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Theologizing the Aristotelian Soul in Early Modern China: The Influence of Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion (1573) over Lingyan lishao (1624) by Francesco Sambiasi and Xu Guangqi

School of Languages and Cultures, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Religions 2024, 15(4), 394;
Submission received: 26 January 2024 / Revised: 15 March 2024 / Accepted: 19 March 2024 / Published: 25 March 2024


Lingyan lishao 靈言蠡勺 [LYLS] (Humble Attempt to Discuss the Soul, 1624) by the Calabrian Jesuit Francesco Sambiasi (1582–1649) and the Chinese mandarin Xu Guangqi 徐光啓 (1562–1633) was the first Chinese-language treatise on the scholastic Aristotelian soul and a pioneering work in Sino–Western intellectual exchanges. Until now, the dominant assumption has been that the first volume (juan) of this work is simply an adaptation of the Coimbra commentaries on De Anima [DA] and Parva Naturalia [PN]. This article demonstrates, however, that while most of the first juan is based on these Coimbra commentaries, its treatise on the substance of the soul was likely derived from another source, namely the Enchiridion, a 16th century confessional manual by the Spanish Augustinian Martín de Azpilcueta (1492–1586), or Doctor Navarrus. Through a close textual comparison, this article shows how LYLS adopts the same structure, content, and citations of the Enchiridion to construct an accessible and concise theological definition of the soul that was better suited for the Chinese missionary context than the dense philosophic definitions of the Coimbra commentaries.

1. Introduction: Coimbra in China

When Michele Ruggieri (1543–1607) and Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) established the first stable Jesuit mission in Zhaoqing in the early 1580s, they discovered a metaphysical chasm between their Christianity and the neo-Confucianism of their Chinese interlocutors. Whereas Christianity insisted upon the absolute transcendence of the Creator God and the immateriality of the immortal substantial soul, they perceived in the neo-Confucian tradition a monism opposed to these metaphysical claims that were integral to their soteriological message. Hence, from the beginning of the mission they polemicized with Chinese thought using philosophic arguments derived from the scholastic Aristotelian tradition in which they had been trained (Canaris 2019). Over time, the Jesuits realized that a more comprehensive presentation of scholastic Aristotelianism was necessary to establish Christianity as the intellectual peer of Chinese thought.
The manuals chosen for the systematic exposition of scholastic Aristotelianism in Chinese were a series of textbooks on the Aristotelian corpus prepared by Jesuits at the University of Coimbra (Meynard 2017). First published between 1592 and 1606 in eight volumes under the oversight of the Portuguese Jesuit Manuel de Góis (1543–1597), these textbooks, known as the Cursus Conimbricenses, exerted significant influence at the time and were used at various Jesuit colleges throughout Europe, including La Flèche where Descartes studied in his youth (Des Chene 2000). The commentaries provided a relatively accessible summary of scholastic philosophy, which had been updated to suit the needs of a post-humanist Europe (Carvalho 2018). In sum, nine Chinese-language works inspired by these Coimbra commentaries were published between 1624 and 1640s, covering a broad range of Aristotelian works, such as De Anima [DA], Parva Naturalia [PN], De Caelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, De Meteorologica, Isagoge, Categoriae, Ethica Nicomacheana, and the Problemata (Meynard 2017).
The first of these scholastic-Aristotelian works in Chinese was a treatise on the soul entitled Lingyan lishao 靈言蠡勺 [LYLS] (Humble Attempt to Discuss the Soul), which was published in two juan 卷 (volumes) at the Shenxiu Church 慎脩堂 in Hangzhou with a preface dated between 14 August and 12 September 1624 (Chan 2015, p. 366).1 Like many Chinese Christian works published in the late Ming and early Qing, LYLS was the fruit of a collaboration between a missionary and a Chinese Catholic convert. The Calabrian Jesuit missionary Francesco Sambiasi (1582–1649) explained orally (koushou 口授) the content, which was then recorded (bilu 筆錄) and presumably polished into literary Chinese by the illustrious Ming convert, scholar, and politician Xu Guangqi 徐光啓 (1562–1633).2
As the first systematic treatment of the soul in Chinese, this work holds especial significance in the history of Sino–Western intellectual exchange, yet it has received scarce attention compared with other Jesuit Chinese writings. Sambiasi and Xu were highly conservative in their translation choices, making the work seem less interesting from the perspective of comparative philosophy and theology. While Sambiasi’s confrère Giulio Aleni (1582–1649) made daring comparisons with the neo-Confucian tradition in his own adaptation of the Coimbra commentary on DA, LYLS follows a conventional structure, engages minimally with Chinese thought and seems closely wedded to its source texts (Aleni 2020). The present article argues that the chief contribution of LYLS consists in its attempt to articulate an holistic account of the soul that is accommodated to the spiritual and practical needs of the Chinese missionary context.
This process of accommodation can be fully understood only through a precise identification of its European sources. The current scholarly consensus is that the first juan is an adaptation of the Coimbra commentaries on DA and PN (Verhaeren 1935; Meynard 2015). The present article proposes a new possible textual connection that has been hitherto unnoticed by scholarship: the Enchiridion, a sixteenth-century confessional manual by the Spanish Augustinian theologian Martín de Azpilcueta (1492–1586), commonly known as Doctor Navarrus. Through a close textual analysis, it is argued that Sambiasi and Xu based the first section of the first juan 卷 (volume) of LYLS on the Enchiridion to construct a more accessible and concise theological definition of the soul that is obscured by the philosophic focus of the Coimbra commentaries.

