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Viviane Alleton
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Michael Lackner

V. Rémunérer la défaillance des mots

The mean, nature, and self-realization European translations of the Zhongyong

Le milieu, la nature et la réalisation de soi Traductions européennes du Zhongyong

Andrew Plaks

Résumé

Le Zhongyong, qui a une importance intrinsèque dans l’histoire de la pensée spéculative chinoise, occupe un rôle central dans l’histoire des échanges intellectuels entre la Chine et l’Occident. Ce texte ne présente pas de grandes difficultés philologiques. La question qui se pose est celle de la valeur interprétative des équivalences de termes qui semblent s’imposer trop facilement.
Les nombreuses traductions en langues européennes (latin et français du xvie au xviiie siècle ; anglais, français, allemand, russe au xixe siècle ; essentiellement anglais ces dernières décennies) offrent tout l’éventail des stratégies possibles.
Sont examinés successivement les trois mots zhong, xing, et cheng. La traduction de zhong par « milieu » ne semble pas choquante si l’on donne à ce terme la valeur attachée à la notion aristotélicienne de meson telle qu’elle est exposée dans l’Éthique à Nicomaque.
Le parallélisme étymologique qui suggérerait de traduire xing par « nature » (les deux mots sont dérivés de « naître ») serait un argument insuffisant face à l’objection des sinologues selon qui la notion de « nature créée » est étrangère à la cosmologie confucéenne, non théiste. Cependant une analyse textuelle des occurrences de xing dans le Zhongyong montre qu’il ne faut pas simplifier excessivement les spéculations cosmologiques chinoises primitives. Les premiers traducteurs du Zhongyong, nourris de pensées médiévales et de la Renaissance, avaient associé xing à « raison naturelle ». Puis étaient intervenus les débats sur « les lois de la nature ». En définitive, la traduction de xing par « nature » semble la plus acceptable.
L’usage de traduire cheng par « sincérité », valeur que ce mot a en chinois contemporain, ne semble pas justifié. Les différentes occurrences du terme dans le Zhongyong manifestent tout un jeu grammatical. Cheng ne renvoie pas dans ce texte aux notions de vérité ou de sincérité mais décrit un processus de culture morale par lequel l’homme rivalise avec la centralité spontanée attribuée au Ciel et aux schémas immanents de l’univers naturel.

Texte intégral

  • 1 . On the “Rites Controversy” and the place of the Zhongyong in various disputations, see Dehergne 1 (...)
  • 2 . See Tang Junyi 1966, ch. 21: 616-3; and Tu Wei-ming 1976 and 1985, especially ch. 3.

Among the major classical Chinese texts whose early translation into European languages is of more than antiquarian interest, the Zhongyong Agrandir Original (jpeg, 564k) is of particular significance for a number of reasons. Beyond its pivotai position in relation to the full range of late Warring States and early Han writings associated with the development of the Confucian textual lineage (daotong Agrandir Original (jpeg, 564k)), and its seminal contribution in opening up lines of philosophical speculation which later blossomed into the Neo-Confucian synthesis, the Zhongyong is of special importance for this symposium on European sinological translations in view of its role as a central document in the history of Chinese/Western intellectual exchange. From the doctrinal debates surrounding the so-called “Rites Controversy” in the 16th and 17th centuries1 down to the attempts of Tang Junyi and other modern Chinese thinkers – and their more recent followers such as Tu Wei-ming – to put Confucianism on the map of contemporary philosophical discourse, it has held a position out of proportion to its size as a book.2 Apart from these historical factors, the Zhongyong also deserves our attention by virtue of the fact that the construction of the text itself, in particular certain formal aspects of its argument hinging upon some rather self-conscious manipulations of linguistic pattems, presents a unique challenge to the translator.

  • 3 . For an introduction to the issues regarding the textual history of the Zhongyong, see Feng Youlan (...)

1This challenge is not due to any great philological complexity – the language of the Zhongyong falls squarely within the parameters of Warring States/Han philosophical prose. Nor has the textual history of the work, fraught with controversy as it may be, been thrown into turmoil by newly discovered archaeological evidence of major textual variants, as has happened in many other cases.3 Rather, the principal difficulty of translating the Zhongyong may lie, paradoxically, in the fact that it is too easy: it lends itself too readily to the simple transfer of its key terms into the vocabulary of Western philosophical discourse, and these correspondences, then, invite a facile rejection on the part of some sinological scholars. This leaves many of the most interesting questions regarding the comparative analysis and interpretation of the text unresolved.

  • 4 . A bibliographical listing of all the European translations consulted in this study can be found i
    (...)
  • 5 . The commentary that was most influential on the work of the early translators seems to have been (...)

2In this paper I propose to reconsider some of the implications of the Zhongyong for comparative studies that are brought out in the process of translation. In pursuing this topic I have attempted to collect as broad a sampling as possible of European renderings: including most of the earliest known Latin and French versions from the 16th to the 18th centuries, some of the major 19th-century reworkings in English, French, German, Russian and other languages, and practically all of the more recent English-language translations of the text.4 A review of these materials demonstrates the entire range of typical translation strategies: from mechanical matching of lexical equivalents to varying degrees of paraphrase or textual emendation, whether based on Chinese exegetical authorities or more innovative acts of interpretation on the part of the translators themselves.5 In what follows, I will reassess these strategies with a view towards moving beyond both facile equivalents on the one side, and automatic rejection of neat correspondences, on the other, in order to explore some of the deeper implications that may underlie what appear to be only superficially shared conceptualizations about human nature and its balanced cultivation.

