Sapientia sinica (1662): sulla prima traduzione a stampa dei Dialoghi confuciani ad opera di Prospero Intorcetta

Stefano Benedetti

Published in Jianchang, 1662, by the Sicilian Jesuit Prospero Intorcetta (1625-1692, missionary in China then representative of the Chinese mission in Rome), the Sapientia Sinica is a rather rare xylographic printing, including the first translated edition of the Confucius’ Analects. By reading carefully all the materials around the text, as well as comparing with other earlier manuscript translations (attributed to Matteo Ricci and Francesco Brancati) and by referring to further achievements by Intorcetta (especially preserved in the ms. Latin 6277, vol. 1, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, here largely quoted), this contribution investigates publishing and translation strategies of such pioneering edition, the first one conceived for the Confucius’ Analects to be received in Europe. A reception then fulfilled by the famous Confucius Sinarum Philosophus printed in Paris in 1687. Compared to that one, the Sapientia Sinica is regarded as a peculiar project, both as a book and translation, studied here in detail according to the most recent literature.