2. Composition and Content of LYLS

LYLS was published at a testing time for the Jesuit China mission. The Church in China had just emerged from a spate of persecution instigated in 1616 by Shen Que 沈㴶 (1565–1624), the vice minister of the Nanjing Ministry of Rites. Between 1617 and 1620, Sambiasi lived together with Giulio Aleni, Niccolò Longobardo (1559–1654), and other Jesuits in Hangzhou under the protection of the literatus Yang Tingyun 楊廷筠 (1562–1627), a prominent Chinese Catholic convert (Standaert 1988, pp. 91–92). At the same time, the Jesuits themselves were divided over mission policy in what became known as the Terms Controversy. Jesuits exiled from Japan took exception to what they believed were excessively liberal accommodations to Chinese thought and culture adopted by the China missionaries and insisted that indigenous Chinese vocabulary could not express the transcendence of Christian theological concepts such as God, the angels, and the soul. Longobardo, who succeeded Ricci as superior of the mission was convinced by the arguments of the Japan Jesuits, writing a treatise in the mid-1620s on the topic (Longobardo 2021). While Sambiasi’s own position in the Terms Controversy is unclear,3 Sambiasi and Xu’s conservative translation choices and lack of engagement with Confucian thought in LYLS reflects the tense environment in which the work was composed. Like other Chinese Christian texts published at the time, such as Tianzhu shengjiao qimeng 天主聖教啓蒙 (Introduction to the Catholic Religion, 1619) by João da Rocha and Daiyipian 代疑篇 (Treatise to Supplant Doubts, 1621) by Yang Tingyun, LYLS predominately employs the phonetic transliteration ya-ni-ma 亞尼瑪 to render the Christian concept of the rational soul. However, the semantic translation linghun 靈魂 is still occasionally used, especially in glosses, to maintain continuity with Jesuit writings published before the Terms Controversy, such as Ricci’s Tianzhu shiyi 天主實義 (True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, 1603) (Ricci 2016).
LYLS is divided into two brief juan. The first juan follows a structure typical of early modern treatments of the soul though with a distinctive innovation. After the preface (yin 引), it contains a treatise on the substance of the rational soul (論亞尼瑪之體), a treatise on the vegetative and sensitive powers of the rational soul (論亞尼瑪之生能覺能), and a treatise on the rational powers of the rational soul (論亞尼瑪之靈能) that orders largely scholastic Aristotelian content according to the Augustinian division of memory (論記含者), intellect (論明悟者), and will (論愛欲者) (Zhou 2017). Aquinas had famously rejected this three-fold division, arguing on Aristotelian grounds that intellectual memory was inseparable from the intellect.4 Early modern and Jesuit manuals invariably adhered to Aquinas on this point, but Alessandro Valignano (1539–1606), the Jesuit Visitor of the Japan and China missions, perhaps inspired by the Spiritual Exercises, employed the Augustinian division in his Japanese catechism (Catechismus Christianae fidei, 1586), which was followed by Ricci in Tianzhu shiyi (Valignano 1586, pp. 32v–33r; Ricci 2016, p. 297). While the treatise on the rational powers in LYLS is structurally Augustinian, its content is emphatically Aristotelian. In contrast, the second juan is not Aristotelian but Augustinian in content, containing a treatise on the likeness of the soul’s dignity to God (論亞尼瑪之尊與天主相似) followed by a treatise on the supreme good (論至美好之情) (Meynard 2015). The highly conventional nature of these contents suggests a dependency on European textual archetypes, but the identification of their sources is made difficult by the significant overlap in these works. Mere thematic and doctrinal correspondences are not sufficient to prove a dependence, as the same points recur in multiple texts from the Middle Ages onward, often in similar order.
Already in 1935, the Lazarist missionary Hubert Verhaeren identified the Coimbra commentary on DA as the major source of LYLS (Verhaeren 1935). Verhaeren noted that the preface of LYLS was a close translation of the prooemium of the Coimbra commentary and that the first juan followed the same general order of subjects, including the soul, its nature, its vegetative, sensitive, and rational powers, and the three faculties of the rational soul. He also noted that the first chapter on the substance of the soul, which is divided into nine articles, seemed to follow the order of the Coimbra commentary, and discovered passages which had been evidently adapted from the Coimbra commentary.
Yet Verhaeren was also aware of the significant differences between the Coimbra commentary on DA and LYLS. The first obvious discrepancy is the theological content of the second juan, which has no correspondence in the Coimbra commentaries since the Jesuit curriculum separated the study of philosophy and theology. While Thierry Meynard has proposed some possible candidates, the evidence is inconclusive and further philological work is needed to confirm Sambiasi and Xu’s sources for the second juan (Meynard 2015, p. 230).
Yet even in the first juan, there is significant content not found in the Coimbra commentaries. For instance, the first juan discusses topics such as salvation by grace and works and the immortality of the soul, which are not explicitly discussed in the Coimbra commentary on DA. While not rejecting, tout court, the possibility of the Coimbra commentaries as a source, Isabelle Duceux argued that the theological anthropology of LYLS was closer to that of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologica and sought to identify the parallels between the two works in her annotations to her Spanish translation of the work (Duceux 2009, p. 37). However, in his review of Duceux’s translation, Thierry Meynard has convincingly shown that LYLS is structurally and philosophically closer to the Coimbra commentaries than the Summa theologiae (Meynard 2015). For instance, where Aquinas lists four inner senses of the sensitive power of the soul (common sense, phantasia, estimative power, and memorative power), LYLS agrees with the Coimbra commentary in reducing these to two inner senses (common sense and phantasia). Furthermore, Meynard demonstrated that Sambiasi and Xu’s treatment of memory was an adaptation of the Coimbra commentary on PN, which Sambiasi also consulted in other Chinese works of his.

