Dijkstra, Printing and Publishing Chinese Religion and Philosophy in the Dutch Republic, 1595-1700

Trude Dijkstra has published Printing and Publishing Chinese Religion and Philosophy in the Dutch Republic, 1595-1700: The Chinese Imprint (Brill, 2022). See here and below.

This book discusses how Chinese religion and philosophy were represented in printed works produced in the Dutch Republic between 1595 and 1700. By focusing on books, newspapers, learned journals, and pamphlets, Trude Dijkstra sheds new light on the cultural encounter between China and western Europe in the early modern period. Form, content, and material-technical aspects of different media in Dutch and French are analysed, providing new insights into the ways in which readers could take note of Chinese religion and philosophy. This study thereby demonstrates that there was no singular image of China and its religion and philosophy, but rather a varied array of notions on the subject.

2 thoughts on “Dijkstra, Printing and Publishing Chinese Religion and Philosophy in the Dutch Republic, 1595-1700

  1. Presumably the promised open access to this title depends on the publication of a PDF edition. According to the publisher’s website this edition (due on 15 December) is “not yet published”.

  2. Perhaps signs of Confucius’ influence on Enlightenment thought can be found in Enlightenment texts themselves, as supplemented by such historical studies. For example, though Locke’s “Some Thoughts Concerning Education” does not agree with Confucius’ view that being “in love with virtue” (Locke’s phrase) is rare, it seems to echo the point in Analects 8.2 that the habitual formal expression of respect, which Locke calls “manners” or “breeding,” is a necessary helpmeet for virtuous dispositions, by checking and channeling their expression in action.

    “Courage in an ill-bred man has the air and escapes not the opinion of brutality: Learning becomes pedantry; wit, buffoonery; plainness, rusticity; good nature, fawning. And there cannot be a good quality in him, which want of breeding will not warp and disfigure to his disadvantage.” (Some Thoughts, §93)

    The passage suggests that Locke read and was influenced by the Analects, or at least selections. Locke wrote this in Utrecht or Amsterdam, having arrived in the Netherlands the year before in flight from Britain’s patriarchalist authorities. At that time a complete Dutch and a partial Latin translation of the Analects had recently been published, and in Amsterdam there was significant academic interest in Confucius and China. Locke was of course quite fluent in Latin. One of Confucius’ leading Latin translators arrived in the Netherlands from China with a collection of Chinese texts the same year Locke arrived, to kick off a major European publicity tour for the Christian mission to China with a long stay in the Netherlands. See Dijkstra, T. and Weststeijn, T., 2017. Constructing Confucius in the Low Countries. De Zeventiende Eeuw. Cultuur in de Nederlanden in interdisciplinair perspectief, 32(2), pp.137–164. In Thierry Maynard’s English rendering of the Latin terms the Jesuits used for wuli 無禮 at 8.2, these terms appear as “without the appropriate method and measure” (sine debito modo ac mensurâ), “without appropriate moderation” (sine debito moderatione), “without the bridle and moderation of prudence” (prudentiae fraeno ac moderatione), and “without manners and discretion, and unable to hide anything” (sine modo & discretione; nihil valens dissimulare).

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