By Jean-Claude Martzloff

This ebook is made from components, the 1st dedicated to basic, historic and cultural heritage, and the second one to the advance of every subdiscipline that jointly include chinese language arithmetic. The booklet is uniquely obtainable, either as a topical reference paintings, and likewise as an summary that may be learn and reread at many degrees of class through either sinologists and mathematicians alike.

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Grimaldi (Min Mingwo) believed that mathematics was invented in china: This is a theory conceived by J. Bouvet. Bouvet believed that the sciences were invented more than 4000 years ago by the mythical Chinese Emperor Fohi [Fuxi], but that this ancient knowledge had then been lost. He thought he had found traces of it in the enigmatic hexagrams of the Yijing. This theory led him to believe that the ancient Chinese had been aware of the Gospel. Cf. Gatty ( l ) , 1976, p. 142. ''On this subject, see the notice compiled by Hashimoto Keizo in It6 (l), 1983, p.

64Cf. Bernard-Maitre (6), 1942. 6%n the mathematics training received in France by these Jesuit fathers, see Delattre ( l ) , 1949-1 957, 111, p. 1186. 66 " L i Madou [Matteo Ricci] suo yi, yin wenfa bu ming, xianhou nan jie, gu ling yi " (Given that Matteo Ricci's translation of (Euclid's Elements) is written in confused language and that it is difficult to understand its organisation, we have produced a new translation). Cf. Li Yan (42'), 1937, p. 219. que Nationale, Paris, French manuscript no.

20 2. The Historical Context the Ming, between mathematics and n ~ m e r o l o g y To . ~ ~be sure, soon, there was no one who could understand the nature of the tianyuan algebra. The possible reasons for this phenomenon include: (i) being insufficiently explicit, without oral teaching, the texts of the algebraists could no longer be penetrated without great effort by those who were no longer able to find out the information from the inventors themselves; (ii) many problems of the tianyuan knowledge could often be solved by simple and direct methods without the need for recourse to algebra (in other words, the content of some problems masked the originality of the new algebraic techniques); (iii) the particularly artificial and gratuitous nature of the problems may have been a hugely effective foil for those who judged everything by its economic usefulness.

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