3. The Enchiridion as One of the Sources of LYLS

The focus on major works such as the Coimbra commentaries and Aquinas’ Summa has led to the neglect of alternative sources that were popular at the time but have since fallen into oblivion. This article contends that while the Coimbra commentaries on DA and PN were the most important sources for the first juan of the LYLS, Sambiasi and Xu sought to construct a more integrated theological definition of the soul by consulting another source that has been overlooked by scholarship: Doctor Navarrus’ Enchiridion, which was first published in Portuguese at Coimbra in 1552 and republished in at least eighty-one editions before 1615 in Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish (Decock 2018, p. 121). The Latin edition, first published in 1573 in Rome, became the standard version, and was significant in moral theology and even economics.5 Dr Navarrus trained in theology at the University of Alcalá between 1509 and 1516, received his doctorate in canon law from Toulouse in 1518, and taught first at the University of Salamanca from 1524 and then at the University of Coimbra from 1538 to 1556.
Although Dr Navarrus was not a Jesuit, his moral theology was influential for the development of Jesuit casuistry (Maryks 2008, pp. 51–52). Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion was recommended by the official edition of the Directory to the Spiritual Exercises from 1599 and helped shape the structure of the Ratio Studiorum. Many compendia of the Enchiridion were produced, one of the most successful being by the Jesuit Pietro Alagona (1549–1624). Alagona’s compendium was first published in Rome in 1590 and was republished in at least twenty-three editions in Latin, Italian, and French (Dunoyer 1967, pp. 102–8). With European expansion in the Americas and Asia, Dr Navarrus’ writings and their compendia played an integral role in the production of normative knowledge and practice on a global scale (Bragagnolo 2024).
Perhaps in part due to Dr Navarrus’ blood relationship with St Francis Xavier, Dr Navarrus’ writings also had a particularly strong influence on the Jesuits’ missions in India and Japan.6 Among the books that the Portuguese Jesuit Melchior Nunes Barreto (c. 1520–1571) brought to Japan in 1556 were eight copies of manuales de Navaro, which amounted to two copies of Navarrus’ textbook for each priest in Japan (Gay 1959–1960, p. 157). In the inventory of the Macau College compiled in 1616, one copy of “Navarros” and fifty-three copies of a compendium of Dr Navarrus’ textbook are listed (Humbertclaude 1941). Yoshimi Orii argues that these copies were most likely the edition of Alagona’s compendium that the Jesuits had printed in 1597 in Japan with the European printing press brought by the Jesuits to Nagasaki in 1590 (Orii 2024). Three copies of Navarrus’ work can be found in the collection of books belonging to Bishop Diogo Valente (1568–1633) (Golvers 2006). While the inventory was compiled on 11 November 1633, after Valente’s death, it is not certain when these books entered into Valente’s possession. According to Golvers, some may have arrived with Nicolas Trigault in 1619, some from the College of Macau, and others from the Japan mission. A copy of the 1593 Latin edition of this book can also be found in Verhaeren’s catalogue of the Jesuits’ Beitang Library in Beijing, though this edition also bears the stamp of Policarpo de Sousa (1697–1757), Bishop of Beijing from 1743 till his death, and is unlikely to be the copy consulted by Sambiasi and Xu (Verhaeren 1969, p. 250).
As Alagona’s compendium does not include the citations that can be found in LYLS, Sambiasi and Xu most likely consulted the complete Latin edition of the Enchiridion that could have been easily obtained in Macau. This Latin edition contained a series of ten preliminary chapters (or “preludes”), the first five of which were a series of treatises on the soul. These preludes were designed as the theoretical preparation for the discussion on moral theology that is the principal focus of the work. Hence, throughout Dr Navarrus’ theoretical exposition of the soul, there is always a concern to ensure its relevance for spiritual cultivation and pastoral practice.
There is very little scholarship on Dr Navarrus’ treatment of the soul. As the Catalan theologian Josep-Ignasi Saranyana remarks, the general presumption has been that the work is devoid of philosophic or speculative value.7 Dr Navarrus’ treatment of the soul is fundamentally a summary of Aquinas’ Summa theologiae, and its structure and content are heavily influenced by the Summa moralis by the Dominican friar and archbishop of Florence Antonino Pierozzi (1389–1459), who similarly begins his work on moral theology with a treatise on the soul that follows a similar structure. Dr Navarrus derives his basic definition of the soul from the Summa moralis and expands Pierozzi’s definition with more examples and content.8 While Dr Navarrus cites the Summa moralis on occasion, he does not formally acknowledge his structural and theoretical debt to the work.9
There are compelling textual reasons why Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion, and not the Coimbra commentary on DA, must be considered the primary source of the first treatise on the substance of the soul in the first juan of LYLS. First, the nine claims that Sambiasi and Xu make about the soul in this treatise follow almost exactly the definition of the soul provided in the first prelude of Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion (Azpilcueta 1593, pp. 3–5). While similar content can be found in the Coimbra commentary, contrary to Verhaeren’s claim, it is not an exact match, since in LYLS, there are theological topics, such as the immortality of the soul, grace, and beatitude, which are not found in the Coimbra commentary but are found in the Enchiridion (see Table 1). Moreover, Sambiasi and Xu’s nine claims about the soul are followed by a list of six mistaken conceptions about the soul, which can also be found in the same order and with similar content in the Enchiridion (see Table 2) (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6–8). Third, all the citations of Augustine, pseudo-Augustine, and pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux in the first treatise of LYLS can also be found in the first prelude of the Enchiridion and in the same order (see Table 3). Notably, at the conclusion of the list of mistaken conceptions of the soul in the Enchiridion, Dr Navarrus refers to the citation of pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux made at the beginning of the prelude. The same citation reappears in the same place in LYLS, though Sambiasi and Xu chose to re-paraphrase the text to serve as the conclusion of the treatise. These citations cannot be found in any of the Coimbra commentaries. Considering that there are approximately 15,726 characters in the first juan, around 22% of the first juan has been adapted from the Enchiridion.
