The Limits of a Confrontational Approach: Fabian Fukansai's Critiques of Neo-Confucianism and Christianity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper analyzes the critique of Neo-Confucianism by the Japanese Jesuit Brother Fabian Fukansai (c. 1565-1621) in the Myōtei Dialogues (Myōtei Mondō) (1605), as well as Fabian's later critique of Christianity. It clarifies the author's understanding of Neo-Confucian theory and his apology for Christianity by analyzing his explanation of the Great Ultimate (Tai'kyoku/Taiji) and Principle (ri/li), which Fabian sees as nothing but an expression of Buddhist monistic mentalism. It also demonstrates that his explanations of the Great Ultimate and Principle have a crucial flaw: they do not sufficiently explain Zhu Xi's metaphysics, which tried to make the immanent and transcendental characteristics of the Great Ultimate and Principle compatible. This is because Fabian addresses only the elements of "local" religions including Neo-Confucianism with novel keywords that support the framework of Christian Creationism and the Anima Rationalis theory. However, his later work Deus Destroyed (Ha Daius), written after he had rejected Christianity, overturned his former claim by accepting the Neo-Confucian concept of Principle. Fabian's works are a historical example showing the potential limits of a confrontational approach toward other religions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalFrontiers of Philosophy in China
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 16

Keywords

  • Deus Destroyed
  • Fabian Fukansai
  • Jesuit Mission in Japan
  • Myōtei Dialogues
  • Neo-Confucianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Limits of a Confrontational Approach: Fabian Fukansai's Critiques of Neo-Confucianism and Christianity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this