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On Friendship: One Hundred Maxims for a Chinese Prince Bilingual Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231149242
ISBN-10: 0231149247
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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this book, West and East truly meet, making something unique for both Western and Chinese readers alike.

(Thierry Meynard, Sun Yat-sen University)

Matteo Ricci's On Friendship is one of the most remarkable works in Sino-Western history. Timothy Billings's translation brings to life this sixteenth-century fraternal love song to the Chinese literati with erudition and grace.

(D. E. Mungello, Baylor University)

On Friendship is the perfect concatenation of supernal genius and brilliant scholarship. Matteo Ricci was Christianity's foundational and most effective voice in the late Ming dynasty, created the first scheme for the romanization of Chinese, introduced Western knowledge about science and government to the Middle Kingdom, and has a seemingly endless stream of other mind-boggling accomplishments to his credit. Timothy Billings possesses that rare blend of sinological expertise and Renaissance learning, enabling him to render Ricci's evocative classical Chinese maxims into elegant English and annotate them with extraordinary precision and clarity. The result is a beautiful book for the ages.

(Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania)

Book Description

An exquisite example of cultural exchange between China and the "Far West."

--This text refers to the Digital edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Bilingual edition (September 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231149247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231149242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,399,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By David Marshall on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mateo Ricci was a contemporary of William Shakespeare, and in his own way, every bit as brilliant. Like many founders -- Socrates, Confucius, Lao Zi, Jesus -- he seemed to summarize in his person and teachings several deep insights that different followers would develop into systems of their own. Ricci argued that Classical Chinese philosophers knew and worshipped the Supreme God whom Christians also worship -- an insight that would be developed by Jesuits, the "Three Pillars" of Chinese Catholicism, 19th Century scholars like James Legge, and continues to gain traction in modern China. (This is a special interest of mine -- having once written a book on "how Jesus fulfills the Chinese culture.") Ricci realized that science could be not impress Chinese with the Western world and make them curious to know more, but was itself a part of that blessing which Christianity brought to the Middle Kingdom -- an insight that would be developed by Catholics and Protestants for hundreds of years. Ricci began the outreach to upper classes and to emperors that would culminate in a "special relationship" between Jesuits priests and the great Kang Xi emperor.

But most of all, read his autobiography, and what stands out is the winsomeness of the man. He made friends. He dived into a river to save a mandarin's family from drowning. He stood up for a group of street thugs who tried to rob him, saving them from execution. He practiced courtesy as an art, and as a way of living out the Gospel among a cultured people.

This book is, thus, weightier than the number of pages it contains -- which is not many. The central text is only 100 sayings, making it about the length of the "Gospel" of Thomas. It is a kindlier text, and maybe a more sensible one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like it but already know almost everything.
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By trimcoin on February 2, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent
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