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Antoine Gaubil

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A French Jesuit and missionary to China, b. at Gaillac (Aveyron), 14 July, 1689; d. at Peking, 24 July, 1759. He entered the Society of Jesus, 13 Sept., 1704, was sent to China, where he arrived 26 June, 1722, and thenceforth resided continuously at Peking until his death. His Chinese name was Sun Kiun-yung. He had taken Parennin's place as head of the school in which Manchus were taught Latin, to act as interpreters in Russian affairs. Gaubil, the best astronomer and historian among the French Jesuits in China during the eighteenth century, carried on an extensive correspondence with the savants of his day, among them Féret and Delisle. His works are numerous, and are even yet highly praised. Among them is "Traité de l'Astronomie Chinoise" in the "Observations mathématiques", published by Pére Souciet (Paris, 1729-1732). From Chinese sources Gaubil translated the history of Jenghis Khan (Historie de Gentchiscan (Paris, 1739) and part of the annals of the T'ang Dynasty (in "Mémoires concernant les Chinois". vols. XV and XVI); he also wrote a treaty on Chinese chronology (Traité de la Chronologie Chenoise, Paris, 1814), and executed a good translation of the second of the Chinese classics, the "Book of History" (Shoo-king), edited by De Guignes (Paris, 1770).

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Gaubil left a great number of manuscripts now kept in the Observatory and Naval Depot (Paris) and in the British Museum (London). From three manuscript volumes kept formerly at the Ecole Sainte-Geneviève (Paris) the present writer published "Situation de Holin en Tartarie" (T'oung Pao, March, 1893) and "Situation du Japon et de la Corée" (T'oung Pao, March, 1898). Abel Rémusat in "Nouveaux Mélanges Asiatiques" (II, p. 289), wrote of Gaubil: "More productive than Parennin and Gerbillion, less systematical than Prémare and Foucquet, more conscientious than Amiot, less light-headed and enthusiastic than Cibot, he treated thoroughly, scientifically, and critically, every question he handled." His style is rather fatiguing as Gaubil, in studying the Chinese and Manchu languages, had forgotten much of his native tongue.

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Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

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