Jesuit China missions
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The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the
Society of Jesus The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of knowledge, science, and culture between China and the West, and influenced Christian culture in Chinese society today. The first attempt by the Jesuits to reach China was made in 1552 by St. Francis Xavier, Navarrese priest and missionary and founding member of the Society of Jesus. Xavier never reached the mainland, dying after only a year on the Chinese island of Shangchuan. Three decades later, in 1582, Jesuits once again initiated
mission Mission (from Latin ''missio'' "the act of sending out") may refer to: Organised activities Religion *Christian mission, an organized effort to spread Christianity *Mission (LDS Church), an administrative area of The Church of Jesus Christ of ...
work in China, led by several figures including the Italian
Matteo Ricci Matteo Ricci, SJ (; la, Mattheus Riccius; 6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), was an Italians, Italian Society of Jesus, Jesuit Priesthood in the Catholic Church, priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. He create ...
, introducing Western science, mathematics, astronomy, and visual arts to the Chinese imperial court, and carrying on significant inter-cultural and philosophical dialogue with Chinese scholars, particularly with representatives of
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
. At the time of their peak influence, members of the Jesuit delegation were considered some of the emperor's most valued and trusted advisors, holding prestigious posts in the imperial government. Many Chinese, including former Confucian scholars, adopted Christianity and became priests and members of the Society of Jesus. According to research by David E. Mungello, from 1552 (i.e., the death of St. Francis Xavier) to 1800, a total of 920 Jesuits participated in the China mission, of whom 314 were Portuguese, and 130 were French. In 1844 China may have had 240,000 Roman Catholics, but this number grew rapidly, and in 1901 the figure reached 720,490. Many Jesuit priests, both Western-born and Chinese, are buried in the cemetery located in what is now the School of the Beijing Municipal Committee.


