Western gods meet in the east

Shapes and contexts of the muslim-jesuit dialogue in early modern China

Zvi Ben-Dor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This essay is concerned with the possibilities and limitations of the Jesuit-Islamic dialogue in China in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It presents and discusses evidence for the interest of Chinese Muslims and Jesuits in each other almost from the outset, immediately after Matteo Ricci's arrival in China. Muslims read Jesuit material and even incorporated it in their own works. Chinese Muslims were not, however, interested in Jesuit doctrines because of a shared monotheist faith: Chinese Muslims clearly saw Christianity not as a sister faith but as a Western one, and that was the main reason for their interest. With regard to the tendency to compare Jesuits and Chinese Muslims as two rivals competing for success in the Chinese world of ideas, the Chinese Muslim scholars should be considered not as rivals of the Jesuits but primarily as Chinese scholars engaging Jesuit knowledge and using it selectively for their own purposes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)517-546
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
    Volume55
    Issue number2-3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Jesuit
    god
    Muslim
    dialogue
    China
    faith
    sixteenth century
    Muslims
    Deity
    Jesuits
    Modern China
    Christianity
    seventeenth century
    doctrine
    evidence

    Keywords

    • Buddhism
    • China
    • Confucianism
    • Heaven
    • Islam
    • Ricci

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Western gods meet in the east : Shapes and contexts of the muslim-jesuit dialogue in early modern China. / Ben-Dor, Zvi.

    In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 55, No. 2-3, 2012, p. 517-546.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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