Fouquet Jean-françoIs

Fouquet Jean-François, a French Jesuit, was sent as a missionary to Central Asia in the early part of the 18th century. He made himself acquainted with the language, idioms, and the theogony of the Celestial Empire, and was struck with their points of resemblance not only to Christian doctrine, but especially to the prophecies contained in the holy Scriptures. According to him, the Chou- King (sacred book of Confucius) is only a paraphrase of Genesis, and the praises addressed to Wen-wang and to Tcheou-Koung in the Chi-King are only hymns in honor of the Messiah. One can see how much this ingenious interpretation would aid in proselyting the Chinese, who thus had only to change the names of their deities to claim priority in holding the doctrines of revelation over Christians themselves. Strict theologians attacked his opinions and censured his means of conversion; nevertheless, on his return to Rome in 1720, pope Clement XI made him bishop of Eleutheropolis. He was recommended by the Academy of Inscriptions as the only person capable of criticizing Fourmont's Chinese Grammar. His Tabula Chronologica historiae Sinicae, 1729 (on 3 sheets), contains a list of the Chinese monarchs, and the chief events of their reign, and a complete series of the Nianhao, or names of years (new edition by Seutter, Augsburg, 1746). He wrote also a letter to the duke de La Force, and inserted in tom. 5 of Lettres edifiantes, which furnishes curious details in regard to the Chinese army and the bonzes. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 18:332.

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