A Cultural History of Modern Science in China by Benjamin A. Elman

By Benjamin A. Elman

Historians of technology and Sinologists have lengthy wanted a unified narrative to explain the chinese language improvement of recent technological know-how, medication, and expertise for the reason that 1600. They welcomed the looks in 2005 of Benjamin Elman's masterwork, on their lonesome phrases. Now Elman has retold the tale of the Jesuit effect on overdue imperial China, circa 1600-1800, and the Protestant period in early glossy China from the 1840s to 1900 in a concise and available shape perfect for the school room. This coherent account of the emergence of contemporary technological know-how in China locations that emergence in historic context for either normal scholars of recent technological know-how and experts of China. (20070112)

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15 During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Copernican system replaced the Tychonic system in Protestant European astronomy, but in China the Tychonic system continued to be used, hampering advances in astronomy. The Jesuits failed to introduce the Copernican system in a timely fashion, even though, for example, a few of Galileo’s discoveries (albeit not his support of heliocentricity) were noted in Ming Jesuit translations. 16 Numerical Tables, Star Maps, and Instrumentation Xu Guangqi recognized how important European astronomical tables, maps of the heavens, and instruments were for calendar reform.

It spontaneously split into a completely differentiated stage of yin and yang. 28 Vagnoni’s Treatise on the Composition of the Universe was in part a refracted presentation of the theory of the four elements from Aristotle’s works. In his translation, for example, Vagnoni vainly tried to convince the Chinese of the error of their ways for including wood and metal and excluding air as the building blocks of things in the world. 29 Vagnoni coined the new term for a primary element to render Aristotle’s concept of element into classical Chinese and to demarcate it from the Chinese notion of five phases: An element is a pure substance in that when divided it does not form any other sort of thing.

44 c h a p t e r t w o RECOVERING THE CHINESE CLASSICS In the aftermath of the Rites Controversy, in which Chinese ancestor worship was debated in Europe, the Kangxi emperor sought to counter what he now considered undue Jesuit influence on the state’s mathematical astronomy. In 1712–1713, he established the Studio for the Cultivation of Youth in the suburban Lofty Pavilion Garden-Palace to encourage astronomical work by the emperor’s own Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol mathematicians (even though he still needed to employ French Jesuits to improve the calendar).

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