The Influence of Qiu Jun on Jesuit Missionaries and Chinese Christian Texts in Ming–Qing China


Dadui Yao

Religions (Special Issue: The Catholic Encounter with Chinese Thought, Society and Politics in the Ming–Qing Dynasties), 2024

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Abstract: Qiu Jun 丘濬 (1421–1495), a prominent scholar of the mid-Ming dynasty, served in four imperial courts and is widely considered one of the most influential intellectuals of the middle and late Ming periods. His extensive writings profoundly influenced the interpretation of Confucian classics, the study and practice of Confucian rituals, and the development of governance and early economic thought aimed at benefiting the common people. Historians consider him the “leader of literary officials in the Ming Dynasty” 有明一代文臣之宗 (Hao et al. 2021, p. 95). Scholars such as Chu Hung-lam and Lee Cheuk-yin have conducted detailed discussions on Qiu Jun’s life and his significant contributions (Chu 1984; Lee 1984, 2005). However, the influence of Qiu Jun’s works extends beyond the realm of the Chinese literati and has reached Western missionaries and Chinese Catholic adherents, extending beyond the borders of China. The impact of Qiu Jun’s writings on Jesuit missionaries during the Ming–Qing period in China remains largely unexplored. Therefore, this article examines the twofold relationships between Qiu Jun’s oeuvre and the Jesuit missionaries’ Latin translations of Confucian classics, as well as Qiu’s impact on Chinese Catholic texts, both of which were intricately tied to the Chinese Rites Controversy during the late Ming and early Qing periods.

About the author: Dadui Yao was a HYI Visiting Fellow from 2011-12.