Jesuits in China


The arrival of Jesuits

Contacts between Europe and the East already dated back hundreds of years, especially between the
Papacy The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, 'father'), also known as supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome (or historically the patriarch of Rome), head of the worldwide Cathol ...
and the
Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire of the 13th and 14th centuries was the List of largest empires, largest contiguous land empire in human history, history. Originating in present-day Mongolia in East Asia, the Mongol Empire at its height stretched from the S ...
in the 13th century. Numerous traders – most famously
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; 8 January 1324) was a Republic of Venice, Venetian merchant, explorer and writer who travelled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ''The Travels of Marco Polo'' (also known as ...
– had traveled between eastern and western Eurasia. Christianity was not new to the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , , ; ; russian: Монголы) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to Mongolia, Inner Mongolia in China and the Buryatia, Buryatia Republic of the Russia, Russ ...
, as many had practiced
Christianity of the Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, ܥܕܬܐ ܕܡܕܢܚܐ, ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā'') or the East Syriac Church, also called the Church of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, the Persian Church, the Assyrian Church, the Babylonian Church or the Nestorian C ...
since the 7th century (see
Christianity among the Mongols In modern times the Mongols are primarily Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhists, but in previous eras, especially during the time of the Mongol empire (13th–14th centuries), they were primarily shamanist, and had a substantial minority of Chri ...
). However, the overthrow of the Mongol-led
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a Mongols, Mongol-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and a successor state to the Mongol Empire after Division of the M ...
by the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last ort ...
in 1368 resulted in a strong assimilatory pressure on China's Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities, and non- Han influences were forced out of China. By the 16th century, there is no reliable information about any practicing Christians remaining in China. Fairly soon after the establishment of the direct European maritime contact with China (1513) and the creation of the
Society of Jesus The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of clerics regular of pontifical right for men in the Catholic Church headquartered in Rom ...
(1540), at least some Chinese became involved with the Jesuit effort. As early as 1546, two Chinese boys enrolled in the Jesuits' St. Paul's College in
Goa Goa () is a States and union territories of India, state on the southwestern coast of India within the Konkan region, geographically separated from the Deccan Plateau, Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is located between the Indian st ...
, the capital of Portuguese India. One of these two Christian Chinese, known as Antonio, accompanied St. Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Society of Jesus, when he decided to start missionary work in China. However, Xavier failed to find a way to enter the Chinese mainland, and died in 1552 on Shangchuan island off the coast of
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternatively romanized as Canton or Kwangtung, is a coastal province in South China on the north shore of the South China Sea. The capital of the province is Guangzhou. With a population of 126.01 million (as of 202 ...
, the only place in China where Europeans were allowed to stay at the time, but only for seasonal trade. A few years after Xavier's death, the Portuguese were allowed to establish
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), is a city and special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River D ...
, a semi-permanent settlement on the mainland which was about 100 km closer to the
Pearl River Delta The Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region (PRD; ; pt, Delta do Rio das Pérolas (DRP)) is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary, where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea. Referred to as the Guangdong–Hong Kong– ...
than Shangchuan Island. A number of Jesuits visited the place (as well as the main Chinese port in the region,
Guangzhou Guangzhou (, ; ; or ; ), also known as Canton () and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in southern China. Located on the Pearl River about north-northwest of Hong K ...
