The Chinese Rites Controversy

Its History and Meaning

This collection presents the proceedings of an international conference on the significance of the Rites Controversy in Sino-Western history, held in San Francisco in 1992. It contains fifteen articles by contemporary mainstream China scholars from four continents, including some of the most eminent names in Sinology today.


"This volume seeks to cover the full range of current interpretations of the Rites Controversy, and Mungello’s introduction provides a useful guide to them."

Philosophy East & West


"Most of the essays are very well researched and provide much new information on and new insights into a brief but highly significant episode of the protracted Chinese Rites and Term Controversy. Since there is as yet no definitive or comprehensive history, this scholarly work affords a useful introduction to the tragic struggle which agitated the church for several centuries."

R.G. Tiedemann
in International Bulletin of Missionary Research 





I. Introduction

D.E. MUNGELLO: An Introduction to the Chinese Rites Controversy 

JONATHAN D. SPENCE: Claims and Counter-Claims: The Kangxi-Emperor and the Europeans (1661—1722)


II. Chinese Views of the Rites Controversy

ERIK ZÜRCHER: Jesuit Accomodation and the Chinese Cultural Imperative

LIN JINSHUI: Chinese Literati and the Rites Controversy

JOHN DRAGON YOUNG: Chinese Views of Rites and the Rites Controversy, 18th—20th Centuries


III. The Dominicans and the Figurists

JOHN E. WILLS, JR.: From Manila to Fuan: Asian Contexts of Dominican Mission Policy

KNUT LUNDBAEK: Joseph Prémare and the Name of God in China


IV. The Theological and Political Controversy

CLAUDIA VON COLLANI: Charles Maigrot's Role in the Chinese Rites Controversy

JOHN W. WITEK, S.J.: Eliminating Misunderstandings: Antoine de Beauvollier (1657—1708) and His Eclaircissements sur les controverses de la Chine

EDWARD J. MALATESTA, S.J.: A Fatal Clash of Wills: The Condemnation of the Chinese Rites by the Papal Legate Carlo Tommaso Maillard de Tournon


V. The Past, Present and Future of the Rites Controversy

PAUL RULE: Towards a History of the Chinese Rites Controversy

RICHARD MADSEN: The Catholic Church in China Today: A New Rites Controversy?


VI. Commentaries

MICHAEL J. BUCKLEY, S.J.: The Suppression of the Chinese Rites: A Suggestion of Some Factors

DONALD W. TREADGOLD: The Crossing of Cultural Bridges

WM. THEODORE DE BARY: Reflections on the Chinese Rites Controversy


List of Contributors

Index with Glossary



Monumenta Serica
Monograph Series XXXIII

ISBN 3-8050-0348-X
ISSN 0179-261X