Friendship and Hospitality
The Jesuit-Confucian Encounter in Late Ming China
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Offers a comparative and deconstructive reading of the cross-cultural encounter between the Jesuits and their Confucian hosts in late Ming China.
The Jesuit mission to China more than four hundred years ago has been the subject of sustained scholarly investigation for centuries. Focusing on the concepts of friendship and hospitality as they were both theorized and practiced by the Jesuit missionaries and their Confucian hosts, this book offers a new, comparative, and deconstructive reading of the interaction between these two vastly different cultures. Dongfeng Xu analyzes how the Jesuits presented their concept of friendship to achieve their evangelical goals and how the Confucians reacted in turn by either displaying or denying hospitality. Challenging the hierarchical view in traditional discourse on friendship and hospitality by revealing the irreducible otherness as the condition of possibility of the two concepts, Xu argues that one legacy of the Jesuit-Confucian encounter has been the shared recognition that cultural differences are what both motivated and conditioned cross-cultural exchanges and understandings.
Dongfeng Xu is Assistant Professor of Chinese at Colgate University.