It is not possible here to analyse systematically the entirety of Sambiasi and Xu’s attempt to adapt and translate Dr Navarrus’ nine-part definition of the substantial soul, but the first three definitions will suffice to illustrate their strategy. A striking difference between the Enchiridion and LYLS is that the Chinese definitions in LYLS are often longer than those in the Enchiridion. This is surprising, because the Jesuits’ Chinese-language translations are generally more concise than their Western-language source texts. For instance, the Coimbra commentaries contain detailed argumentation that is not only difficult to translate into Chinese, but also would perhaps be distracting for the Chinese reader, who would need simple definitions and clear articulations of philosophic and theological positions rather than the minutiae of debates irrelevant to the mission field. Yet the definitions provided in the Enchiridion are already extremely concise, and their concision would have posed obstacles to their lucidity in Chinese. Let us take for instance the first of Dr Navarrus’ definitions of the soul as subsistent:
I said substance lest the definition lack genus. Every excellent definition must consist of genus and difference. This was taught by Aristotle through theory and by the jurist Ulpian through praxis and usage as explained in the commentaries by Bartolus and others. It is agreed that the term substantia is the genus for the human soul because every human soul is a substance, as St Thomas proves. On the contrary, however, not every substance is a human soul. [Dixi, Substantia, ne definitio careat genere, quo et differentia debet constare omnis optima definitio, quod docuit per theoriam Aristoteles et per praxim et usum Iurisconsultus Ulpianus, ubi Bart. et alii hoc explicant: et constat verbum substantia, esse genus ad animam humanam: omnis etenim anima humana est substantia, ut probat divus Tho. non tamen e contrario omnis substantia est anima humana.] (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 3)
To a European reader, versed in the basics of scholastic logic, Dr Navarrus’ intensional definition would have been perfectly clear and sufficient: substance is the genus or general category to which a rational soul belongs, and the ensuing eight points constitute the differentiae that distinguish the rational soul from other substances. But to a Chinese reader, a mere literal Chinese rendering of terms such as genus and differentia would have been bewildering; hence, in the Chinese translation of this passage, Sambiasi and Xu add a basic definition of these logical terms, explaining the difference between genus (zong 總) and species (zhuan 專), as well as between substance (zili 自立) and accident (yilai 依賴):
What is meant by substance? Everyone who investigates the nature of things and wants to define the name of a thing, must use the genus and species as a method; it is not possible to omit either. (The genus means that which is shared by the many. For example, people have life; plants and animals also have life. Life is shared by people and things. As for species, people have a soul by which they can make rational inferences; plants and animals do not have this. Only people have a soul. Therefore, if we say that people are a living thing, we are speaking in terms of genus. If we say that people have the ability to reason, we are speaking in terms of their species.) Substance is the genus of the ya-ni-ma. The substance is not a ya-ni-ma, but the ya-ni-ma is a substance. For example, when we speak of living things, we do not only mean people, but rather people are a living thing. (In the theory of investigating things there is substance and accident. The substance is an independent body upon which other things depend. The accident cannot subsist by itself; it exists only by depending on the substance. If it does not depend upon a subsistent thing, it cannot be a thing by itself.) [何謂自立之體?凡格物者,欲定一物之稱謂,必以總、專為法,闕一不可。(總稱者,衆共之。如人有生,草木禽獸亦有生。生者,人與物所同也。專稱者,如人有靈,能推論理,草木禽獸無之。靈者,人所獨也。故指人爲有生之物,此謂總稱。指人爲能論理者,此謂專稱。)自立之體者,亞尼瑪之總稱也。自立體,不止亞尼瑪,而亞尼瑪則是自立體。如凡言有生之物,不止是人,而人則是有生之物。(格物之說,有自立、有依賴。自立者,自爲體而為他物所賴。依賴者,不能自立,依自立之體而爲有。不依賴於自立之物,則不能自爲一物。)] (Huang and Wang 2013, pp. 1:320–321)
In this instance, it is not readily apparent where Sambiasi and Xu sourced this extra information. Sambiasi and Xu may have composed their own original comment, or they may have drawn upon other Coimbra commentaries, such as the Coimbra commentary on the Dialectica where these terms find precise definitions (Couto 1606). Another possibility is that they consulted the sources cited in Dr Navarrus’ marginal annotations. In the passage above, Dr Navarrus cites Topics 6.1–2 where Aristotle explains the principles for defining things and Commentary on the Sentences II, d. 3, q. 1, art. 6 where Aquinas defines the soul as a being in the genus of substance both as a species, insofar as it is subsistent and can survive independently of the body, and as a principle, insofar as it is the form of the body. Similar content can be found in the additional text of LYLS. Sambiasi and Xu’s additional text is differentiated from their direct translation of the Enchiridion through the use of smaller characters, whereas the text in larger characters corresponds almost exactly to Dr Navarrus’ original text. In this way, Sambiasi and Xu have transposed early modern commentarial practices, which rely primarily upon marginal annotations, to the traditional Chinese convention of interlinear commentary in smaller characters, which dates at least to the Tang dynasty (Gardner 1998). Despite their failure to precisely identify their sources, to the Chinese reader, it is apparent that LYLS consists of multiple textual layers.
In subsequent sections, it is very likely that Sambiasi and Xu had consulted Dr Navarrus’ references, particularly the Summa, to flesh out the text. Dr Navarrus’ original definition of the soul as subsistent consists of one jargon-filled sentence, which would have been impenetrable for the Chinese reader:
I said “subsistent by itself” in order to differentiate it from the vegetative soul of plants and the sensitive soul of other animals, which cannot subsist by themselves, as the same St Thomas proves. [Dixi, per se subsistens, ut differat ab anima vegetativa plantarum, et a sensitiva ceterorum animalium, quae non possunt per se subsistere, ut probat idem sanctus Thomas.] (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 4)
This brief definition has three marginal annotations from the Summa theologiae: the first being Summa theologiae 1, q. 75, art. 3, which explains that animal souls are not subsistent and depend on the body; the second being Summa theologiae 1, q. 75, art. 6, which explains the incorruptibility of the intellectual soul compared to the animal soul; and the third being Summa theologiae 1, q. 76, art. 3, which argues that humans only have one soul that subsumes the functions of vegetative and sensitive souls. In LYLS, Sambiasi and Xu translate Dr Navarrus’ definition literally, and then supply an interlinear gloss that matches the content in each of Dr Navarrus’ three marginal annotations. The only discrepancy is that the content of the second marginal annotation is presented not as a gloss but as part of the main text:
What is meant by subsistence? We speak of subsistence to draw a distinction from living souls and perceptive souls. (There are three types of souls: living soul, perceptive soul and rational soul. The soul of plants has life but lacks perception and reason. The soul of animals has life and perception but lacks reason. The soul of people has life, perception and reason.) The living soul and the perceptive soul come from matter and both depend upon their bodies to exist. The living and perceptive souls are exhausted when the thing upon which they rely is exhausted. The rational soul is in people and does not come from matter. It does not rely upon its body for existence. Even when people die it does not expire. Therefore, it is subsistent. (Subsistence and substance have different meanings. For example, a person is a substance, and a horse is also a substance. However, the form of a horse is due to the presence of the horse. Without the horse, there is no form of the horse. It cannot be said that [the form of the horse] is subsistent. The ya-ni-ma of a person is present regardless of whether the person is present or not. Therefore, it is said to be subsistent.) [何謂本自在者?言本自在,以別於生魂、覺魂也。(魂有三:生魂、覺魂、靈魂。草木之魂,有生,無覺,無靈;禽獸之魂,有生,有覺,無靈;人之魂,有生,有覺,有靈。)生魂、覺魂,從質而出,皆賴其體而爲有。所依者盡,則生、覺俱盡。靈魂在人,非出於質,非賴其體而有,雖人死而不滅,故爲本自在也。(本自在,與自立之體異義。如人是自立之體,馬亦是自立之體。但馬之體模,因馬而在。無馬,則無馬之體模,不得言本自在。人之亞尼瑪,人在亦在,人不在亦在。故言本自在者。)] (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:321)
Even though Sambiasi and Xu based this part of LYLS upon the first prelude of the Enchiridion, Sambiasi and Xu sought to accord it with the corresponding passage in the Coimbra commentary on DA. In the third part of Dr Navarrus’ definition, the rational soul is defined as “incorporeal” (incorporea):
I said “incorporeal” to differentiate it from the corporeal substance and to refute Diogenes and other pagan philosophers, who said that the soul is wind, or air, as Saint Isidore and Saint Antoninus relate. Isidore calls these philosophers heretical followers of Tertullian. [Dixi, Incorporea, ad differentiam substantiae corporeae, et ad damnationem Diogenis et aliorum ethnicorum Philosophorum, qui dixerunt animam esse ventum, vel aerem, ut refert B. Isidorus et S. Antoninus quos appellat haereticos Tertullianistas Isidorus.] (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 4)
Sambiasi and Xu’s translation of this passage is almost identical in structure and content, except that Sambiasi and Xu define the soul as “spiritual” (shen zhi lei 神之類) and implicitly redirect Dr Navarrus’ critique from the Presocratics to the neo-Confucians, who argued that the soul (hun 魂) was subject to the realm of qi 氣, and thus could not be understood as purely immaterial:
By the above-mentioned category of spirits is meant that the spiritual category is differentiated from the others which do not belong to the category of spirits, namely the living and perceptive souls. This serves to rectify other erroneous theories, such as that which says that the soul qi. [前謂神之類,言神類以別於他不屬神之類,如生、覺魂等。又以正他諸妄說,如謂魂爲氣等也。] (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:321)
Interestingly, in the Coimbra commentary on DA, the soul is defined in similar terms as a “spiritual substance” (spiritus, sive substantia spiritalis) (Góis et al. 1598, p. 41). While Aquinas used spiritalis and incorporeus as effective synonyms, he had a strong preference for the term “incorporeal” due to his polemic with the doctrine of universal hylomorphism, which had been attributed to the Jewish philosopher Avicebron (Solomon Ibn Gabirol, 1021/1022–1070) (Saranyana 1988, p. 194). Universal hylomorphism postulates that all creation, including spiritual substances such as angels, consist of matter and form, but that the matter of spiritual substances was of a purer and subtler matter. This “spiritual matter” was not understood as corporeal or extended but a principle of passivity capable of undergoing change. This doctrine was promoted by Bonaventure and other Franciscans, but was opposed by Aquinas, who explained the mutability of angels in terms of their composition of essence and being (Case 2020). While in papal documents preceding this debate such as the decree Firmiter of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), the term “spiritual” is used freely in relation to incorporeal creatures, and in later documents, such as the Council of Vienne (1312), and the Fifth Lateran Council (1512–1517), the term “spiritual” is scrupulously avoided (Saranyana 1988, p. 194). Despite adopting the term “spiritalis”, the Coimbra commentary clearly reaffirms the Thomistic view that the soul is not only incorporeal, but also immaterial.15
Sambiasi and Xu’s use of the Coimbra definition should not be considered a philosophic position in these debates, especially as they make clear later in LYLS that the soul as a spiritual substance is immaterial and “cannot be seen by human eyes and thus can understand the principles of all things” (亞尼瑪,神類也。無形無質,亦不屬於人目,而明達萬物萬事之理) (Huang and Wang 2013, pp. 1:339–340). Nonetheless, it is possible that Sambiasi and Xu chose this translation to introduce the doctrine of the soul in less confrontational terms. In the Chinese intellectual tradition, shen 神 (spirit) was often used as a synonym of hun 魂 (spiritual soul) to indicate the part of the spirit that ascends after the death of the body in contrast to the po 魄 (bodily soul) that descends after death (Yü 1987). Even as Sambiasi and Xu reject the neo-Confucian definition of the soul as subordinate to qi, by defining the soul as shen, they stress that the Christian doctrine of the soul was not diametrically opposed to Chinese thought.
Sambiasi and Xu’s translations of Dr Navarrus’ citations of pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux, pseudo-Augustine, and Augustine also constitute sophisticated attempts to scaffold the presentation of dogma for the Chinese reader. The citation that opens and closes the treatise on the substance of the soul is the famous incipit of the Meditationes piissimae de cognitione humanae conditionis, a work then attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux but now regarded as the work of an unknown twelfth-century Cistercian monk (Bell 2023, pp. 24–25). Sambiasi and Xu’s translation captures the spirit of Bernard’s exhortation to cultivate the interior life, but features conspicuous transpositions. First, pseudo-Bernard contrasts our obsession over others (alios) and our neglect of ourselves (seipsos), whereas Sambiasi and Xu objectify this as a contrast between the forgetting of self (忘自己) and the pursuit of many goods (多物). Second, while pseudo-Bernard identifies God as the object of both exterior and interior inquiry, Sambiasi and Xu universalize, in Aristotelian terms, the object of inquiry as “the good” (meihao 美好), which is then indicated in smaller characters (and thus presented as commentary) as God (Tianzhu 天主). This more abstract representation of the good that is obtained through interior cultivation might suggest a comparison with the thought of Lu Jiuyuan 陸九淵 (1139–1993) and the School of Mind, which similarly stresses moral cultivation through introversion (Tian 2023). However, Sambiasi and Xu deliberately avoid Mencian terms like liangxin 良心 (good mind), employing instead the word meihao, which was not commonly used in Confucian philosophic texts. At the same time, these transpositions serve to draw a stronger thematic link with the preface (yin 引) of LYLS, which is drawn from the prooemium of the Coimbra commentary on DA. Here, Sambiasi and Xu cite the Delphic injunction to “know oneself” (renji 認己) as the epistemic foundation of all knowledge. In this way, they establish both the political and theological relevance of the soul and make a comparison between their aims and the neo-Confucian concept of gewu qiongli 格物窮理 (investigating things and probing the principle), which also sought to ground empirical research on the cultivation of the mind-heart (xin 心). Hence, their phraseology simultaneously evokes a degree of conceptual familiarity while stressing the novelty of their approach.