) on occasion, and in 1563 the Order permanently established its settlement in the small Portuguese colony. However, the early Macau Jesuits did not learn Chinese, and their missionary work could reach only the very small number of Chinese people in Macau who spoke Portuguese. A new regional manager ("Visitor") of the order,
Alessandro Valignano Alessandro Valignano, Society of Jesus, S.J., sometimes Valignani (Chinese: 范禮安 ''Fàn Lǐ’ān''; February 1539 – January 20, 1606), was an Italians, Italian Society of Jesus, Jesuit priest and missionary born in Chieti, part of the ...
, on his visit to Macau in 1578–1579 realized that Jesuits weren't going to get far in China without a sound grounding in the language and culture of the country. He founded St. Paul Jesuit College (Macau) and requested the Order's superiors in Goa to send a suitably talented person to Macau to start the study of Chinese. Accordingly, in 1579 the Italian
Michele Ruggieri Michele or Michael Ruggieri (1543– 11 May 1607), born Pompilio Ruggieri and known in China as Luo Mingjian, was an Italian people, Italian Jesuit Catholic priest, priest and Catholic missionary, missionary. A founding father of the Jesuit China ...
(1543–1607) was sent to Macau, and in 1582 he was joined at his task by another Italian,
Matteo Ricci Matteo Ricci, SJ (; la, Mattheus Riccius; 6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), was an Italians, Italian Society of Jesus, Jesuit Priesthood in the Catholic Church, priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. He create ...
(1552–1610). Early efforts were aided by donations made by elites, and especially wealthy widows from Europe as well Asia. Women such as
Isabel Reigota Isabel Reigota (died 1697) was a Portuguese trader, who was born in Japan, and lived in Macau in the 17th century. She took over her husband's business after being widowed, and played a notable role in establishing Macau's trade in sandalwood, as we ...
in Macau, Mercia Roiz in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and
Candida Xu Candida Xu or Candida Su ( zh, t=許徐甘弟大, w=Hsü3-Hsü2 Kan1-ti4-ta4, p=Xǔ-Xú Gāndìdà; September 4, 1607 – July 24, 1680), was a Chinese Catholic. She has been called "arguably the most influential Chinese Christian woman of the se ...
in China, all donated significant amounts towards establishing missions in China as well as to other Asian states from China.


Ricci's policy of accommodation

Both Ricci and Ruggieri were determined to adapt to the religious qualities of the Chinese: Ruggieri to the common people, in whom
Buddhist Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a ...
and
Taoist Taoism (, ) or Daoism () refers to either a school of Philosophy, philosophical thought (道家; ''daojia'') or to a religion (道教; ''daojiao''), both of which share ideas and concepts of China, Chinese origin and emphasize living in harmo ...
elements predominated, and Ricci to the educated classes, where
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
prevailed. Ricci, who arrived at the age of 30 and spent the rest of his life in China, wrote to the Jesuit houses in Europe and called for priests – men who would not only be "''good''", but also "''men of talent, since we are dealing here with a people both intelligent and learned.''" The Spaniard Diego de Pantoja and the Italian Sabatino de Ursis were some of these talented men who joined Ricci in his venture. The Jesuits saw China as equally sophisticated and generally treated China as equals with Europeans in both theory and practice. This Jesuit perspective influenced
Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz . ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist and diplomat. He is one of the most prominent figures in both the history of philosophy and the history of mathema ...
in his cosmopolitan view of China as an equal civilisation with whom scientific exchanges was desirable. Just as Ricci spent his life in China, others of his followers did the same. This level of commitment was necessitated by logistical reasons: Travel from Europe to China took many months, and sometimes years; and learning the country's language and culture was even more time-consuming. When a Jesuit from China did travel back to Europe, he typically did it as a representative ("procurator") of the China Mission, entrusted with the task of recruiting more Jesuit priests to come to China, ensuring continued support for the Mission from the Church's central authorities, and creating favorable publicity for the Mission and its policies by publishing both scholarly and popular literature about China and Jesuits. One time the
Chongzhen Emperor The Chongzhen Emperor (; 6 February 1611 – 25 April 1644), personal name Zhu Youjian (), courtesy name Deyue (),Wang Yuan (王源),''Ju ye tang wen ji'' (《居業堂文集》), vol. 19. "聞之張景蔚親見烈皇帝神主題御諱字德 ...
was nearly converted to Christianity and broke his idols.