Liji compendium: zhong Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k) and yong . Until recently, virtually every European translator of this treatise found it acceptable to approximate the first of these terms with one or another variant of the classical Western philosophical notion of the “mean” in Latin: “medium”, French: “le milieu”, English: “the mean”, etc. Even those who pointedly avoid this exact equivalence tend to settle for alternatives of similar semantic value, as we see in examples such as Legge’s use of the word “equilibrium” throughout the body of his translation, Tu Wei-ming’s treatise on “centrality”, and A.C. Graham’s gloss of the term as “on-center”.6 Ezra Pound’s eye-catching title, “The Unwobbling Pivot” – apparently based on an overreading of the written form of the character zhong7seems to promise a fresh conception, but this is replaced by “center” throughout the body of his translation; while Riegel’s use of the expression “the inner” (based on a Zheng Xuan gloss) also begs the question, since it neglects to define the particular inner state that is at issue (Riegel 1978: 86).yong, is generally rendered according to one of the two standard glosses in the commentaries. The first takes it as a graphic variant for the character yong Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k), as attested in a variety of early texts (notably, Zhuangzi) and fixed in the Shuowen.8 This idea of “use” or "practice” is apparently behind Riegel’s “application of the inner”, and, in a slightly more attenuated form, Hughes’ “mean-in-action”.9 The second reading follows the derived sense of “common” or “everyday” specified by Zhu Xi , who glosses it as chang Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k), yielding such equivalents as “invariable”, “immutable”, “immuable” (sic), “sempiternum”, as well as Tu Wei-ming’s notion of “commonality”.10 Despite the authority of the standard commentaries, a considerable number of translators seem uncomfortable with both glosses and simply ignore this second term, yielding renderings such as Legge’s “Doctrine of the Mean”.11 The same may perhaps be said of the French rendering “le juste milieu”, where this two-word locution is apparently adapted as an equivalent for the single word zhong, with juste here possibly conveying the sense of the word “true” as used by English-speaking craftsmen to describe unwarped bows, billiard-cues, gun-barrels and the like.12 For those who do incorporate the word yong into their rendering of the title, the grammatical relation between these two terms then becomes an issue. Where some prefer to treat these as correlative items (Tu Wei-ming’s “centrality and commonality”, for example), others reverse the order to take them as noun followed by modifier, as we see in Ricci/ Ruggieri’s “semper in medio”, or the common l’invariable milieu in various French versions.13 Pauthier corrects this to l’invariabilité dans le milieu, and he is later joined by Hughes and Riegel in shifting the semantic focus to the second term14. This linking of zhong and yong is well supported in terms of the development of ideas in the body of the text, where it is clear that the primary focus is on the application of the abstract conceptions outlined in the opening section within the praxis of ethical cultivation in general and statecraft in particular.meson (or mesotis) discussed in the Nicomachean Ethics is not talking about a fixed middle path for determining unwavering standards of human behavior.15 But this does not close the door on our comparative inquiry because the concept of zhong in our Chinese text is also in no sense a mechanical geometric or arithmetic mean. The notion of an ideal state of timeless balance introduced in almost metaphysical terms in the opening section is quickly qualified as early as chapter 4 in the some-what unexpected assertion: “The worthy overreach it; while petty men fall short of it” ().16 The line in question may be read out of context as a simple admission of the fallibility of even highly cultivated individuals. But within the overall argument of the treatise, I believe the point is that, for want of a fixed center, the potential sage must as a rule overdetermine or overcompensate the mean in order to seek a state of dynamic equilibrium. This idea becomes a bit clearer in chapter 6, where we are told that the Emperor Shun’s sagely centeredness derived from his ability to “seize the two extremes” () – in this context referring to the polar variables of good and evil – in order to arrive at the moral center by, in some sense, “grasping” the entire spectrum of variation (see Riegel 1978: 88).zhong developed in the remainder of the text, we may observe that the act of putting ideal sagely balance into actual kingly practice revolves primarily about a center of unbiased moral judgement residing within the “heart” of the individual sage/king and projected outward through the process of maintaining order and harmony in the world. This is precisely the sense Zhu Xi invokes to explicate the term zhong in the preface to his commentary: (“with neither bias nor inclination”).17 The idea of a calm, balanced center forming the inner ontological ground of externally revealed sagehood is also in conformance with the central thesis of the Daxue.18 In this light, the real point of the crucial passage, in chapter 20 of the Zhongyong, defining the unmediated self-perfection of the “way of heaven” () as an “effortless attainment of the centered state” (), may lie in emphasizing that it is the “way of man” (), by contrast, that requires a continual process of com-pensatory restoration of equilibrium, on the order of the more restricted ideal of “harmony in due measure” () ascribed in the opening section to the world of concrete existence.19 This is how I understand the implications of the expressions “practice the mean at all times” () and “hold fast to the mean” () that figure prominently in the section of the text (ch. 2-12) devoted to elucidating this concept.20 This process of moral compensation may at times require, in fact, an off-center, inflexible grasp of one or another end of the behavioral spectrum (as stipulated in ch. 20: ), much in the spirit of Aristotle’s classic discussion of the mean. Only then can the sage approach