|Zhengli chuyi 證禮蒭議 : jinqi chaoben 近期抄本 / [Li Jiugong zhu 李九功著].|
JapSin I, (38/42) 40/8
Zhengli chuyi 證禮蒭議.
By Li Jiugong 李九功.
Manuscript, folios 71–96. Red ruled paper, one volume. 24 x 14 cm.
The title of the book is written on the upper middle centre of each folio; below is written: 卷一 (juan 1), followed by the number of the folio.
At the beginning there is an introduction by the author, in which he gives an explanation of the reason why the manuscript was written: with the introduction of Buddhism into China the customs of the people became more complicated and the rites became adulterated. The rites of the ancient kings suffered great detriment. To remedy this, careful study is necessary for a reasonable restoration. At the end of the introduction there is an inscription: 閩中景教後學李九功聖明多默著 (Written by Li Jiugong whose Christian name is Thomas, a native of Fujian and a disciple of the Catholic [literally: Nestorian] religion). The main text is divided into four parts:
1. On funeral ceremonies.
2. On burial ceremonies.
3. On the rites for ancestors.
On the rites for the veneration of Confucius.
Catholicism had been introduced in China only a short while before, and the problem of how to deal with Chinese rites and Chinese custom was pressing. An attempt to adopt Western traditions would have been incongruous for the Chinese. On the other hand, if all the Chinese traditions were followed, it was to be feared that many superstitious practices might interfere with the Catholic teaching; hence an accommodation was necessary. The term chuyi 蒭議(rustic opinion), which Li Jiugong gave to his book, clearly indicates that this was only one man’s idea, which he hoped the authorities would take into consideration and adopt as necessary. His discussion is based both on ancient Chinese writings and on Christian authorities, and it seeks to show that there was no contradiction between the two. But he opposes unorthodox doctrines vehemently. On folio 84 he points out that when the ancient classics say that Confucius venerated Heaven, the word tian 天 is taken to mean the Lord of Heaven. He therefore exhorts all the followers of Confucius to imitate the good example of the great master.
There are a number of mistakes in the transcription. Thus, in the introduction the phrase 五而季下 should be 五季而下 and on p. 84 朝聞夕可 the word 可 should be 死 The word 于 is often written as 子, the word 蠟 as 蠛, 豐 as [曲 + 豆], 幽 as [凶 + 米] and 譏 as [言 + 几]. Even the punctuation is not always correct.
Cf. Jap-Sin I, (38/42) 42/2c (earlier version).
Source: Albert Chan, SJ, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 56-57.