Dynastic change

The fall of the
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last ort ...
and the rise of the
Manchu The Manchus (; ) are a Tungusic East Asian ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other g ...
-led
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty ( ), officially the Great Qing,, was a Manchu people, Manchu-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the Later Jin (1616–1636), La ...
brought some difficult years for the Jesuits in China. While some Jesuit fathers managed to impress Qing commanders with a display of western science or ecclesiastical finery and to be politely invited to join the new order (as did
Johann Adam Schall von Bell Johann Adam Schall von Bell (1 May 1591 – 15 August 1666) was a German Jesuit, astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They ...
in Beijing in 1644, or
Martino Martini Martino Martini () (20 September 1614 – 6 June 1661), born and raised in Trento (Prince-Bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire), was a Jesuit China missions, Jesuit missionary. As cartographer and historian, he mainly worked on ancient China, Impe ...
in
Wenzhou Wenzhou (pronounced ; Wenzhounese: Yuziou y33–11 tɕiɤu33–32 ), Chinese postal romanization, historically known as Wenchow is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Zhejiang province of China, province in the China, People's Republic ...
ca. 1645–46), others endured imprisonment and privations, as did Lodovico Buglio and
Gabriel de Magalhães Gabriel de Magalhães (; 1610 – 6 May 1677), or gallicized as Gabriel Magaillans, was an early Portuguese Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Ca ...
in
Sichuan Sichuan (; zh, c=, labels=no, ; zh, p=Sìchuān; Postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan; formerly also referred to as "West China" or "Western China" by Protestantism in Sichuan, Protestant missions) is a Prov ...
in 1647–48 (see
Catholic Church in Sichuan The presence of the Catholic Church in the Chinese province of Sichuan (formerly romanized as Szechwan or Szechuan in English; and Sutchuen, Setchuen, Sétchouan in French; la, Ecclesia Catholica in Seciuen) dates back to 1640, when two mission ...
), or Alvaro Semedo in
Canton Canton may refer to: Administrative division terminology * Canton (administrative division) A canton is a type of administrative division of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared w ...
in 1649. Later,
Johann Grueber Johann Grueber (28 October 1623, Linz – 30 September 1680, Sárospatak, Hungary) was an Austrian Jesuit missionary and astronomer in China, and noted explorer. Life He joined the Society of Jesus in 1641 and went to China in 1656, where he was ...
was in Beijing between 1656 and 1661. During the several years of war between the Qing and the
Southern Ming The Southern Ming (), also known as the Later Ming (), officially the Great Ming (), was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and a series of rump states of the Ming dynasty that came into existence following the Jiashen ...
dynasties, it was not uncommon for some Jesuits to find themselves on different sides of the front lines: while Adam Schall was an important counselor of the Qing
Shunzhi Emperor The Shunzhi Emperor (15 March 1638 – 5 February 1661) was the second emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial re ...
in Beijing,
Michał Boym Michał Piotr BoymHis first name is also often rendered as ''Michele'', ''Michel'', ''Miguel'', ''Michael Peter'' (;Transliterated also (using Wade-Giles) as ''Pu Che-yuen Mi-ko'' c. 1612 – 1659) was a Polish Jesuit missionary to China, scienti ...
travelled from the jungles of south-western China to Rome, carrying the plea of help from the court of the
Yongli Emperor The Yongli Emperor (; 1623–1662; reigned 18 November 1646 – 1 June 1662), personal name Zhu Youlang, was a royal member to the House of Zhu, imperial family of Ming dynasty, and the fourth and last commonly recognised Emperor of China, emper ...
of the Southern Ming, and returned with the Pope's response that promised prayer, after some military assistance from Macau. There were many Christians in the court of the
polygamist Crimes Polygamy (from Late Greek (') "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marriage, marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this polygyny. When a woman is ...
emperor.