the maximum fulfillment of centeredness () envisioned in the concluding chapters of the text, and thereby play a virtually metaphysical role in the life-sustaining balance of the cosmic and human orders.21xing Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k) in the opening section of the text. The nearly universal rendering of this word as “nature” in Western languages is, of course, well supported by the rather heart-warming correspondence between the component-graph (life, birth) in the formation of the character and the root nascor in the Latin term natura. This semantic convergence in ways of expressing the concept of nature, we should point out, is by no means inevitable, as we can readily see in the counter-examples of Hebrew and Arabic (teva’/tabi’a, derived from the root meaning “to sink”, i.e. to stamp forms in clay or metal),22 or Sanskrit, where a variety of possible equivalents for the idea of nature in different senses (prakrti, svabhâva, bhâva, etc.) seem to derive primarily from verbs of making and being. The text of the Zhongyong does not explicitly invoke the best-known locus classicus for this etymology: the debate with Gaozi in Mencius 6:A:3. This may be because this pseudo-etymology had already become virtually proverbial by that time, although, we should note, our treatise does not shrink from rehearsing other “standard” explications of the terms ren, yi, and dao.23 But since these two characters ( and ) are in fact nearly homophonous in reading, they are originally undifferentiated orthographically, and they are often virtually interchangeable in a variety of early texts – even after they have become graphically distinguished, what we have here is not so much a pseudo-linguistic exercise as a simple recognition of closely cognate terms.24xing is, of course, never extended to refer to the entire physical universe, as in the case of the Western “nature”, and, hence, it is never used to express the distinction between natural and artificial.25 To be more specific, though both xing and natura originally derive from metaphors of birth, the European term was early on assimilated to the Christian theological concept of Creation and applied to the resuit of that process: the created universe.26 This stands in contrast to the ongoing processes of generation and growth suggested by the Greek physis, itself closer to the Chinese notion of spontaneous life-force ().27 One is reminded here of the philosophical term natura naturans that is pointedly applied by Thomas Aquinas to the Creator in order to deny the “naturalness” of sin and death.28 Later this was extended by the Neo-Platonists, and eventually thinkers like Spinoza, to designate what Lovejoy described as the “self-transcendent fecundity” of the organismic cosmos, a notion set in opposition to the invented parallel expression natura naturata, in which the participial form is used to specify the object of this creative process, that is the created universe.29Zhongyong opens with words about an original state referred to as the “mandate of heaven,” standing behind the existence of the “nature” of things. Were we to wave this formulation away as “mere metaphor” of no doctrinal significance, rather than as indicating an ultimate source of being, that would reduce the function of heaven as a grammatical subject to that of a neutral syntactic place-holder. This would make of the opening line of the text () an egregious tautology, stating something like: “the nature of things is that which is ordained by the natural order.”30 Such an attempt to “naturalize” heaven in order to sharpen the contrast with the assumed creationist theology of the West can only result in a misleading over-simplification of early Chinese cosmological speculation. And it also stems from a misreading of the Book of Genesis itself, a text almost exclusively concerned with the process and the consequences, rather than with the ineffable act, of Creation, and whose opening line about divine fiat merely sets the coordinates, and posits the logically required First Cause, of the universe of human moral action.31xing is construed more abstractly as “original state,” and is applied to the inborn or intrinsic qualities of a thing, as attested in a variety of early texts.32 In such examples, as in the locus classicus of the Gaozi debate, xing usually functions semantically as a bound term (even when it may stand syntactically alone), referring primarily to the nature of man.33 Alternatively, in the Zhongyong and other texts, the word xing is often taken as the object of one of a variety of verbal expressions having to do with the fulfillment of innate potential (“to fully realize one’s nature” , “to cultivate one’s nature” , “to preserve one’s nature” , etc.).34 In this light, the xing in the opening line can be read, in effect, as the grammatical object of whatever event or process tianming is meant to express. This becomes clear in the crucial second clause (), where it is governed by the operative verb shuai Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k), almost universally glossed as xun Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k), “to follow”.35 But in the continuation of this canonic passage (), it is dao, not xing, that is presented as the direct model to be followed in human cultivation (), thus leaving xing in a certain indeterminate position, interposed logically, if not chronologically, somewhere between tian and dao. This, then, seems to make shuai-xing, by contrast, less a matter of actively following one’s nature, and more a quasi-verbal predication about the conformance of dao to the nature of things, in line with the immanent patterns of meaning imparted to the world from a logically prior ground of being ().36xing as a network of indwelling patterns, one step “above” dao on the scale of logical priority, reminds me of the “substrate” of being (hypokeimenon) discussed in Aristotle’s Metaphysics as a kind of primordial soup of qualities waiting to be actualized.37 This, at least, is the sense in which I take the archetypal markers of human experience (“joy”, “anger”, “sorrow”, “delight” ) in the opening section of our text, waiting to burst forth into the world of concrete manifestation.38 This understanding of xing as a kind of intermediate zone between