Most Islamic texts rendered in Classical Chinese from 1500 to 1800 came from Sufi texts in Arabic. Many Muslim scholars in China had long contended that their Sufi doctrines were not only compatible with the imperial orthodoxy, defined by Confucian canon, but also revealed Confucianism as one of many paths to the universal truth. The missionaries from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), who arrive at China after 1600, followed their opponent’s (Muslim) tactic by claiming that Catholicism was also compatible with Confucianism. In this talk, I will describe the parallel of Muslim and Catholic ways in attempting to demonstrate their compatibility with imperial orthodoxy and show how the imperial court of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) managed to tolerate the coexistence of Catholicism, Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, Chan Buddhism as subsets of Confucian canon.
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