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By Benjamin A. Elman

Historians of technology and Sinologists have lengthy wanted a unified narrative to explain the chinese language improvement of recent technology, medication, and know-how seeing that 1600. They welcomed the looks in 2005 of Benjamin Elman's masterwork, on their lonesome phrases. Now Elman has retold the tale of the Jesuit impression on past due imperial China, circa 1600-1800, and the Protestant period in early glossy China from the 1840s to 1900 in a concise and obtainable shape perfect for the study room. This coherent account of the emergence of recent technological know-how in China areas that emergence in historic context for either normal scholars of recent technological know-how and experts of China. (20070112)

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20 The Jesuits in China were cut off from the latest developments in European science and technology, and they did not keep pace with advances in astronomical instrumentation and precision timepieces. But perhaps more significantly, they also neglected to realize 24 A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MODERN SCIENCE IN CHINA the revolutionary implications of analytical geometry and the differential and integral calculus in the eighteenth century. Because Jesuit mathematicians stressed a static geometric mathematics, they never expanded the curriculum in the Jesuit colleges beyond Euclidian geometry.

Vagnoni and his Chinese informant made no effort to conceptualize the five phases in Chinese terms, which described the five phases not as substances but as marked phases in every sequence of change, whose configurations over time were the key to the delineation of the myriad things in the world. Of particular importance to the Jesuits in their efforts to promote Aristotle’s views of nature and principles was their belief that air was one of the four primary elements. This entailed an equation of the Chinese notion of qi as the stuff of the world with the Aristotelian element of air.

Perial clock-making workshops were also established in Suzhou and Hangzhou. 20 The Jesuits in China were cut off from the latest developments in European science and technology, and they did not keep pace with advances in astronomical instrumentation and precision timepieces. But perhaps more significantly, they also neglected to realize 24 A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MODERN SCIENCE IN CHINA the revolutionary implications of analytical geometry and the differential and integral calculus in the eighteenth century.

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