French Jesuits

In 1685, the French king
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was List of French monarchs, King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the Li ...
sent a mission of five Jesuit "mathematicians" to China in an attempt to break the Portuguese predominance: Jean de Fontaney (1643–1710),
Joachim Bouvet Joachim Bouvet (, courtesy name: 明远) (July 18, 1656, in Le Mans – June 28, 1730, in Peking) was a French Jesuit China missions, Jesuit who worked in China, and the leading member of the Figurist movement. China Bouvet came to China in 1687, ...
(1656–1730), Jean-François Gerbillon (1654–1707), Louis Le Comte (1655–1728) and Claude de Visdelou (1656–1737). French Jesuits played a crucial role in disseminating accurate information about China in Europe. A part of the French Jesuit mission in China lingered on for several years after the
suppression of the Society of Jesus The suppression of the Jesuits was the removal of all members of the Society of Jesus from most of the countries of Western Europe and their colonies beginning in 1759, and the abolishment of the order by the Holy See in 1773. The Jesuits were ...
until it was taken over by a group of
Lazarists , logo = , image = Vincentians.png , abbreviation = CM , nickname = Vincentians, Paules, Lazarites, Lazarists, Lazarians , established = , founder = Vincent de Paul Vi ...
in 1785.


Travel of Chinese Christians to Europe

Prior to the Jesuits, there had already been Chinese pilgrims who had made the journey westward, with two notable examples being
Rabban bar Sauma Rabban Bar Ṣawma (Syriac language: , ; 1220January 1294), also known as Rabban Ṣawma or Rabban ÇaumaMantran, p. 298 (), was a Turkic Chinese (Uyghurs, Uyghur or possibly Ongud) monk turned diplomat of the "Nestorian" Church of the East in ...
and his younger companion who became Patriarch
Mar Yaballaha III Yahballaha III ( 1245–13 November 1317), known in earlier years as Rabban Marcos (or Markos) or Yahballaha V, was Patriarch of the East from 1281 to 1317. As patriarch, Yahballaha headed the Church of the East The Church of the ...
, in the 13th century. While not too many 17th-century Jesuits ever went back from China to Europe, it was not uncommon for those who did to be accompanied by young Chinese Christians. One of the earliest Chinese travelers to Europe was Andreas Zheng (郑安德勒; Wade-Giles: Cheng An-te-lo), who was sent to Rome by the
Yongli Yongli () (5 February 1647 – 1 June 1662) was the Chinese era name, era name of the Zhu Youlang, Yongli Emperor of the Southern Ming. Comparison table Other eras contemporaneous with Yongli * China ** ''Dingwu (era), Dingwu'' (定武, 1646 ...
court along with
Michał Boym Michał Piotr BoymHis first name is also often rendered as ''Michele'', ''Michel'', ''Miguel'', ''Michael Peter'' (;Transliterated also (using Wade-Giles) as ''Pu Che-yuen Mi-ko'' c. 1612 – 1659) was a Polish Jesuit missionary to China, scienti ...
in the late 1650s. Zheng and Boym stayed in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto Regions of Italy, region. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400  ...
and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
in 1652–55. Zheng worked with Boym on the transcription and translation of the
Xi'an Stele The Xi'an Stele or the Jingjiao Stele ( zh, c=景教碑, p= Jǐngjiào bēi), sometimes translated as the "Nestorian Stele," is a Tang Dynasty, Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents 150 years of early Christianity in China. It is a lime ...
, and returned to Asia with Boym, whom he buried when the Jesuit died near the Vietnam-China border. A few years later, another Chinese traveller who was called Matthaeus Sina in Latin (not positively identified, but possibly the person who traveled from China to Europe overland with
Johann Grueber Johann Grueber (28 October 1623, Linz – 30 September 1680, Sárospatak, Hungary) was an Austrian Jesuit missionary and astronomer in China, and noted explorer. Life He joined the Society of Jesus in 1641 and went to China in 1656, where he was ...
) also worked on the same Church of the East inscription. The result of their work was published by
Athanasius Kircher Athanasius Kircher (2 May 1602 – 27 November 1680) was a German Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 major works, most notably in the fields of comparative religion, geology, and medicine Medicine is the science an ...
in 1667 in the ''
China Illustrata ''China Illustrata'' is the 1667 published book written by the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) that compiles the 17th-century European knowledge on the Ming dynasty, Chinese Empire and its neighboring countries. The ori ...
'', and was the first significant Chinese text ever published in Europe.Mungello (1989), p. 167 Better known is the European trip of Shen Fo-tsung in 1684–1685, who was presented to king
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was List of French monarchs, King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the Li ...
on September 15, 1684, and also met with king James II, becoming the first recorded instance of a Chinese man visiting Britain.BBC
/ref> The king was so delighted by this visit that he had his portrait made hung in his own bedroom. Later, another Chinese Jesuit
Arcadio Huang Arcadio Huang (, born in Xinghua, modern Putian Putian or Putien (, Putian dialect: ''Pó-chéng''), also known as Puyang (莆阳) and Puxian (莆仙), historically known as Xinghua or Hing Hwa (), is a prefecture-level city A prefectu ...
would also visit France, and was an early pioneer in the teaching of the Chinese language in France, in 1715.


