研究部学术报告

 

 

人:Dr. Beatriz Puente Ballesteros

Research Fellow in History of Medicine. Computense University of Madrid, Spain

Visiting Scholar, Institute for History of Natural Sciences, CAS

报告题目:“Ancient” or “Modern” Jesuit Medicine in China

F.X.D’ Entrecolles’ insights in the French controversy on Smallpox Inoculation

报告时间:2006321日(周二)上午930-1130

报告地点:本所学术报告厅(东城区朝阳门内大街137号)

 

 

Abstract

In 1726 François Xavier D´Entrecolles S.J sent a letter to the Academie de Sciences in which he detailed the Chinese practise of smallpox inoculation. This technique anteceded Jenner’s vaccine, and created much public debate in Europe. In France, there were three conflicting points of view. The philosophes defended the practice by arguing that the statistics show a lower death risk to people who took the vaccination, thus proving the technique’s effectiveness mathematically. Physicians, on the other hand, were represented by the Paris School of Medicine, rejected the practice as dangerous, complex, foreign and expensive. Finally, the Church was also divided between Protestants and Catholics. The former favoured inoculation relating it to predestination beliefs that the ‘seed’ of the smallpox disease must already exist in the individual. The latter regarded inoculation as an act of defiance against God’s will.

D´Entrecolles´ letter stands out as a bridge between the two general factions of supporters and enemies of inoculation. A “Jesuit’s Insights” provides an eloquent testimony of the sensitivities and cross-cultural dialogues concerning smallpox inoculations, with China playing a central role in the story. It is a testimony that exemplifies once more how “Jesuits´ Science” has its own character beyond the ideology of the Catholic Church. It is a step further towards coherence of the Society’s overseas science depended upon Jesuits´ ability to retain the traditional meaning of scientia as “knowledge of God” and intertwine it with the emerging meaning of scientia as “knowledge of nature”.

 

 

1726年,法国在华传教团体的一员(F-X D'Entrecolles)给法国皇家科学院(Academie des Sciences写了一封信。殷弘绪详细地介绍了中国的天花接种活动。他的信传到法国时,关于天花接种的问题有很多争议,主要有三种不同的观点。首先,哲学家们支持实行接种。他们指出与未接种的人相比接受了接种的人的死亡率更低。其次,大夫们,巴黎医学院为代表,他们反对实行接种,认为接种十分危险和复杂,完全是外国的技术,而且费用昂贵。最后,教士们也分为两派,一派是新教徒,他们支持接种并且还用宿命论的观点进行解释,说这种行为只是让早已存在于人体内的天花病发作而已。另一派是天主教徒,他们认为天花接种是违背神的意志的。

在这封信中,支持和反对天花接种的两种截然不同的观点走到了一起。一位耶稣会士的“灼见”既证明了他对天花接种的理解,同时也反映出在关于天花接种的跨文化对话中,中国扮演着十分重要的角色。不仅如此,这也再一次证明了耶稣会士的科学观已经超出了基督教的相关基本原则。因为耶稣会士在海外传播西方科学的时候,尽管依然把科学理解成“对神的了解”,但是也吸收了另一种新的观念,即科学是“对自然的了解”。