Giulio Aleni’s Adaption and Interpretation of Chinese Confucian Culture

Bianting LÜ, Jianguo LIU, Luyu HUANG


Giulio Aleni with the mission from Society of Jesus came to China for Catholic missionary work in 1610 and died in Yanping Fujian Province in 1649, altogether living in China for thirty-nine years. Giulio Aleni, who was the most popular Catholic missionary by the literati of China and was called him ‘Confucius from the West’, was proficient in Chinese language, learned a lot, and wrote many books and had a reputation in China for his quick wit. Giulio Aleni followed the view provided by Matteo Ricci to divide Chinese Confucianism into Pre-Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism; then believed that Catholic righteousness and Pre-Confucianism had some similarities or commonalities in the fields of faith and worship, ethics and etiquette of the highest god; also thought that the taiji, li and qi of Neo-Confucianism are not the original or creator of all things in the world, but something of material and Meta nature; and used western philosophy theory to interpret the inner taiji of Neo-Confucianism in Song and Ming Dynasty as an external material. Through analyzing the similarities and differences between Catholicism and Confucianism, he presupposes a dependency relationship between the God concept of Western Christianity and Chinese Confucian concepts, in order to consciously reduce the status of the metaphysical system of Confucianism, and put it under the theory of Western Christian creationism.


Giulio Aleni; Adaption and interpretation; Chinese confucian culture

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