ABSTRACT

To the Renaissance and the Reformation the non-Christian world was still that of Nicolas of Cusa, the world of Judaism, Islam, and paganism. Luther knew the non-Christian only as either the Turk, or the Jew, and when he translated Ricoldo’s Confutatio into German, he did it partly as an encouragement of Christians perplexed by the advance of Islam and partly as a polemic against the Pope, a worse Antichrist even than Mohammed. From the beginning Ricci adopted the policy of ‘accommodation’. He wanted to make the transition to Christianity as easy and as natural as possible, and also to defend himself against the charge of introducing a foreign religion. He took the view that the traditional ceremonies in honour of Confucius and the ancestors were civil and not religious in character, so that a Christian might legitimately take part in them, if the laws of the empire so required. The China legend was becoming discredited.