the totalized ground of being (tian), at the one extreme, and the model that is accessible to human cultivation (dao), closer to us, might seem to irretrievably divide the Chinese conception of nature from its counterpart in Europe, where it would appear more than mildly heretical to interpose a level of being between the Creator and his Creation. That is, until we recall that, in a variety of medieval and Renaissance texts, the idea of created nature recasts Plato’s Timaean demiurge as the “genius” of creation,39 what is known to theologians such as Maimonides and Aquinas as the “active intellect”, and later passes into the various organismic schemes of the Neo-Platonists, Spinoza, Kant, and so on.40Zhongyong from the 16th-century pioneer Matteo Ricci down through Pauthier in the 19th century, associate xing, in its sense of the intelligible ground of existence, with the concept of “natural reason” so current in their own intellectual milieu.41 At first sight, this matching of terms seems to reflect little more than a slavish reading of Cheng-Zhu glosses identifying xing with li, cemented by the special attention paid by the early sinologues to the Xingli daquan , which they took as a kind of Neo-Confucian Summa.42 But it takes on a deeper significance in view of the heated debates swirling around the notion of the “laws of nature” in the extensive literature of disputation occupying men like Ricci, Malebranche, and Leibniz, often based on the common interpretation of li as the essential principles of being.43 The Jesuit translators, of course, were at pains to defend their faith in the necessary distinction between the laws of nature and their ultimate author. But at the very least, this point helps to make their identification of xing and “nature” a far more telling equivalence than if it were based on a coincidence of etymology alone.44Zhongyong: the term cheng Agrandir Original (jpeg, 564k), and its various European-language renderings. English translators have tended to fall back on the modem usage of the term in vernacular Chinese and thus give it as “sincerity”, a convention that is woefully inadequate to the classical context.45 It is also syntactically awkward, especially when the word appears in verbal form, as in the Daxue dictum “cheng qi yi...” (), which must then come out as something like “making it sincere”.46 This grammatical infelicity need not indicate a lack of stylistic facility on the part of Legge and others, but rather may reflect certain liberties in grammar taken by the text itself, particularly in the final sections which indulge in a set of exercises in linguistic manipulation in order to bring out the implications of cheng as a philosophical concept. Let us explore each of these passages in their order of appearance in the text.cheng as a substantive term in chapter 20 (after one occurrence in chapter 16 where it functions as a simple adverb meaning something like “verily”).47 In this famous passage, the “way of heaven” and the “way of man” are both defined in terms of this particular ideal (), distinguished only by the interposition in the latter case of the accusative particle zhi Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k)apparently suggesting a transitive act (), on the one, and a self-contained state (), on the other of these two levels of being. Attempting to capture the force of this grammatical twist, the Western translators of the Zhongyong draw upon their various linguistic re-sources to convey the distinction, giving us such pairs as: “sincerity/the-attainment-of-sincerity”, “perfection/perfectionnement”, “the real/coming-to-be-real”, and “integritas/redintegratio”,48 A quite different sense emerges, however, when we collate this line with the nearly identical passage in Mencius (4: A: 12), where in place of as an attribute of the way of man, we find the locution .49 This is apparently the basis for Wingtsit Chan’s rendering of the Zhongyong occurrence as: “To think how to be sincere”, a reading supported by the elucidation of as (lit. “to attain without mental effort”) in the preceding line (Chan 1953: 107). We may perhaps reconcile these readings if we say that here, too, we are dealing with what is in effect an oblique construction of the verbal sense of cheng, in this case putative (“to consider it...”) rather than transitive (“to make it...”). Although the substance of the argument is of course different, I find the formam presentation of this conceptual distinction through the contraposition of grammatical constructions strongly reminiscent of the being/becoming, or natura natu-rans/natura naturata pairs in Western philosophical discourse.50 cheng can be conceived as but the first step in a logical sequence of phases of self-realization, ranging up to a complete fulfillment (),53 that enables one to fully realize not only one’s own nature but also the nature of other people and things (). At the upper reaches of self-cultivation, the sage ultimately approaches a sort of cosmic, even god-like perfection, described in the same quasi-metaphysical terms invoked to characterize the state of cosmic equilibrium in chapter 1 ().54 But the precise definition of cheng is left rather indeterminate until we get to chapter 25, where the idea is finally pinned down through yet another example of linguistic manipulation, this time in the formula . In form, this statement follows the pseudo-etymologies of ren, yi, dao, and, by implication, xing given earlier in the text, but here the identification of cheng with its homophone cheng Agrandir Original (jpeg, 560k) is a bit different, since these two words, while perhaps cognates, are never interchangeable in the manner of the other pairs.55 Instead, what we have here is a more substantive juxtaposition of ideas, in which the elusive cheng is now defined explicitly as an active process of self-completion (), a sense strengthened in the succeeding passages specifying the connection between fulfillment of self () and fulfillment of other people and things (, ), leading, at the highest degree of attainment, not to a lofty state of splendid transcendence, but to a seamless unity with the world of objective experience ).56
  • 57 . For example, Pauthier, Confucius et Mencius: 87-92; Couvreur, Les Quatre Livres: 50-57; Zottoli, (...)

