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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Latin’s role in the China mission of the Jesuits from the seventeenth until the late eighteenth century. First, the chapter will discuss Latin as taught to the Chinese. Second, Latin’s status as a meta-language in the linguistic description of Chinese and Manchu for Europeans will be examined, particularly as conceived by Martini, Verbiest, de Prémare, Fourmont, and others. The chapter will then look at how Latin was used as the main medium for describing China for the members of the European Republic of Letters, in letters, geographical monographs, ancient and contemporary historiography, religious, philosophical, and literary works. Latin books acquired in Europe that accumulated in several libraries in China will be considered, as well as how Latin was also a key instrument of international diplomacy.

Keywords: Neo-Latin literature, Jesuit mission, Latin in Asia, expansion of the Western book, Latin grammar, history of Sinology

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