4. Conclusions: Theologizing Aristotle

There is an obvious reason why Sambiasi and Xu would prefer to consult Doctor Navarrus’ summary over the Coimbra commentary on DA for their definition of the soul. The Coimbra commentary, despite its relative accessibility compared to other scholastic manuals, was a complex text with dense philosophic argumentation that would have been not only difficult to translate but also bewildering for the Chinese reader. In contrast, Doctor Navarrus’ treatise on the soul was concise and lucid, providing a clear and easy-to-follow structure. But Sambiasi and Xu’s interest in the Enchiridion goes beyond its practicality: while Doctor Navarrus does not reject Aristotle, he regards the Aristotelian definition of the soul as the “act of the physical body potentially possessing life” (actus corporis physici, organici, potentia vitam habentis) as insufficient for Christianity. He was aware of the polemics over the immortality of the soul that had been stirred by Pietro Pomponazzi’s treatise De immortalitate animae. Aristotle was notoriously ambiguous about the immortality of the rational soul, and Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. 200) argued that Aristotle’s definition of the soul as the form of the body was incompatible with immortality. This view was revived by Pomponazzi but then condemned in the Fifth Lateran Council (1512–1517) as heretical precisely at the time when Dr Navarrus was studying at Alcalá. Hence, Dr Navarrus insists on using Scripture and revelation to inform his “more fitting” (aptius) theological definition that explicitly includes topics like the immortality of the soul, grace, and salvation:
Secondly, it is abundantly clear that no one can have perfect knowledge of our rational soul without Sacred Scripture or knowledge of the orthodox faith. For this reason, I have omitted the definition of the soul related by Aristotle and explained by the angelic and omniscient Thomas, namely “the rational soul is the act of the organic physical body possessing potentially life.” Let us define it more appropriately for our purpose as follows: the rational soul is a substance subsistent by itself, incorporeal, immortal, created by God out of nothing, is infused in the body in space and time so as to be its substantial form, suited to obtain beatitude through grace and good works. [Secundo, quod animae nostrae rationalis perfecta cognitio nulli unquam sine sacrarum literarum, aut fidei orthodoxae cognitione plene patuit. Quapropter omissa definitione animae, quam tradit Aristoteles quamque explicat Angelicus, et omniscius ille Thomas scilicet, Anima rationalis est actus corporis physici organici, potentia vitam habentis: definiamus eam nostro proposito sic aptius: Anima rationalis est substantia per se subsistens, incorporea, immortalis, creata a Deo, ex nihilo, ubi et quando infunditur corpori, ut sit forma substantialis eius, per se ad beatitudinem, per gratiam, et bona opera consequendam apta.] (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 3)
The need for an integrated theological definition of the soul was even more pressing in China. In the European context, Aristotelian philosophers such as Pompanazzi could distinguish between the philosophic truth of the soul’s mortality and the theological truth of its immortality, but in China, such distinctions would be perilous for the efficacy of the evangelical message. After all, neo-Confucian thought shared the Alexandrian assumption that the animating force of the body was not immortal insofar as hun and po were traditionally understood to dissipate after the death of the body. Hence, Sambiasi and Xu, like Dr Navarrus, stressed the need to ground the definition of the rational soul on Scripture (shengjing 聖經) and faith (xinde 信德) and translated Dr Navarrus’ definition literally:
If you wish to understand fully the wonder of the ya-ni-ma, there are two things which are needed: first, we must rely upon the affirmations of the Lord of Heaven in the classics; second, we must rely upon the light of the virtue of faith. (The virtue of faith is the virtue of believing in the Lord of Heaven.) In this work we rely upon the Sacred Scriptures and the virtue of faith to discuss the soul in outline. Ya-ni-ma is a substance, is self-subsistent, like a spirit, cannot die, and is created by the Lord of Heaven; [its creation] comes from nothing to existence; it is bestowed upon us in space and time; it is the form of our body; by relying upon e-la-ji-ya 額辣濟亞 (which is translated as holy favour) and our own good deeds, it can attain true beatitude. [欲盡通亞尼瑪之妙,非二事不可:一者依天主經典所說;二者依我信德之光也。(信德者,信天主之德。) 今依《聖經》、依信德,略言之。亞尼瑪,是自立之體;是本自在者;是神之類;是不能死;是由天主造成;是從無物而有;是成於賦我之所、賦我之時;是爲我體模;是終賴“額辣濟亞”(譯言“聖寵”),賴人之善行,可享真福。] (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:320)
The inclusion of grace and beatitude within Dr Navarrus’ definition of the soul reflects his concern that scholastic metaphysics, as exemplified by the theologians at Coimbra, was simply too abstract to be useful for the practical goal of salvation, which should be at the heart of all metaphysical enquiry.16 While Dr Navarrus’ first three preludes are essentially a theoretical and dogmatic overview of the soul, from the fourth prelude onward, he applies his conclusions to the pursuit of salvation, elucidating, for example, the passions of the soul, cultivation of virtues, the nature of sin, and the sacrament of confession. We see a similar concern for practical spirituality in LYLS where Sambiasi and Xu detail the need for both grace and good works (shanxing 善行) to obtain salvation (zhenfu 真福). Like Dr Navarrus, Sambiasi and Xu conclude their definition of the rational soul with St Augustine’s call for repentance: “All people who can decide for themselves (zizhu 自主) and wish to remove their past unrighteousness cannot become righteous without repenting. This is called deciding for oneself [i.e., free will]. Since children are ignorant, they cannot make their own decisions and cannot reason” (凡能自主之人,欲去前不義,不自悔,不能遷於義者,曰能自主。爲孩童無知,不能自主者,不論故也) (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:323).17
Whereas the Coimbra commentary on DA was intended for a university-teaching context, LYLS, like the Enchiridion, was intended to be used on the mission field: in Dr Navarrus’ case, the confessional, and in Sambiasi and Xu’s case, in the conversion of China. In LYLS, Sambiasi and Xu sought to provide theologically and philosophically precise definitions of the soul to stir the reader to conversion and to keep in view the promise of salvation. In this context, detailed reconstructions of philosophic disputes would be not only unnecessary, but also even counterproductive. Similarly, a purely philosophic treatment of the soul without reference to its theological ramifications would have been quite confusing for a Ming-dynasty scholar who would be hearing about the Christian doctrines for the first time. Doctor Navarrus’ theological definition of the soul provided Sambiasi and Xu with a convenient starting point for their pioneering work of intellectual exchange.


This research was funded by the Australian Research Council grant number DE220101505.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Data sharing is not applicable to this article (enough to consult references).

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


All translations in this article are the author’s, unless otherwise noted. LYLS can be found in various archives, including the Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu in Rome (Jap. Sin. II, 60) and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome (Borgia Cinese, 324.6). For a modern punctuated edition, see (Huang and Wang 2013, vol. 1, pp. 320–53). For a list of editions, see the Chinese Christian Texts Database ( accessed on 1 March 2024). In this article, the author has employed the unpublished, punctuated edition of Huang Zhipeng 黃志鵬, which differs in places to that of Huang and Wang. For the convenience of the reader, page references have been provided for the edition of Huang and Wang.
The precise nature of their collaboration is difficult to ascertain. As Xu Guangqi did not know Latin, it is assumed that Sambiasi was responsible for consulting the European sources, while they were both responsible for the translation choices.
In 1623, Sambiasi conducted an interview with Xu Guangqi on the Terms Controversy. While the report detailing the interview has been lost, its title provided by Giandomenico Gabiani in a catalogue of Jesuit writings on the Terms Controversy suggests that Sambiasi disagreed with Longobardo as Longobardo’s arguments are described as being “never well proven” (numquam bene probatis argumentis) (Bernard-Maître 1949, p. 70).
Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia, q. 79, art. 6.
The work, contained in an appendix a Latin translation of Azpilcueta’s treatise on usury.
“Xaverii cognatus, nam proavus Xaverii Ioannes de Azpilcueta et avus Dr. Navarri, Michael de Azpilcueta, fratres erant”. (Schurhammer and Wicki 1944–1945, p. 1:2, n. 18).
“Sorprende, sin embargo, la unanimidad con que se descalifica la valía filosófica y especulativa de la obra azpilcuetiana, contra el tenor literal de los textos” (Saranyana 1988, p. 182).
“Anima est substantia incorporea, immortalis, a Deo de nihilo creata cum infunditur corpori suo, ad ipsum informandum essentialiter et per se, et ad perfectam beatitudinem obtinendam per gratiam, et bona opera” (Pierozzi 1742, p. 86).
As discussed below, the very definition employed in LYLS is that which the Enchiridion borrowed from Pierozzi’s Summa moralis. However, it is clear from the coincidence of citations and phraseology that the source of LYLS is the Enchiridion and not the Summa moralis.
The definition is found on Azpilcueta, 3.
Not discussed in the Coimbra commentary on DA.
Not discussed in the Coimbra commentary on DA.
For a modern English translation, see Bell (2023).
Whereas Dr Navarrus simply refers to the citation made at the beginning of the prelude, Sambiasi re-paraphrases the quote. Notably, both Sambiasi and Dr Navarrus place this repeated citation after the enumeration of mistaken conceptions about the soul.
“Ergo anima intellectiva non est materialis et corporea, sed immaterialis substantia, seu spiritus” (Góis et al. 1598, p. 41).
“pues también los Teólogos disputaban con mayor estudio y cuidado, en aquel tiempo-es decir, durante los años que pasó en Coimbra—, sobre las relaciones reales y de razón, sobre las quiddidades, las hecceidades y las formalidades; sobre cuestiones físicas…. como el triple movimiento, y sobre otras metafísicas, que sobre las cuestiones prácticas concernientes a la salud de las almas”, citation from Commentaria in septem distinctiones de poenitentia, cited in Saranyana (1988, p. 181).
Cfr. Doctor Navarrus’ Enchiridion: “Et docet S. Thom nullus tamen adultus iudicio rationis fungens lege communi iustificatur, nisi praevio aliquo actu moraliter bono, a libero arbitrio suo product, etiamsi fide perpolleat, iuxta illud Augu. Omnis, qui iam suae viae arbiter constitutus est cum accedit ad sacramentum fidelium, nisi cum poeniteat veteris vitae, novam non poterit inchoare; ab hac poenitentia cum baptizantur soli parvuli immunes sunt, nondum enim uti possunt libero arbitrio et iuxta ea, quae tradit S. Tho. Adultus, inquam, iudicio rationis fungens, quia infantes, pueri, et adulti carentes iam a nativitate ratione, ob merita Iesu Christi Domini nostri per baptismum communicata, eam nunc sub lege gratiam consequuntur, et olim sub lege naturali, et scripta ob eadem merita applicata per circuncisionem et alia sacrificia et oblationes, in id institutas consequebantur, non tamen ex opere operato, sicuti nunc per sacramenta.” (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6). The citation is from Augustine, Sermo 351.2.


