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HISA04H3 Lecture Notes - Taoism

Course Code
William Nelson

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Week 8, Lecture 8 HISA04 Themes in World History I Wed 31st Oct
The Jesuits in China (Continued)
- Taken advantageous from the encounter of Jesuits, but the Jesuits did not succeed as well
as they and thought and only converted a handful of the population.
- Jesuits helped map the Chinese territory when they were welcomed to the government.
- Brought with them astronomy and cartography in map-making and the Emperor allowed
them in the courts and government.
- Stories of the Bible were translated into Chinese and stories of the Bible visually were
created by Chinese artists using traditional artistic ways.
- Bible characters, locations, and items etc. were changed to ‘Chinese’ versions to make it
more local; examples: trees, tables, background etc. were all changed to commonly seen
things in China to give it a more local feel.
- Blending of Chinese traditions, culture, and religious figures in remade Bible stories with
Christian traditions, culture, and religious figures.
- Pope did not like the blending of religions by people who were converted to Christianity
like the traditions of Daoism and Confucianism ad the practices of sacrifice and etc.
Emperor Kangxi’s enraged response to the Pope
- In 1715, he wrote: “I ask myself how these uncultivated Westerners dare to speak of the
great percepts of China… Their doctrine is of the same kind as the little heresies of the
Buddhist and Taoist monks… These are the greatest absurdities that have ever been seen.
As from now I forbid the Westerners to spread their doctrines in China; that will spare us
a lot of trouble.”
- Jesuits converted approximately 300 million by 1880.
- This was an attempt by Jesuits to create Christian Syncretism—the blending of Chinese
religions, traditions, practices, and culture with Christian religion, traditions, practices,
and culture.
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