The Xinfa biaoyi (Divergences of the new calendar) was written about 1634. It is divided into two parts. Juan A is a general study of the ancient Chinese calendars. According to Schall, although it had been said that there were over seventy calendar experts in the history of China, in reality, there were only forty odd. Juan B deals with the new calendar adopted by the Manchus after fall of Beijing in 1644. It is the Western calendar introduced into China by the Jesuits.
Folio 35 of juan A gives a brief account of the reform of the calendar at the end of the Ming dynasty:
The proposal for calendar reform was first made in the Wanli reign, and the decision was made in the Chongzhen period. It was in the jisi 己巳 year (i.e., 1629, Chongzhen 2), when I was summoned [to the capital] where I wrote [books] and set up instruments. Six years later, the calendar was ready, and after verification both before and after, we found [the calendar] to be in close accord with the celestial movements. At that time, there was a scholar, Wei Wenkui 魏文魁 by name, known as a calendar expert, who had been in the service of His Excellency Xing Yunlu 邢雲路, the Surveillance Commissioner 按察使. This man had written a book entitled: Lüli kao 律曆考. He too came with his disciples and having presented a memorial to the throne, he petitioned that a calendar bureau should be set up for his school with the intention of competing with us. His calculations were later found to be inaccurate and he was dismissed. The new system continued to prevail. In the Forbidden City, His Majesty himself took interest in the calculations and time and again gave high praise to our achievements. Unfortunately, the situation of the empire was precarious and became worse as time went on. With uninterrupted warfare throughout the empire, it was impossible to promote the new calendar, a fact that was lamented by many contemporaries.Cf. Pfister, p. 180, no. 24; Courant 4952; Väth, p. 363, no. 7.
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 327-328.