3In the light of the text’s own unpacking of the idea of cheng, the rendering of the term by many of the Latin and French translators as “perfection” seems to me to come closest to the mark.57 What at first sight looks like a simple superlative (“perfect”) – not so different semantically from “absolute sincerity” and the like – ultimately turns on the literal meaning of the Latin perficere or the French parfaire to express the underlying sense of a fully realized process of cultivation, while at the same time, by the way, lending itself to the successful manipulation of the word in oblique verbal form (e.g., perfectionner). We are thus reminded that the notion of cheng is not about truth or sincerity, but rather describes the active process of moral cultivation whereby one emulates the spontaneous centeredness ascribed to Heaven and the immanent patterns of the given natural universe.

Apprendix. European Translations of the Zhongyong Consulted in this Study

Latin

Intorcetta, Prospero (1625-1696) et al. “Chum-yûm, De medio sempiterno, aurea mediocritate”. Earlier version in Sinarum scientia politico-moralis (Goa 1667-69); rpt. in French in M. Thevenot, Relations de divers voyages curieux (Paris, 1696); revised version published in Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, sive scientia sinensis latine exposita, ed. by Philippe Couplet (Paris, 1687).

Noël, François (1651-1729). “Immutabile medium”. Sinensis imperii libri classici sex (Prague, 1711); copy in Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Ricci, Matteo (1552-1610) and Michele Ruggieri (1543-1607). “Semper in medio”. Manuscript recently discovered by Francesco D’Arelli in Jesuit archives, Rome.

Zottoli, Angelo. “Medii aequabilitas”. Included in Cursus litteraturae sini-cae (Shanghai, Catholic Mission, 1915).

French

Abel-Rémusat, Jean-Pierre (1788-1832). L’Invariable Milieu. (Latin: Medium Immutabile). Bilingual translation (Paris, 1817).

Cibot, Pierre-Martial (1727-80). “Juste milieu”. French translation from Intorcetta included in Mémoires concernant l’histoire, les sciences, les arts, les mœurs, les usages, etc. des chinois (Paris, 1776-91), vol. I, pp. 459-81.

Couvreur, E. Seraphin. “L’Invariable Milieu” (French and Latin), in Les Quatre Livres (Ho-chien Fu, Catholic Mission, 1895); rpt. 1910.

Ku Hung-ming. Le Catéchisme de Confucius. (Paris, M. Rivière, 1927).

Pauthier, Guillaume. “L’Invariabilité dans le milieu”. Included in Confucius et Mencius (Paris, 1844); rpt. 1874.

Pluquet, abbé. “Le Juste Milieu, ou le milieu immuable (sic)”. Translation of Noël’s Latin in Les Livres classiques de l’empire de la Chine (Paris, 1784).

English

Chan, Wing-tsit. “The Doctrine of the Mean”. In Sourcebook of Chinese Philosophy (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1963): 97-114.

Collie, David. The Four Books: Chungyung (Malacca, Mission Press, 1828).

Graham, Angus C. Excerpts in Disputers of the Tao (La Salle, IL, 1989), Part II. Chapter 1: 132-37.

Hughes, E.R. “The Mean-in-Action”. In The Great Learning and the Mean-in-Action (New York, E.P Dutton, 1943).

Legge, James. “The Doctrine of the Mean”. In The Chinese Classics, The Four Books (London, 1861-1872); altemate title in Sacred Books of the East: “The State of Equilibrium and Harmony”, vol. 28, Li Ki: 300-329.

Pound, Ezra. Chung-yung: the Unwobbling Pivot. In Pharos, No. 4 (1947), publ. New Directions; rpt. New York, New Directions, 1969: 93-188.

Riegel, Jeffrey. “The Application of the Inner Debates”. In The Four Tzu Ssu Chapters: 207-256.

Taylor, Randal (ed.). “The Morals of Confucius”, “The Perpetual Mean”.

Translated from French version of Intorcetta (London, 1691); abridged text in The Phenix: A Collection of Old and Rare Fragments (New York, 1835).

Tu Wei-ming. Centrality and Commonality. Translated passages included in interpretive monograph (University of Hawaii, 1976).

Other European languages

Agner, Lajos. “Változhatatlan Középut”. See Confucius; Ta Hio (Jászberény, Hungary, 1906).

Brederode (van), J. Onveranderlijkheid in het Midden (Haarlem, 1862).

Leont’ev, Aleksei. “Zakon neprelozhniy”. In Si-shu gei (St. Petersburg, 1780); copy in Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Vitelli, Clemente. “Notizie varie dell’imperio della China”. Reprint of Intorcetta (Florence, 1697).

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– 1983a. “The Image of Neo-Confucianism in Confucius Sinarum Philosophus”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 44: 19-30.

– 1983b. “Notes sur l’image du néo-confucianisme dans la littérature européenne du xviie à la fin du xixe siecle”, in Actes du 3e Colloque de sinologie. Paris, Belles lettres: 131-175.

Malebranche, Nicolas. 1980. Dialogue between a Christian Philosopher and a Chinese Philosopher on the Existence and Nature of God, trans. by Dominick A. Iorio. Washington DC, University Press of America.

Mungello, David. 1985. Curious Land: Jesuit Accommodation and the Origins of Sinology. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag.

– 1983. “The First Complete Translation of the Confucian Four Books in the West”, in International Symposium on Chinese-Western Cultural Interchange: 515-541.

– 1981. “The Jesuits’ Use of Chang Chü-cheng’s Commentary in their Translation of the Confucian Four Books”, China Mission Studies Bulletin, 3: 12-22.

– 1977. Leibniz and Confucianism: the Search for Accord. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.

– 1988. “The Seventeenth-Century Jesuit Translation-project of the Confucian Four Books”, in Charles E. Ronan and Bonnie Oh (eds.), East Meets West: the Jesuits in China (1582-1773). Chicago, Loyola University Press.

– 1978. “Sinological Torque: the Influence of Cultural Preoccupations on Seventeenth-Century Missionary Interpretations of Confucianism”, Philosophy East and West, 28: 123-141.

Needham, Joseph. 1954. Science and Civilization in China. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. [7 vols in progress.]

Peterson, Willard. 1973. “Western Natural Philosophy Published in Late Ming China”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 117: 295-322.