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Table 1. Comparison of the nine-part definition of the soul in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion. N.B.: only the titles of the sections have been reproduced here. A close textual analysis of the first three definitions can be found below.
Table 1. Comparison of the nine-part definition of the soul in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion. N.B.: only the titles of the sections have been reproduced here. A close textual analysis of the first three definitions can be found below.
LYLSEnchiridionLYLS (English)
亞尼瑪,是自立之體anima rationalis est substantia10Ya-ni-ma is a substance
是本自在者per se subsistensis subsistent
是神之類incorporealike a spirit
是不能死Immortalis11cannot die
是由天主造成creata a Deois created by the Lord of Heaven
是從無物而有ex nihilocomes from nothing to existence
是成於賦我之所、賦我之時ubi et quando infunditur corporiit is bestowed upon us in space and time
是爲我體模ut sit forma substantialis eius, per seit is the form of our body
是終賴“額辣濟亞” [譯言“聖寵”],賴人之善行,可享真福 (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:320)ad beatitudinem per gratiam, et bona opera consequendam apta.12 (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 3)by relying upon grace and our own good deeds, it can attain true beatitude
Table 2. Comparison of the six mistaken conceptions of the soul in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion. N.B.: some of the entries have been abbreviated due to their length.
Table 2. Comparison of the six mistaken conceptions of the soul in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion. N.B.: some of the entries have been abbreviated due to their length.
LYLSEnchiridionLYLS (English)
從此可推,他言人之亞尼瑪,可分散於諸有生者,非也。(Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:323)Tertio dicimus, quod ex hac diffinitione infertur primo, errare illos, qui imaginantur animas humanas esse divisibiles. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6)34. [Error 1] From this it can be inferred that what some people say about people’s ya-ni-ma being able to be dispersed in living things is wrong
又言亞尼瑪有形像,附我形像,因人小大,因人老幼者,亦非也。爲人之亞尼瑪,是神類,無幾何可論,全在全體,亦全在全體之諸分。如天主無所不在,全在天地之間,亦全在天地間之諸分也。(Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:323)Quoniam anima est res incorporea, et indivisibilis, neque habet ulla talia membra, imo tota est in toto corpore, et tota in qualibet eius parte, quoad ipsam animae substantiam, et essentiam, quod docet S Thom. ab omnibus receptus post beatum Augustinum, quemadmodum Deus optimus maximus est totus in toto mundo, et totus in qualibet eius parte quia est ubique secundum Magistrum et alios, et S. Tho. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6)35. [Error 2] Furthermore, they say that people’s ya-ni-ma has an appearance that is attached to the appearance of our body, and whose size and age is depended upon the individual. This is not the case. Since people’s ya-ni-ma is of spiritual category, it has no quantity to speak of. It is wholly within the whole substance and it is wholly within all the parts of the whole substance. For example, the Lord of Heaven is omnipresent. He is fully present between Heaven and Earth and fully present in all the parts between Heaven and Earth.
又從此推,人之亞尼瑪,非人也,但是人之一分。爲其無形無象,又不能死,必與軀殼合,乃成人耳。(Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:323)Secundo infertur, animam non esse hominem: tum quia anima, ut diximus, est substantia incorporea et immortalis, et tradit sanctus Thom. tum quia homo duabus partibus constat, anima videlicet rationali, et corpore; id quod gravissimus auctor Innocent. tertius in haec verba: Ad esse hominis duo principaliter exiguuntur, videlicet corpus, et anima, ex quorum coniunctione verus homo subsistit. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6)37. [Error 3] Furthermore, from this it is inferred that the ya-ni-ma of a person is not a person but a part of a person. Since it lacks shape or appearance and cannot die, it must unite with the body to form a person.
又從此推,或言亞尼瑪在人,如主人在家,舟師在船。此喻似之而非也。信如此喻,將疑亞尼瑪不爲人之內體模,不知人之爲人,全憑此爲內體模。(Huang and Wang 2013, pp. 1:323–324)Tertio infertur, cavendum esse, ne quis ex illis verbis eiusdem Augustini, Oportet primum domum compaginari, et sic habitatorem induci, colligat id, quod utinam nemo colligeret: nempe perinde animam rationalem esse in corpore, ac motor navis est in navi, et habitator domus in domo, quod non sit vera, et essentialis forma humani corporis. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6)38. [Error 4] Furthermore, from this can be inferred, that the ya-ni-ma is said to be in a person like the master is at home and the captain is in a boat. This metaphor is only a comparison and it is not actually so. If you believe in this comparison, then you will doubt that the soul is the inner substantial form of the person and you will not know that person becomes a person entirely because of this inner substantial form.
又從此推,或言人心爲亞尼瑪之所,但居中心而制百體。如國主居朝,宰制四境,此亦非也。亞尼瑪全在全體,而活其體,模其體。若在一分,即全在其分。而活其分,模其分,無有方所,何得言但居中心,而遙制各分?然亞尼瑪雖全在所在,活之、模之,而每於中心,施爲運用,諸關生命之事,如身中之火,身中之血,皆從心而出;若水自泉源,分別枝派。故謂心爲亞尼瑪之初所,又爲亞尼瑪之終所。(Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:324)“Quinto, infertur, glossam illam quae inquit, cor esse anima sedem, non esse ita intelligendam, quod anima soli cordi insideat, indeque reliquum corpus gubernet, sed quod licet per se totam immediate omnes eius partes animae et informet, in corde tamen operatur quamplurima eorum, quae ad vitam pertinent, quae non operatur in aliis partibus, iuxta illud Parthenicae Marianae Cor prius ex illo, quoniam descendit in artus/Vitalis calor a pleno ceu flumina fonte:/Illic prima domus vitae, postrema per illud discedens terris animus vestigia ponit. Neque tamen ex hoc eleganti elogio colligas, prius tempore cor ipsum animari, quam caetera alia corporis membra: nec posterius tempore, quam illa destitui ab anima. Quoniam uno et eodem tempore creatur a Deo ex nihilo intra corpusculum iam ad id organice fabricatum et paratum, et simul ei toti, et cuilibet parti, coniungitur tamquam forma eius substantialis, et essentialis, ex qua et illo corpusculo constituitur verus homo, ut colligitur ex sancto Thoma communiter recepto, et ex Magistro, Scoto et aliis. