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Liyi dawen 禮儀答問. [Jap-Sin I, (38/42) 40/10a]
AuthorXia, Mathias 夏瑪第亞, fl. 1686
Pub. LocationTaibei 臺北PublisherTaipei Ricci Institute 利氏學社
Date2002Phys. Desc.v. 10 pp. 115-144 ; 22 cm.
LocationHallway CasesCall NumberBX1665.A2 Y47 2002 v. 10
[Liyi dawen 禮儀答問] / Xia Madiya zhu 夏瑪第亞著].

JapSin I, (38/42) 40/10a
[Liyi dawen 禮儀答問].
By Xia Madiya (Mathias) 夏瑪第亞.
Manuscript, folios 171–194. Chinese bamboo paper, one volume. 24 x 14 cm.

On the margin of folio 171 there is a Portuguese inscription: “Este tratado he de Hia Siam cum p. Sto nome Mathias, Bacharel de Kien cheu que mora na Igra de Can cheu e o deo à o P. Gabiani V. Pro. 1” (cf. Jap-Sin I, 39/1).
No title is given in this book, but because its style is similar to that of the Liyi wenda 禮儀問答 (Jap-Sin I, [38/42] 40/7b) we give it the title Liyi dawen. It was written by the xianggong Mathias Xia, who later presented the manuscript to Giandomenico Gabiani.
The questions asked in this text are the same as those in the above mentioned Liyi wenda. The replies are carefully considered. The author prefers to leave out what is doubtful rather than to force an answer. For instance, in reply to the question on the ceremonies performed at solar or lunar eclipses, this answer is given:
If we wish to discuss things Chinese we must have sufficient Chinese books, otherwise we do not dare to make statements which may be uncertain, lest the pagans think that what we say is not true and we may lead them to think that our Christian teachings are false. In China, whatever we try to do must have an explanation. If we wish to discuss something we must go to the essential points before we can handle it. Hence it is not difficult to speak about something but it is difficult to be well informed. It is not difficult to be well informed, but it is difficult to possess all the necessary books.
He then goes on to cite three important books:

1. Fengzhou tongjian 鳳洲通鑑 by Wang Shizhen 王世貞 (1526–1590).
2. Shiwu yuanshi 事物原始 (probably the author meant the Shiwu jiyuan 事物紀原 by Gao Cheng 高承 of the Song dynasty).
3. Soushen ji 搜神記 by Gan Bao 干寶 of the Jin 晉 dynasty.

He excuses himself for not being able to answer the questions fully because the above mentioned books were not available in Ganzhou. He vehemently denies that in the veneration of ancestors the idea of supplication for their protection and blessings was involved. At the same time he tries to show the misunderstanding of some of the adversaries who give quotations of the Classics without knowing the exact meaning of the context.

Source: Albert Chan, SJ, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 60-61.

Subject(s)Chinese Rites controversy--Sources
Ancestor worship--China--Religious aspects
Rites and ceremonies--China--Sources
SeriesChinese Christian texts from the Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus ; v. 10
Yesuhui Luoma dang'anguan Ming-Qing Tianzhujiao wenxian 耶穌會羅馬檔案館明清天主教文獻 ; 第10冊
Rec. TypeBookLanguageChinese 中文
CollectionRicci Institute LibraryEdition初版Rec. #5336