Mystic Creatures—Typological Figuration in Jesuit Figurists’ Re-interpretation of Chinese Classics
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AbstractSinologists have long been at the forefront of cultural exchanges between China the West. In the process of intercultural exchanges, early Sinologists also played the role as translators, and translation has become a necessary means to cross the cultural and language borders. In this paper, the author focuses on one of the earliest groups of Sinologists, Jesuit Figurists, and discussed how they translated mystic creatures in Chinese classics, such as dragon, qilin, dog, and Chinese mythological figures, in their typological exegesis as a tool of proselytization. Interestingly, in their translations into Latin, the Three Sovereigns 三皇 and Chinese mythological figures were depicted as biblical figures or figures in Greek and Roman mythology to parallel with the biblical stories and shorten the gap; in their translations in Chinese manuscripts, the betrayal of Satan, the fall of Adam and Eve, and the emergence of Jesus were also modelled as mystic creatures in Chinese classics, to lessen the foreignness. What makes my paper different from the past scholarship on Jesuit Figurists is that, the examination and comparison of the Figurists’ Latin and Chinese manuscripts in this paper shows their purposed inclination of retelling the stories to cater to the needs of their target audience, including both the message and the format. In addition, this paper will also center on the timeline of the history they built to parallel with the biblical history and the space they borrowed from classics and records of mythic geography, such as Shai Hai Jing (The Classic of Mountains and Seas), etc, to create a new space to fit the histories and mythologies on both sides. The inception of their establishment of Sinology might not only start from their studies of the Four Books and the Five Classics, but also might also incorporated their readings and interpretations of Chinese canons of mythology, geography and witchcrafts.
Acceptance Date31/12/2018
All Author(s) ListSophie Ling-chia Wei
Name of ConferenceCrossing Borders: Sinology In Translation Studies
Start Date of Conference13/06/2019
End Date of Conference15/06/2019
Place of ConferenceCUHK
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
Year2019
Month6
Day15
Place of PublicationCUHK
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsJesuit Figurists, Mystic Creatures, Christianity

Last updated on 2019-23-12 at 09:25