Abstract: Yang Tingyun, one of the “three pillars of the early Catholic Church” in the late Ming period, has often been studied by scholars seeking to understand why he converted to Christianity and what Christian philosophy he embraced. This article shifts the focus to Yang’s secular concerns after his conversion. The article delves into the issues of Yang’s reassessment of Chinese history and political systems under the influences of Christianity and Western learning. It concludes that Yang’s Christian-centered interpretation of Chinese history and his aspirations for European-style institutions led him to question the importance of monarchy in China, with the result that he shifted his interest to the state, declaring an urgent need for pragmatic learning to strengthen state power. Citing the Jesuit fathers’ swift mastery of the Chinese classics and Western languages’ unlimited applications, Yang further became critical of the Sinocentric worldview of Chinese tradition.
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press