Pfister, Louis, s.j. 1932-1934. Notices biographiques et bibliographiques sur les jésuites de l’ancienne mission de Chine, 1552-1773. Shanghai, Mission catholique, 2 vols.

Ricci, Matteo. 1985. Tianzhu shiyi. Taibei, Institute Ricci. (Bilingual edition.)

Riegel, Jeffrey. 1978. “The Four ‘Tzu Ssu’ Chapters of the Li Chi: an Analysis of the Fang Chi, Chung Yung, Piao Chi and Tzu I”. Doctoral dissertation, Stanford University.

Rule, Paul. 1986. K’ung-tzu or Confucius: Jesuit Interpretations of Confucius. Sydney, Allen and Unwin.

Schall, Adam. 1966. “Zhuzhi qunzheng”, Tianzhujiao dongchuan wenxian xubian. Taibei, Fandigang tushuguan, vol. 2: 497-615.

Schwartz, Benjamin. 1985. World of Thought in Ancient China. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.

. 1993. “Lunyu zhongyong yibian, Kongzi yanjiu 11: 104-107.. 1968. Comm. Zhu Xi . Rpt. Taibei, Shijie Shuju.

Spinoza, Benedict. 1949. Ethics, ed. by James Gutmann. New York, Hafner Press.

. 1966. Zhongguo zhexue yuanlun . Hong Kong, Rensheng chubanshe.

– 1962. “The T’ien Ming [Heavenly Ordinance] in Pre-Ch’in China”, Philosophy East and West, 11,4 (January): 195-218.

Tu Wei-ming. 1976. Centrality and Commonality; an Essay on Chung-yung. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.

– 1985. Confucian Thought: Selfhood as Creative Transformation. Albany NY, State University of New York Press.

. 1975. Du sishu daquanshuo . Beijing, Zhonghua shuju.

Wolfson, Harry. 1929. Crescas’ Criticism of Aristotle. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.

– 1967. The Philosophy of the Kalam. Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.

. n.d. Taibei, Yiwen yinshuguan.. 1983. Sishu zhangju jizhu Agrandir Original (jpeg, 580k). Beijing, Zhonghua shuju.

Notes

1 . On the “Rites Controversy” and the place of the Zhongyong in various disputations, see Dehergne 1973; Pfister 1932-1934; Mungello 1985: especially 283-286, and 1978; Gernet 1976 and 1982.

2 . See Tang Junyi 1966, ch. 21: 616-3; and Tu Wei-ming 1976 and 1985, especially ch. 3.

3 . For an introduction to the issues regarding the textual history of the Zhongyong, see Feng Youlan Image 3.jpg, “Zhongyong di niandai wenti” Image 4.jpg, in Gushibian Image 5.jpg, Gu Jiegang Image 6.jpg et al. (eds.) (Beijing, 1927-1963) IV: 198, pp. 183-84; Hu Zhikui Image 7.jpg, 1984: 53-98; Erkes 1917; Riegel 1978. Riegel’s argument on the multiple strata of the text follows the unpublished work of Gustav Haloun (see Riegel 1978: 84).

4 . A bibliographical listing of all the European translations consulted in this study can be found in the Appendix attached to this paper. For the textual background of specific translations, see Henri Cordier, Bibliotheca Sinica (rpt. Taipei: Ch’eng-wen, 1966), pp. 1388-1403, and the following sources. On the earliest Latin translations, apparently from the hands of Matteo Ricci and Michele Ruggieri, see notices in D’Elia 1942-1949: #424 (I: 330, n. 4), #494 (I: 380, n .4), and #527 (II: 33, n. 5). The indication in the last entry that Ricci’s reported translation of the Zhongyong had been lost was possibly contra-dicted by an earlier note (#61,1: 42, n. 2) announcing the existence of a set of Ruggieri’s translations of the Four Books in the Vittorio Emmanuele library in Rome, whose relation to the putative work of Ricci remains unclear. This may now be confirmed by the recent discovery by Dr. Francesco D’Arelli of a mansucript copy of what appears to be the lost Zhongyong translation. I am deeply grateful to Dr. D’Arelli for providing me with a photocopy of the text from his microfilm. This secondary copy is of poor quality and is very hard to read, but it is sufficient to give a sense of what Ricci’s translation may have been like. See Lundbaek 1979: 1-11.
The highly influential Latin translation usually attributed to Prospero Intorcetta, first made in the late 1660’s and then reissued in 1687 under the title
Confucius Sinarum Philosophus, is discussed in Mungello 1988, Rule 1986: 116-123, and Lundbaek 1983. See also Mungello 1983 on the later Latin translation of François Noël. For general background on early European translations in other languages, see also Duyvendak 1936, Kraft 1976, etc.

5 . The commentary that was most influential on the work of the early translators seems to have been the vernacular explications attributed to the 16th-century statesman, Zhang Juzheng Image 8.jpg, reprinted in the early Qing (1672, 1677, 1683) under the title Sishu jizhu chanwei zhijie Image 9.jpg (Copy available in Harvard-Yenching Library). See Mungello 1981. On the implications of the selection of this commentary and the rejection of the orthodox exegesis of the “Neoterici Interpretes” represented by the Zhu Xi School, see Lundbaek 1979: 9, n. 29 and Mungello 1985: 261, 268 ff, 280 ff.

6 . See Legge, Doctrine of the Mean: 347-351; Tu Wei-ming, Centrality and Commonality: 9, 20-25, 27; A.C. Graham, Disputers ofthe Tao (La Salle, III., 1989): 134-136. For sources of the term “mean” in Aristotle, see below, note 17.

