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Imagined civilizations : China, the West, and their first encounter
AuthorHart, Roger (Roger Preston)
Pub. LocationBaltimore, MDPublisherJohns Hopkins University Press
Date2013Phys. Desc.vii, 374 pages : ill. ; 25 cm.
LocationHallway CasesCall NumberBV3417.H37 2013
Imagined civilizations : China, the West, and their first encounter / Roger Hart.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-366) and index.

"Accounts of the seventeenth-century Jesuit Mission to China have often celebrated it as the great encounter of two civilizations. The Jesuits portrayed themselves as wise men from the West who used mathematics and science in service of their mission. Chinese literati-official Xu Guangqi (1562-1633), who collaborated with the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) to translate Euclid's Elements into Chinese, reportedly recognized the superiority of Western mathematics and science and converted to Christianity. Most narratives relegate Xu and the Chinese to subsidiary roles as the Jesuits' translators, followers, and converts. Imagined Civilizations tells the story from the Chinese point of view. Using Chinese primary sources, Roger Hart focuses in particular on Xu, who was in a position of considerable power over Ricci. The result is a perspective startlingly different from that found in previous studies. Hart analyzes Chinese mathematical treatises of the period, revealing that Xu and his collaborators could not have believed their declaration of the superiority of Western mathematics. Imagined Civilizations explains how Xu's West served as a crucial resource. While the Jesuits claimed Xu as a convert, he presented the Jesuits as men from afar who had traveled from the West to China to serve the emperor."--Publisher's website.

Science as the measure of civilizations -- From Copula to incommensurable worlds -- Mathematical texts in historical context -- Tracing practices purloined by the three pillars -- Xu Guangqi, Grand Guardian -- Conclusions -- Acknowledgments -- Appendix A: Zhu Zaiyu's New theory of calculation -- Appendix B: Xu Guangqi's Right triangles, meanings -- Appendix C: Xu Guangqi's writings.

In English; some text in Chinese with accompanying English translation.
Text also online at EBSCO host (USF community only).

Subject(s)Ricci, Matteo 利瑪竇, 1552-1610--Contributions in mathematics
Xu Guangqi 徐光啟, 1562-1633. Jihe yuanben 幾何原本
Jesuits--Missions--China--History--16th-17th centuries
Mathematics, Chinese--Early works to 1800
Mathematics--China--History--17th-18th centuries--Jesuit contributions
Mathematics--China--History--Western influence
Rec. TypeBookLanguageEnglish, Chinese
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryRec. #18207
ISBN9781421406060 ; 1421406063OCLC856582995