Scientific exchange


Telling China about Europe

The Jesuits introduced to China Western science and mathematics which was undergoing its own revolution. "Jesuits were accepted in late Ming court circles as foreign literati, regarded as impressive especially for their knowledge of astronomy, calendar-making, mathematics, hydraulics, and geography." In 1627, the Jesuit
Johann Schreck Johann(es) Schreck, also Terrenz or Terrentius Constantiensis, Deng Yuhan Hanpo 鄧玉函, Deng Zhen Lohan, (1576, Bingen, Baden-Württemberg or Constance – 11 May 1630, Beijing } Beijing ( ; ; ), alternatively romanized as Peking ...
produced the first book to present Western mechanical knowledge to a Chinese audience, '' Diagrams and explanations of the wonderful machines of the Far West''. This influence worked in both directions: Jan Mikołaj Smogulecki (1610–1656) is credited with introducing logarithms to China, while Sabatino de Ursis (1575–1620) worked with
Matteo Ricci Matteo Ricci, SJ (; la, Mattheus Riccius; 6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), was an Italians, Italian Society of Jesus, Jesuit Priesthood in the Catholic Church, priest and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. He create ...
on the Chinese translation of
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Wikt:Εὐκλείδης, Εὐκλείδης; BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician active as a geometer and logician. Considered the "father of geometry", he is chiefly known for the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements'' trea ...
's '' Elements'', published books in Chinese on Western hydraulics, and by predicting an eclipse which Chinese astronomers had not anticipated, opened the door to the reworking of the
Chinese calendar The traditional Chinese calendar (also known as the Agricultural Calendar 曆; 农历; ''Nónglì''; 'farming calendar' Former Calendar 曆; 旧历; ''Jiùlì'' Traditional Calendar 曆; 老历; ''Lǎolì'', is a lunisolar calendar ...
using Western calculation techniques. This influence spread to
Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) comprising its northern half and Sout ...
as well, with João Rodrigues providing the Korean mandarin Jeong Duwon astronomical, mathematical, and religious works in the early 1630s which he carried back to
Seoul Seoul (; ; ), officially known as the Seoul Special City, is the Capital city, capital and largest metropolis of South Korea.Before 1972, Seoul was the ''de jure'' capital of the North Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea ...
from Dengzhou and
Beijing } Beijing ( ; ; ), alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the center of power and development of the country. Beijing is the world's most populous national capital city, with over 21 ...
, prompting local controversy and discussion decades before the first foreign scholars were permitted to enter the country. Like the Chinese, the Koreans were most interested in practical technology with martial applications (such as Rodrigues's
telescope A telescope is a device used to observe distant objects by their emission, Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption, or Reflection (physics), reflection of electromagnetic radiation. Originally meaning only an optical instrument usin ...
) and the possibility of improving the
calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months and years. A date is the designation of a single and specific day within such a system. A calendar is also a ph ...
with its associated religious festivals. Johann Adam Schall (1591–1666), a German Jesuit missionary to China, organized successful missionary work and became the trusted counselor of the
Shunzhi Emperor The Shunzhi Emperor (15 March 1638 – 5 February 1661) was the second emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial re ...
of the
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty ( ), officially the Great Qing,, was a Manchu people, Manchu-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the Later Jin (1616–1636), La ...
. He was created a mandarin and held an important post in connection with the mathematical school, contributing to astronomical studies and the development of the Chinese calendar. Thanks to Schall, the motions of both the sun and moon began to be calculated with sinusoids in the 1645 Shíxiàn calendar (時憲書, Book of the Conformity of Time). His position enabled him to procure from the emperor permission for the Jesuits to build churches and to preach throughout the country. The Shunzhi Emperor, however, died in 1661, and Schall's circumstances at once changed. He was imprisoned and condemned to
slow slicing ''Lingchi'' (; ), translated variously as the slow process, the lingering death, or slow slicing, and also known as death by a thousand cuts, was a form of torture and execution used in China from roughly 900 CE up until the practice ended ar ...
death. After an earthquake and the dowager's objection the sentence was not carried out, but he died after his release owing to the privations he had endured. A collection of his manuscripts remains and was deposited in the
Vatican Library The Vatican Apostolic Library ( la, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, it, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Formally es ...
. After he and
Ferdinand Verbiest Father Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) was a Flemish people, Flemish Jesuit missionary in China during the Qing dynasty. He was born in Pittem near Tielt in the County of Flanders (now part of Belgium). He is known as Nan H ...
won the tests against Chinese and Islamic calendar scholars, the court adapted the western calendar only. The Jesuits also endeavoured to build churches and demonstrate Western architectural styles. In 1605, they established the Nantang (Southern) Church and in 1655 the Dongtang (Eastern) Church. In 1703 they established the Beitang (Northern) Church near
Zhongnanhai Zhongnanhai () is a former imperial garden in the Imperial City, Beijing, Imperial City, Beijing, adjacent to the Forbidden City; it serves as the central headquarters for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the State Council of the People' ...
(opposite the former Beijing Library), on land given to the Jesuits by the
Kangxi Emperor The Kangxi Emperor (4 May 1654– 20 December 1722), also known by his temple name Emperor Shengzu of Qing, born Xuanye, was the third emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, I ...
of the
Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty ( ), officially the Great Qing,, was a Manchu people, Manchu-led Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China and the last orthodox dynasty in Chinese history. It emerged from the Later Jin (1616–1636), La ...
in 1694, following his recovery from illness thanks to medical expertise of Fathers Jean-François Gerbillon and
Joachim Bouvet Joachim Bouvet (, courtesy name: 明远) (July 18, 1656, in Le Mans – June 28, 1730, in Peking) was a French Jesuit China missions, Jesuit who worked in China, and the leading member of the Figurist movement. China Bouvet came to China in 1687, ...
.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
spoken by the Jesuits was used to mediate between the Qing and Russia. A Latin copy of the
Treaty of Nerchinsk The Treaty of Nerchinsk () of 1689 was the first treaty between the Tsardom of Russia and the Qing dynasty of China. The Russians gave up the area north of the Amur River as far as the Stanovoy Range and kept the area between the Argun River ( ...
was written by Jesuits. Latin was one of the things which were taught by the Jesuits. A school was established by them for this purpose. A diplomatic delegation found a local who composed a letter in fluent Latin.


