|Jisi wenda 祭祀問答 / [Hong Yinajue zhu 洪依納爵著].|
JapSin I, (38/42) 40/9a
Jisi wenda 祭祀問答.
By Hong Yinajue (Ignatius) 洪依納爵, Zhu Ximan (Simon) 朱西滿 and Yang Boduolu (Peter) 楊伯多綠.
Manuscript, folios 101–119. Chinese bamboo paper, one volume. 24.5 x 14.5 cm.
The cover bears a Portuguese inscription: “Sobre as controversias.” The first folio bears the title in Chinese. The upper margin bears a Latin inscription: “Tractatus datus P. Intorcettae a Christianis in Ham cheu de Che kiam sub titulo ci su uen ta.”We do not know who the three authors of this treatise were. Ignatius Hong is perhaps Hong Ji 洪濟 who, together with Zhang Xingyao, wrote the Piwang lüeshuo tiaobo 闢妄略說條駁 (cf. [38/42] 40/7a), since he too was from Hangzhou and a contemporary of Intorcetta. In 1676, Intorcetta was Visitor of the Jesuit Mission of Japan and China. Two years later (1678) he became Vice-Provincial of the Chinese Mission. The Jisi wenda must have been written around this time.
At the beginning of his manuscript Ignatius Hong writes that Intorcetta had asked him for an explanation of the veneration of ancestors among the Chinese, and at the same time he himself wanted to know the teaching of the Jesuit missioners to the people on this point. He recalled how Ricci, Aleni and their companions used to discuss these things and came to the conclusion that the Chinese rites for the ancestors were merely expressions of filial piety on the part of the descendants and that there was no usurpation of God’s honor. They forbade, however, the burning of paper money and similar things, or holding the real presence of the spirits of their ancestors, or praying to them for protection and asking favors from them. Such were the things he used to hear from the Jesuit missioners.
At the end of the manuscript there is a letter addressed to Bai laoshi 白老師 by the same authors. Among the Jesuit missioners of this time there were two who had Bai for their family name in Chinese, namely, Johann Grueber 白乃心 (1623–1680) and Joachim Bouvet 白晉 (1656–1730). Since neither of them had ever been missioners in Hangzhou, it is hardly possible that either of them was the person to whom the letter was addressed: “Since your Reverence left us several years ago we have often thought of your Reverence. When will your Reverence be back with us in Hangzhou and give us another chance to listen to your teaching?” I am of the opinion that the recipient may have been Philippe Couplet whose Chinese name was Bai Yingli 柏應理 (1642–1693) and who was a missioner for some time in Zhejiang.
The content of the letter is substantially the same as that of the manuscript. It is interesting to note that the scholars had been asked by Intorcetta whether the Jesuit missioners had allowed Catholics to burn paper money or to read sacrificial odes or to perform other superstitious practices. Their reply was that such things had never happened nor had such things ever appeared in their writings. However, at the end of the letter they gave the information that in Jinhua 金華 (i.e., Lanqi 蘭谿) a certain Mr. Zhu had claimed to have heard something different and had tried to lead the faithful to change the rules. According to our three scholars this way of acting could not be tolerated.
Source: Albert Chan, SJ, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 57-58.