Macau Ricci Institute (MRI)
Selected articles and monographs of the Macau Ricci Institute (http://www.riccimacau.riccimac.org/index.php/en/) on the history of the Jesuit mission in China, and Macau in particular, as well as studies on business and finance ethics, responsible leadership and management, Confucian ethics, and comparative spirituality. The collection is supported by the Macau Ricci Institute and aims to make known its research work. [Planned end 2019]
Exchange of learning yet failed encounter : Behind challenges, the Acta Pekinensia, an unpublished manuscriptTowards the end of the European Renaissance period, a new era of cultural encounter opened in China as in Europe. In the West, despite religious and cultural crises, it was a time of internal reorganisation and global explorations. In the midst of those trouble times, the person of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) has been seen as an initiator. Attention will first be paid to analyse the reasons for such a role and what gave Ricci so great a success: actually, what did he achieve in the “exchange of learning” at the time, be it in the philosophic or scientific fields? But soon after his death and for no less than a century (1610-1710), Matteo Ricci’s legacy has generated a large array of disputed interpretations, not first or only in the Chinese Empire for his so called “accommodative” approach to Chinese cultural and spiritual traditions, but all the more so in Europe. Ricci’s successors and fellow Jesuits, through their many letters from China and scholarly publications in Europe, did their best in defending their cause. With the European intelligentsia they shared some of the “Chinese learning” they had explored. But they had not foreseen that such a sharing and their humanistic education and culture were fostering at their disadvantage the “enlightenment spirit” of the European political establishment. That was the background of the so called Chinese Rites Controversy in Europe. To quench the many disputes, the Roman ecclesiastical authorities finally sent the Maillard de Tournon legation (1705-1710) to China as if it were to build too late “a bridge too far” to be solid. The proceedings of the legation and of its failure are narrated in the manuscript called Acta Pekinensia, soon to be published in the first English annotated translation. In this context of “exchange of learning”, details on the manuscript and its first publication project will be given. Reflections on the challenges hidden in such an exchange and the failed cultural encounter that followed will finally be proposed which could give some hints on the global tasks ahead.
A New ‘Chinese Learning’ in a Quest for ValuesIn the present context of “China’s peaceful rise” ‒ policies and facts ‒ it is not rare for cultural events like Olympic Games competitions, Universal Exhibition or even some book fairs to be viewed by world media as “soft diplomacy” means. Setting aside any subsequent controversy, any rise on the international scene has to be supported by the attractiveness generated by the “values” it offers. Chinese Studies are not anymore limited to scholarly research for some better knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture, history and civilisation. Beyond information on the nation’s achievements, they engage also into some reflective sharing on challenges lying ahead. In the “quest for values” just mentioned, it is worth observing and analysing what might be called a “Confucian renaissance” at home and abroad, in its various dimensions and tenets. But such a quest goes beyond the level of means. For decades, contemporary Chinese academe had to deal with what might be called an historical predicament, briefly expressed in one sentence: “以中为体，以西为用”. As Chinese society still tends to reach some symbiosis with this “substance and function” tension, the time has probably come for New Chinese Studies to engage in new vistas more respectful of Chinese intellectual traditions. Philosophy and Classical Studies are here mentioned as good examples of what is at stake. The attractiveness of the “China rise” would not suffer from it.