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 7)39. [Error 5] Furthermore, some infer from this that the human heart is the seat of the ya-ni-ma, and that it alone dwells in the centre and governs all the parts of the body. They compare it to the ruler of a kingdom who lives in the court and rules the four realms. This is not the case. The ya-ni-ma lives fully throughout the whole body, gives life to its substance and forms its substance. For example, in one part it can be found in its entirety. But it gives life to its parts, forms its parts, and there is nowhere where it is not present. How can we say that it only lives in the centre and governs from a distance each part? However, the ya-ni-ma, despite being wholly present throughout, it gives life to it, forms it. While it lives within the heart, it puts into action and is involved in all the vital functions. For example, the fire in the body and the blood in the body all come from the heart just as how water comes from a spring and is divided into tributaries.
又從此推,或言亞尼瑪是人之血,或言在人之血分,皆非也。亞尼瑪神類,全在全體,全在諸分,何得爲血?何得在血?但血爲生命之輿。(Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:324)Sexto infertur, ad eumdem item modum intelligendum esse illud B. Augustini, Anima quia spiritus est, sicco habitare, non potest, ideo in sanguine fertur habitare. Infertur item, quod in illo dicto B. Hieronymi, Nec potest vivere anima, nisi crescendi capax sit, per verbum anima, intelligendum esse hominem animatum, ut ibidem glossa intellexit per figuram Synedochen, capiendo partem pro toto. (Azpilcueta 1593, pp. 7–8)44. [Error 6] Furthermore, from this can be inferred that it is wrong to say that the ya-ni-ma is the blood of people or that it is a part of people’s blood. The ya-ni-ma is of a spiritual category, and it is completely inside the entire body, and it is completely inside all the parts. How could it be blood? How could it be in blood? However, blood is the vehicle (yu 輿) of life.
Table 3. Comparison of citations in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion.
Table 3. Comparison of citations in the first treatise on the substance of the soul (論亞尼瑪之體) in juan 1 of LYLS and the first prelude (De essentia animae rationalis) of the Enchiridion.
SourceLYLSEnchiridionLYLS (English)
Pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux, Meditationes piissimae de cognitione humanae conditionis.13聖白爾納曰:“有多多人,能知多多事,而不知自己。覓多多物,而獨忘自己。求美好於外物,而未嘗旋想自心之內有美好在也。” (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:320)Ob quod ait S. Bernar. Multi multa sciunt, et seipsos nesciunt, alios inspiciunt, et seipsos deserunt, Deum quaerunt per ista exteriora, deserentes sua interiora, quibus interior est Deus. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 3)St Bernard said: “There are many people who are able to know many things, but do not know themselves. They hunt for many things, but they forget about themselves. They seek the good from external things, but they have not tried to turn their hearts to the good within their own heart-mind.”
Pseudo-Augustine, De Diligendo Deo 2. Doctor Navarrus cites Augustine through Peter Lombard, Sent. II. 1.4.1.亞吾斯丁曰:“天主造成人之亞尼瑪,爲通達至美好。通而愛之,愛而得之,得而享之。” (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:322)“Iuxta Illud B. August. citatum a Magistro: Fecit Deus rationalem creaturam, quae summum bonum intelligeret, et intelligendo amaret, et amando possideret, ac possidendo frueretur. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 5)Augustine said: “The Lord of Heaven created the ya-ni-ma of people so that [people] can understand the supreme good. Through understanding they can love Him; through Love they can obtain Him; by obtaining they can enjoy Him.”
Augustine, Sermo 351.2.聖亞吾斯丁曰:“凡能自主之人,欲去前不義,不自悔,不能遷於義者,曰能自主。爲孩童無知,不能自主者,不論故也。” (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:323)iuxta illud Augu. Omnis, qui iam suae viae arbiter constitutus est cum accedit ad sacramentum fidelium, nisi cum poeniteat veteris vitae, novam non poterit inchoare; ab hac poenitentia cum baptizantur soli parvuli immunes sunt, nondum enim uti possunt libero. (Azpilcueta 1593, p. 6)St Augustine said: “All people who can decide for themselves and wish to remove their past unrighteousness cannot become righteous without repenting. This is called deciding for oneself [i.e., free will]. Since children are ignorant, they cannot make their own decisions and cannot reason.”
Pseudo-Bernard of Clairvaux, Meditationes pisssimae de cognitione humanae conditionis如上文聖白爾納曰:“人知多事,不如知己;覓多物,不如覓己。求美好於外,不如想美好在自心之內。” (Huang and Wang 2013, p. 1:324)Octavo infertur, longe magis e re nostra esse per se, et simpliciter scire praedicta, eademque ruminare, quam alias scientias (etiam iuris) cognitioni fidei Catholicae minimae necessarias, tum per illud dictum Bernardi. (Azpilcueta 1593, pp. 7–8)For example, St Bernard of Clairvaux mentioned above says the following: “The many things that people know are not as important as knowing themselves. Seeking many things is not as important as seeking oneself. The search for the beauty outside is not as important as thinking about the beauty within our own heart-mind.”14
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Canaris, D. Theologizing the Aristotelian Soul in Early Modern China: The Influence of Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion (1573) over Lingyan lishao (1624) by Francesco Sambiasi and Xu Guangqi. Religions 2024, 15, 394.

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Canaris D. Theologizing the Aristotelian Soul in Early Modern China: The Influence of Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion (1573) over Lingyan lishao (1624) by Francesco Sambiasi and Xu Guangqi. Religions. 2024; 15(4):394.

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Canaris, Daniel. 2024. "Theologizing the Aristotelian Soul in Early Modern China: The Influence of Dr Navarrus’ Enchiridion (1573) over Lingyan lishao (1624) by Francesco Sambiasi and Xu Guangqi" Religions 15, no. 4: 394.

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