Small 8vo, pp. 553, ; insignificant dampstain in fore-margin of a few leaves, short worm-track in lower margin of a dozen leaves (not affecting text); a very good copy in contemporary vellum; slightly rubbed and soiled.
US $1968 €1677
First edition of this substantial defence of the Jesuit position in the Chinese Rites Controversy. It is a rebuttal of Noël Alexandre’s Apologia de Padri Domenicani missionarii della China (published, also under a false Cologne imprint, in both French and Italian in 1699); Alexandre, an eminent theologian at the Sorbonne, led the attack against the Jesuits in France.
In essence the Rites Controversy had its origins in the accomodation made in the late 16th century by Matteo Ricci to traditional Chinese religious practices and customs; an allied issue was the ‘Term Question’, whether the use of the Chinese terms T’ien and Shang-ti for God could be employed in a Christian context. After 1600, when the China mission ceased to be the exclusive preserve of the Jesuits, their policy was increasingly questioned by other missionary orders (notably the Dominicans), who argued that the Jesuits condoned superstition, even idolatry, and as such compromised the Christian message and the true ends of the missions in China.
1700, the date of publication, was an especially disputatious year in the Controversy, marked notably by the formal censure of the Jesuits by the Sorbonne and the Jesuits’ appeal to the Chinese Emperor to define the nature of the Rites (he assured them that the Rites were not religious but civic and social, but the Jesuits’ resort to his opinion only added to their opponents’ conviction that the Society was more inclined to follow the Son of Heaven than the Vicar of Christ: see J. S. Cummins, A question of rites, p. 235).
Cordier, Sinica 877; Sommervogel I 1301; Streit VII 2065.
You may also be interested in...
Manifiesto por la justificacion de D. Fr. Phelipe Pardo, arzobispo de la ciudad de Manila, en las Islas Philipinas, en orden a la absolucion, y penitencia del maestre de campo D. Juan de Vargas Hurtado, y exhumacion de los cuerpos de dos ministros togados. Dale a luz Fr. Raymundo Berart, del orden de predicadores, doctor en ambos derechos, y cathedratico que ha sido de canones en la universidad de Lerida, poder habiente de dicho arçobispo.
First edition. A defence of archbishop Pardo of Manila in his dispute with the governor of that city, Juan de Vargas, written by his most trusted adviser Berart, a Dominican priest, who was a central figure in the controversy. Retana notes that this was the last work to be published on the ecclesiastical disputes which occurred in the Philippines during the 1580s. It is illustrative of the growing struggle for power within the Spanish empire between the various religious orders and the secular authorities in parts of the world distant from the influence of the central government in Madrid.
Apologie pour Iehan Chastel Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les peres & escholliers, de la Societé de Iesus, bannis du royaume de France. Contre l’arrest de Parlement, donné contre eux a Paris, le 29 Decembre, 1594. Diuisée en cinq parties. Par François de Verone Constantin.
First edition of Boucher’s pseudonymous apology for Jean Châtel’s attempted assassination of Henri IV, described by the author as an ‘acte heroique’. Boucher (1548-1644) was prior and rector of the Sorbonne and an active member of the Catholic League who openly incited violent revolt against Henry III and Henry IV, refusing to accept the latter’s conversion to Catholicism. The Apologie was written during his exile in the Netherlands. On 27 December 1594, the nineteen-year-old Châtel attacked Henri IV with a knife in the chamber of his mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées, cutting the king’s lip and breaking a tooth. While Châtel was publicly tortured and dismembered, an enquiry discovered that he had studied with the Jesuits at the Collège de Clermont. The Jesuits were quickly accused of supporting Châtel’s attempted regicide; Père Guignard, the Jesuits’ librarian in Paris, was publicly executed and the Jesuits were expelled from France by parliamentary decree. In addition to defending Châtel, Boucher deplores the actions against the Jesuits and encourages a new attempt on Henri’s life.