476 Erik Zürcher's Study of Christianity in Seventeenth-Century China: An Intellectual Portrait On September 12, 2007, a few months before his death, Erik Zürcher (September 13, 1928February 7, 2008) was honored in Brescia, Italy, the native town of the Jesuit missionary Giulio Aleni about whom Zürcher had written so much. The occasion was the recent publication of his second opus magnum: the translation of Kouduo richao (Diary of Oral Admonitions, 2007). This appeared nearly fifty years after his first major work, The Buddhist Conquest of China (1959, 1975, and 2007). At that celebration, Zürcher did not give a scholarly lecture; instead he shared some personal remarks on the reasoning behind his last project. In these remarks he actually put his recent work into the context of his whole scholarly accomplishment. The starting point that Zürcher raised was how his research field changed from the history of early Chinese Buddhism to the history of the early Christian mission in China.1 In his eyes, "although it looks [like] a rather drastic change, it is in fact more apparent than real." Since his senior student days, he had become fascinated by the "mechanism of cultural interaction," that is, "the way cultures
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Feb 24, 2008
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