7 . In the preface to Leont’ev’s early Russian translation, a similar case is made based on the shape of the character zhong. This is more or less the same definition expressed in negative terms in Zhu Xi’s initial gloss on the word zhong (see note 20).

8 . See, for example, Zhuangzi, “Qiwulun” Image 13.jpg: 46. In the Shuowen, the character Image 14.jpg is defined unequivocally as Image 15.jpg. For a review of philological issues and theories regazeding the terms zhong and yong, see Shide 1993: 104.

9 . This reading becomes explicit in a later passage in the text (ch. 6, Sishu jizhu: 4), that speaks of “putting the principle of centeredness into practice” (Image 16.jpg). See also Zheng Xuan’s gloss: “practice of equilibrium and harmony” (Image 17.jpg), cited by Riegel 1978: 86.

10 . In the preface to his commentary, Zhu Xi uses the expression “fixed principle” (dingli Image 20.jpg) in this context. See Wang Fuzhi Image 21.jpg 1975: 62, where he refutes Zhu Xi’s gloss on philological grounds.

11 . Legge’s alternative explanation of the title, in his preface: “The State of Equilibrium and Harmony”, also fails to give more than a very slight nod to the notion of concrete manifestation. Karlgren reviews the differing treatments of this binomial in Karlgren 1981: 50 f, and concludes with the compromise rendering: “the middle way and the constant norms”.

12 . Abbé Pluquet’s use of the locution juste milieu in place of Noël’s “immutabile medium (apparently following the subtitle of Cibot’s earlier translation based on Intorcetta) seems to ignore any literal meaning of the second word in the Chinese title. The French expression juste milieu is probably most current since the 19th century as a political term for the parliamentary center. Pound’s “unwobbling pivot” seems to betray here, as elsewhere (especially in his parallel translation of the Daxue), a reliance on the classic French translation of these texts.

13 . See Rémusat, Couvreur, and the subtitle of Pluquet’s French version of Noël, with the rather unfamiliar substitution of immuable for immutable.

14 . Hughes’ “mean-in-action” soraewhat camouflages this semantic value, but, as in Riegel’s “application of the inner”, the emphasis here is clearly on the act of putting the ideal of zhong into practice.

15 . See Nicomachean Ethics II: 6-9 (1106b:7-l 109b:26), Eudemian Ethics II: 3 (1220b:22-1221b:26). The alternate term mesotis is used occasionally (e.g., Nicomachean Ethics 1106b:27) in the sense of an arithmetic or geometric mean.

16 . Ch. 4 (Sishu jizhu: 4). In this passage, the terms xianzhe Image 23.jpg and buxiaozhe Image 24.jpgImage 25.jpg seem to substitute for junzi Image 26.jpg and xiaoren Image 27.jpg i.e., the highest and lowest on the scale of moral cultivation. The text provocatively reverses our semantic expectations to state that, while it is the errors of “the wise and the stupid” that prevent the Dao from being practiced, it is, conversely, the failures of the morally worthy and unworthy that keep it from being fully understood (Image 28.jpg).

17 . See Sishu jizhu: 2. Here, of course, Zhu Xi echoes his own predecessor Cheng Yi’s glosses on zhong and yong (Image 32.jpgImage 33.jpg) cited in his preface.

18 . The notion of a balanced, unbiased ground of moral judgement runs through the elucidation of each of the levels of self-cultivation outlined in the Daxue text. See, in particular, ch. 7 and 8, on “rectifying the mind” and “regulating the family” (Sishu jizhu: 7-8).

19 . In this formulation, the ideal state of fully realized equilibrium applies only in the ontological dimension of unactualized potentiality (weifa zhi zhong).

20 . See, especially, ch. 2 (Sishu jizhu: 3) and 11 (p. 7). Cf. discussion by Wang Fuzhi (1975: 61).

21 . See Aristotle’s Ethics, passages cited in note 15. In ch. 1, 22, 23, and 26, the text speaks of the “maximum fulfillment” of zhong. The metaphysical implications of ultimate fulfillment are expressed in ch. 1, 12, 22, 26, 27, 30, 31, and 32.

22 . The literary image of nature as a primeval stamping of forms in clay appears in a variety of Medieval and Renaissance texts, for example, the Roman de la Rose, and Spenser’s Faerie Queene. For a review of this topos, see Curtius 1953: 106-127.

23 . See ch. 20 (Sishu jizhu: 15), and 25 (p. 22). See also Li Ji, chapters “Biaoji” and “Jiyi” (Shisanjing zhushu buzheng 1963).

24 . For early use of the character in the sense of life or livehood in Shangshu, Zuozhuan, Shiji, etc., see Fu Sinian 1952: 28-56 and Graham 1967: 215-220.

25 . The term ziran (Image 46.jpg) used to express these latter senses carries no implications regarding the ultimate origins of things. In fact, its literal meaning: “uncaused suchness” amounts to a rather pointed denial of prior origination.

26 . See note 29.

27 . On the classic Greek conception of nature, see Aristotle, Metaphysics V: 4 (1014b: 16—1015b: 19). The locus classicus for shengsheng zhi de is usually given as Yijing, Xicizhuan I:5:6.

