|Jesuit accounts of Chinese history and chronology and their Chinese sources / Nicolas Standaert.|
Offprint from EASTM 35 (2012):11-88. Special Issue: Networks and Circulation of Knowledge: Encounters between Jesuits, Manchus and Chinese in Late Imperial China.
EASTM available online via Gleeson Library.
Includes bibliographical references p. 78-87.
See also accompanying treatise in the same number: Biblical Chronology and the Transmission of the Theory of Six "World Ages" to China: "Gezhi aolüe" 格致奧略 (Outline of the mystery [revealed through] natural science ; before 1723) by Ad Dudink.
Local access dig.pdf. [Standaert-Chinese chronology.pdf]
Abstract: When Jesuit missionaries went to China in the seventeenth century, they discovered that Chinese history was in many regards apparently longer than the history as presented by the Bible. Subsequently, they started to translate Chinese histories, which they sent back to Europe, and
which in the eighteenth century were adopted by Enlightenment thinkers for their own purposes. The European side of this story is quite well known, but what about the Chinese side? What sources did the Jesuits use and how did these sources interpret ancient history?
As part of a larger project, these questions about the Chinese sources are answered from an intercultural perspective. The missionaries not only used classical Chinese histories written during the Song dynasty (960-1279), but also numerous newly edited or newly composed works from the seventeenth century. While they themselves originated from a Europe in which the ars historica was in full transition, they met a situation in China where new approaches to history had emerged. They used comprehensive histories, such as the one by the late Ming scholar Nan Xuan 南軒, or the more wide-spread genres, such as gangjian 綱鑑 (outline and mirror) histories, which from the late eighteenth century fell into oblivion. In fact, the sources used by the Jesuits not only throw light on their own compilations that were ultimately sent to Europe, but also on the writing of history in China in the late Ming (1368-1644) and the early Qing dynasties (1644-1911).