Telling Europe about China

The Jesuits were also very active in transmitting Chinese knowledge to Europe, such as translating
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Co ...
's works into European languages. Several historians have highlighted the impact that Jesuit accounts of Chinese knowledge had on European scholarly debates in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Ricci in his ''
De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas ''De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu ... '' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken ...
'' had already started to report on the thoughts of Confucius; he (and, earlier,
Michele Ruggieri Michele or Michael Ruggieri (1543– 11 May 1607), born Pompilio Ruggieri and known in China as Luo Mingjian, was an Italian people, Italian Jesuit Catholic priest, priest and Catholic missionary, missionary. A founding father of the Jesuit China ...
) made attempts at translating the
Four Books The Four Books and Five Classics () are the authoritative books of Confucianism, written in Zhou dynasty, China before 300 BCE. The Four Books and the Five Classics are the most important classics of Chinese Confucianism. Four Books The Four ...
, the standard introduction into the Confucian canon. The work on the Confucian classics by several generations of Jesuits culminated with Fathers
Philippe Couplet Philippe or Philip Couplet (1623–1693), known in China as Bai Yingli, was a Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian dialect cluster of the Dutch language. It is sometimes referred to as Flemish Dutch (), Belgian Dutch ( ), or Sou ...
,
Prospero Intorcetta Prospero Intorcetta (1626–1696), known to the Chinese as Yin Duoze, was an Italian people, Italian Jesuit Jesuit China missions, missionary to the Qing Empire. The first to translate the works of Confucius in Europe. Life Prospero Intorcetta w ...
,
Christian Herdtrich Christian Wolfgang Herdtrich (25 June 1625– 18 July 1684) was an Austrian Jesuit The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviation: SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of c ...
, and François de Rougemont publishing ''Confucius Sinarum Philosophus'' ("Confucius, the Philosopher of the Chinese") in Paris in 1687. The book contained an annotated
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
translation of three of the
Four Books The Four Books and Five Classics () are the authoritative books of Confucianism, written in Zhou dynasty, China before 300 BCE. The Four Books and the Five Classics are the most important classics of Chinese Confucianism. Four Books The Four ...
and a biography of Confucius. It is thought that such works had considerable importance on European thinkers of the period, particularly those who were interested in the integration of the Confucian system of morality into
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
. Since the mid-17th century, detailed Jesuit accounts of the
Eight trigrams The bagua or pakua (八卦) are a set of eight symbols that originated in China, used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each lin ...
and the Yin/Yang principles appeared in Europe, quickly drawing the attention of European philosophers such as
Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz . ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath active as a mathematician, philosopher, scientist and diplomat. He is one of the most prominent figures in both the history of philosophy and the history of mathema ...
. Chinese linguistics, sciences, and technologies were also reported to the West by Jesuits. Polish Michal Boym authored the first published Chinese dictionaries for European languages, both of which were published posthumously: the first, a Chinese–Latin dictionary, was published in 1667, and the second, a Chinese–French dictionary, was published in 1670. The Portuguese Jesuit João Rodrigues, previously the personal translator of the Japanese leaders
Hideyoshi Toyotomi , otherwise known as and , was a Japanese samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of History of Japan#Medieval Japan (1185–1573/1600), medieval and Edo period, early-modern Japan from the late 12th century un ...
and
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun'' of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled Japan from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. He was one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan, along with his former lord Oda ...
, published a terser and clearer edition of his
Japanese grammar Japanese language, Japanese is an Agglutinative language, agglutinative, Synthetic language, synthetic, Mora (linguistics)#Japanese, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a Monophthong, pure vowel system, phonemic Vowel length#Phonemic v ...
from Macao in 1620. The French Jesuit Joseph-Marie Amiot wrote a
Manchu The Manchus (; ) are a Tungusic East Asian ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other g ...
dictionary ''Dictionnaire tatare-mantchou-français'' (Paris, 1789), a work of great value, the language having been previously quite unknown in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
. He also wrote a 15-volume ''Memoirs regarding the history, sciences, and art of the Chinese'', published in Paris in 1776–1791 (''Mémoires concernant l'histoire, les sciences et les arts des Chinois'', 15 volumes, Paris, 1776–1791). His ''Vie de
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Co ...
'', the twelfth volume of that collection, was more complete and accurate than any predecessors.
Rodrigues Rodrigues (french: Île Rodrigues, link=yes ; Mauritian Creole, Creole: ) is a Autonomous administrative division, autonomous Outer islands of Mauritius, outer island of the Republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, about east of Mauritius. ...
and other Jesuits also began compiling geographical information about the Chinese Empire. In the early years of the 18th century, Jesuit cartographers travelled throughout the country, performing astronomical observations to verify or determine the latitude and longitude relative to Beijing of various locations, then drew maps based on their findings. Their work was summarized in a four-volume ''Description géographique, historique, chronologique, politique et physique de l'empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise'' published by
Jean-Baptiste Du Halde Jean-Baptiste Du Halde (; 1 February 1674 – 18 August 1743) was a French Jesuit historian specializing in China. He did not travel to China, but collected seventeen Jesuit missionaries' reports and provided an encyclopedic survey of the histo ...
in Paris in 1735, and on a map compiled by
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (; born in Paris 11 July 169728 January 1782) was a French geographer and Cartography, cartographer who greatly improved the standards of map-making. D'Anville became cartographer to the king, who purchased his ...
(published 1734). There are numerous later editions as well, in French and English To disseminate information about devotional, educational and scientific subjects, several missions in China established printing presses: for example, the Imprimerie de la Mission Catholique (Sienhsien), established in 1874.


