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Some observations on Philippe Couplet(1623∼1693)’s reading of Ye Kim(『易經』 ) - Focusing on his latin translation of the Kien figure(謙卦) -

AHN Jaewon 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In general, this essay is concerned with how to read Confucius Sinarum Philosophus sive Scientia Sinensis(=Confucius). It focused on exploring Couplet’s latin translation of Kien figura and his letter to Louis XIV was a case study of answering the questions: how he understood Ye Kim(易經)and what was the core reason for selecting the Kien figure(謙卦) from the 64 figures. In this regard, I contend that the rex perfectus who was idealized in the Kien figure refers to Louis XIV, comparing Couplet’s latin translation of the Kien figure with his letter to Louis XIV. Doing this,however, I have observed that Confucius Sinarum Philosophus sive Scientia Sinensis is not a mere translation of a Chinese Classical Text but a “curious” text in itself. The latin translation of the Chinese letter Kien (謙) can be an example of this. Surprisingly, it was translated into humanitas which was an essential concept of Cicero’s scholarship. Humanitas in the translated Confucius, however, is not identical to Cicero’s humanitas-idea. Couplet attached the idea of divinitas to Cicero’s humanitas-idea. By attaching this, Couplet tried to persuade Louis XIV to become a modest and obedient King to SUPREMUS DOMINUS, with Confucius as a testimony for his persuasion. With the above discussion,it can be concluded that Confucius could be considered not only to be a philosophus Sinensis but also a philosohphus Latinus. Confucius is, in a way, a “hybrid” text. It is widely recognized that Confucius is a very significant text for studying the encounter - history between the East and the West. In this regard, however, I believe that Confucius urgently requires a new critical edition for a reliable scholarship.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.