Article of Interest: “Discovering Wang Yangming” by George L. Israel

George L. Israel. “Discovering Wang Yangming: Scholarship in Europe and North America, 1600-1950, “Monumenta Serica 66, no. 2 (2018)

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The Ming dynasty Confucian philosopher Wang Yangming (1472–1529) has been the subject of a European and North American literature since at least the 18th century. But the rich history of writing about him in the West has been largely obscured by an English-language scholarship published in the 1960s and 1970s. This earlier literature nevertheless provides one window into the broader history of intellectual encounter between China and the West, shedding light on it from the angle of the discovery of one of late imperial China’s most influential scholar-officials. This article’s goal is to provide a history of writing about Wang Yangming in Europe and North America from the 17th century to 1950, demonstrating both how historical circumstances shaped his reception and interpretation, and that these earlier accounts shared valuable insights yet worthy of our attention today.

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