Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

The Theory of Soul in the Context of late Ming Exchange between China, Japan and Europe

Author: DUAN Shilei, Ph.D. Candidate, Zhejiang University of China



This essay investigates the diverse dimensions of the theory of the soul in the context of communication between China, Japan and Europe in the late Ming Dynasty. Using newly discovered historical materials, and comparing the works of Alessandro Valignano, Petro Gomes, Matteo Ricci and Fukansai Habian, the paper argues that the three later missionaries worked under the influence of Alessandro Valignano’s thought and strategy, demonstrating the existence of God in a rational way. Valignano’s Catechismus, Petro Gomes’s Compendia , Fukansai Habian’s Myotei mondo and Matteo Ricci’s Tianzhu shi yi also all take the will as an important function of the soul, because the will is related to ethics, which reflects the essence of the spirituality in East Asian culture. Each of the works embody Alessandro Valignano’s strategy of accommodation, in an attempt to reconcile Eastern and Western cultures. 



Alessandro Valignano,Myotei mondo,Tianzhu shi yi, Textbooks of Japanese College, Theory of Soul


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