28 . See Du Cange 1954: 576a. The term natura naturans occurs in the Summa Theologica (I.II, q.85.a.6) and elsewhere. For a good review of the origins and later use of this expression, see Lucks 1935: 1-24. The same idea is apparently at issue in Dante’s use of the term “natura generata” in Paradiso VIII: 133.

29 . See, for example, Spinoza 1949, part I, Proposition 29-30: 65 f. This concept is discussed in Lovejoy 1936: 289-295.

30 . On the concept of ming Image 49.jpg, see Tang Junyi 1962: 195 ff.

31 . Thus, Jewish theologians such as Saadya, Maimonides, Gersonides, etc. sharply qualify the literal interpretation of the idea of creation ex nihilo.

32 . In Buddhist writings, the use of the term “Buddha-nature” (foxing Image 50.jpg) may also be understood in this light, as an undifferentiated ground of being out of which the more determinate reality of the dharmas is seen to materialize.

33 . See Mencius 6 A:3 (Sishu jizhu: 157 ff), where the disputation turns on the academic question of whether or not the “nature” of one category of phenomena is logically commensurate with that of another.

34 . The expression jinxing Image 54.jpg comes to the fore in the Zhongyong text in ch. 22 (Sishu jizhu: 20).

35 . See, for example, Zheng Xuan’s gloss cited by Zhu Xi (Zhu Xi 1983: 17). I believe this character should also carry the semantic association of setting things in order, based on the metaphor of tying knots in a net (see Shuowen entry) and later applied to the context of lining up troops in muster.

36 . Wang Fuzhi expands on in this idea in 1975: 61, 68.

37 . See Aristotle, Metaphysics V: 17 (1022a:18-24), VII: 3.4(1028b:33-1029a:33), VIII: 2-3 (1043a:26-32), XII: 3 (1070a:l-8); and Physics I: 5.6 (189a:35-189b:29), II: 1 (192b:33-193b:21).

38 . François Jullien gives a penetrating discussion of this comparative issue (1992: 221-228).

39 . See Timaeus 27c-32c. Cf. the personified figure of the Genius of creation in various European literary examples, including the Roman de la Rose, Spenser’s Faerie Queene, etc. See Curtius 1953: 118-125.

40 . On the notion of the “active intellect” in medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy, see Wolfson 1967: 355 ff and 1929: 604 f, 668. Thomas Aquinas uses the term in a different sense in Summa Theologica I: 44:3. See also Dante, Inferno XI: 99.

41 . The primary documents on the controversy over nature and reason in China include Leibniz’ Natural Theology of the Chinese, and Malebranche’s Dialogue Between a Christian Philosopher and a Chinese Philosopher (see bibliography). David Mungello reviews the issue in 1977: 15 ff, 75-86. See also Lundbaek 1983b: 136f, 145 ff.

42 . On the importance of the Xingli daquan in Jesuit interpretations of Confucianism, see Lundbaek 1983a: 21-25 and Mungello 1985: 265 ff, 306, 348.

43 . 43. For the background on this issue, see Needham 1954, II, 18: 518-583, esp. 549 ff and Bodde 1957: 706-727.

44 . In addition to Malebranche’s “Dialogue” and other European polemical works, see also disputations composed in Chinese by Matteo Ricci (1985) and Adam Schall (1966).

45 . To be fair, I should point out the common gloss of the word cheng as “true”, for example, in the Zhang Juzheng vernacular commentary (see above note 5) that explicates cheng as: Image 64.jpg.

46 . Benjamin Schwartz paraphrases the idea nicely (1985: 404 ff) as “undivided self-identity”.

47 . The passage in ch. 16 reads: Image 66.jpg (Sishu jizhu: 11).

48 . These renderings are found, respectively, in Legge, Four Books: 394; Pauthier, Confucius et Mencius: 87; Hughes, Great Learning and Mean-in-action: 127; and Zottoli, Cursus litteraturae sinicae: 230. Cf. Collie, Four Books: 19: ”... to aim at it is the way of man”.

49 . The passage in Mencius reads: Image 73.jpgImage 74.jpg For translation, see Lau 1970: 123.

50 This grammatical construction can perhaps be described, in both senses, as a “transitivizing” of the basic stative verb.

51 . Some commentators attempt to retain the alternate meaning of the word zi: “self-generated,” or “non-contingent”. See Wang Fuzhi’s critique of Zhu Xi’s reading (1975: 163) and Tang Junyi (1966: 625).

52 . The word “enlightenment”, used here for convenience, should not suggest mysti-cal contemplation of the Buddhist sort. Here, it indicates conscious, rational understanding.

53 . The text implies the notion of a superior level of attainment in ch. 1, 22, 24, 32 among others, and in ch. 23 it explicitly allows for a secondary degree (Image 86.jpg) of cultivation.

54 . See above, note 21. The use of the word shen Image 91.jpg at the end of ch. 24 (Image 92.jpg) does not seem to admit an interpretation other than “god-like” in this context. Cf. the attribution of foreknowledge promised at the start of the chapter. (Sishu jizhu: 21).

55 . 55. See above, note 23.

56 . This is my reading of this ambiguous line (Sishu jizhu: 23), literally, “to have no doubleness with respect to things”.

57 . For example, Pauthier, Confucius et Mencius: 87-92; Couvreur, Les Quatre Livres: 50-57; Zottoli, Cursus litteraturae: 205-215; etc.

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Auteur

Andrew Plaks

Princeton University, Princeton.

© Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 1999

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter

Volume papier

Chargement

Unavailable