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Xixue zhongyuan in Early China

Liu Dun (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)

It is generally said that the theory of Xixue zhongyuan (傷瑹壯�, western learning of Chinese origin) sprouted in a particular political-cultural environment during the period of the late Ming and early Qing. At first, a few intellectual adherents of the past dynasty used this theory to advocate nationalism. Later, it was adopted by Qing rulers as an ideological weapon for safeguarding their legitimacy. In the meantime, the Jesuits, through their missionary tactics of mediating Confucianism and Christianity, also played a role in promoting this theory.

Taking a new approach, this paper focuses on various statements in the Yi-xia zhi bian (進魘扶靆, identification between the xia nation and savage), which developed from the earlier contacts of different civilizations in China, for instance, the story of Laozi huahu (�吸�恢, Laozi civilizing the savage), its variants produced in the argument between Buddhism and Taoism, and other similar cases dealing with the dissemination of Islamism, Zoroastrianism, Manichacism, Judaism and Nestorianism in China. However, historical materials reveal that the measure of seeking a basis from Chinese classics for foreign thoughts has a long-standing history in this country.

On the other hand, some evidence s

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