Traduttore, Traditore: The Jesuit Construction of Science via Translation in Ming-Qing China, 1600-1800

Thursday, March 06, 2014
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Fromm Hall 115 - Berman Room
Event Type
Events and Lectures
Lee, May
Center for Pacific Rim

Traduttore, Traditore: The Jesuit Construction of Sciencevia Translation in Ming-Qing China, 1600-1800

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 5:00 – 6:30 PM
Fromm Hall, Berman Room, University of San Francisco

Speaker: Dr. Benjamin Elman, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University
Discussion facilitator: Dr. Mark Miller, Assistant Professor, St. Ignatius Institute, University of San Francisco

When Europeans reached China during the age of exploration, they encountered different scientific explanations for natural phenomena. European scientia, represented by the specialized branches of Aristotelian moral and natural philosophy, encountered in China the naturalistic concepts of yin-yang, qi, and the classical ideal of the six arts.

This lecture will examine early modern scientific texts translated jointly by Christian missionaries and Chinese literati. These translations were not simply byproducts of the missionary enterprise, but texts encoded with Christian messages and religiously-induced silences written in classical Chinese. The focus is not on translation as a futile exercise in philosophical incommensurability, but on the use of Christian beliefs in scientific textbooks translated into Chinese.

Third lecture in a series on Faith and Reason: the Jesuit Legacy in East-West Scientific Exchange funded in part by the USF Jesuit Foundation. Co-sponsored by the USF Ricci Institute and the USF St. Ignatius Institute.

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