Chinese Rites controversy

In the early 18th century, a dispute within the Catholic Church arose over whether Chinese folk religion rituals and offerings to the emperor constituted
paganism Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity, early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions ot ...
or
idolatry Idolatry is the worship of a cult image or "idol" as though it were God. In Abrahamic religions (namely Judaism, Samaritanism, Christianity, the Baháʼí Faith, and Islam) idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other than the Go ...
. This tension led to what became known as the "Rites Controversy," a bitter struggle that broke out after Ricci's death and lasted for over a hundred years. At first the focal point of dissension was the Jesuit Ricci's contention that the ceremonial rites of
Confucianism Confucianism, also known as Ruism or Ru classicism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a Religious Confucianism, religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, ...
and
ancestor veneration The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a afterlife, continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fo ...
were primarily social and political in nature and could be practiced by converts. The Dominicans, however, charged that the practices were idolatrous, meaning that all acts of respect to the sage and one's ancestors were nothing less than the worship of demons. A Dominican carried the case to Rome where it dragged on and on, largely because no one in the Vatican knew Chinese culture sufficiently to provide the pope with a ruling. Naturally, the Jesuits appealed to the Chinese emperor, who endorsed Ricci's position. Understandably, the emperor was confused as to why missionaries were attacking missionaries in his capital and asking him to choose one side over the other, when he might very well have simply ordered the expulsion of all of them. The timely discovery of the
Xi'an Stele The Xi'an Stele or the Jingjiao Stele ( zh, c=景教碑, p= Jǐngjiào bēi), sometimes translated as the "Nestorian Stele," is a Tang Dynasty, Tang Chinese stele erected in 781 that documents 150 years of early Christianity in China. It is a lime ...
in 1623 enabled the Jesuits to strengthen their position with the court by answering an objection the Chinese often expressed – that Christianity was a new religion. The Jesuits could now point to concrete evidence that a thousand years earlier the Christian gospel had been proclaimed in China; it was not a new but an old faith. The emperor then decided to expel all missionaries who failed to support Ricci's position. The Spanish
Franciscans , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 200px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
, however, did not retreat without further struggle. Eventually they persuaded
Pope Clement XI Pope Clement XI ( la, Clemens XI; it, Clemente XI; 23 July 1649 – 19 March 1721), born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 November 1700 to his death in March 1721. Clement XI w ...
that the Jesuits were making dangerous accommodations to Chinese sensibilities. In 1704 Rome decided against the ancient use of the words ''Shang Di'' (supreme emperor) and ''Tian'' (heaven) for God. Again, the Jesuits appealed this decision. Among the last Jesuits to work at the Chinese court were Louis Antoine de Poirot (1735–1813) and Giuseppe Panzi (1734-before 1812) who worked for the
Qianlong Emperor The Qianlong Emperor (25 September 17117 February 1799), also known by his Temple name, temple name Emperor Gaozong of Qing, born Hongli, was the fifth List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing empe ...
as painters and translators.Batalden, p.151
/ref> From the 19th century, the role of the Jesuits in China was largely taken over by the
Paris Foreign Missions Society The Society of Foreign Missions of Paris (french: Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris, short M.E.P.) is a Roman Catholic missionary order, missionary organization. It is not a religious institute, but an organization of secular clergy, s ...
.


See also

*
Protestant missions in China In the early 19th century, Western colonial expansion occurred at the same time as an evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominati ...
*
Ruins of Saint Paul's The Ruins of Saint Paul's (; pt, Ruínas de São Paulo) are the ruins of a 17th-century Catholic religious complex in Santo António, Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's R ...
, Macau * Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Hangzhou) * '' China and the Christian Impact'', translation of
Jacques Gernet Jacques Gernet (; ; 22 December 1921, Algiers Algiers ( ; ar, الجزائر, al-Jazāʾir; ber, Dzayer, script=Latn; french: Alger, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Algeria. The city's population at the 2008 Census was 2 ...
's ''Chine et christianisme'' of 1982 * Cornelius Wessels * Figurism * China–France relations *
History of the Jews in China Jews and Judaism in China are predominantly composed of Sephardi Jews Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye' ...
* List of Catholic missionaries to China *
Medical missions in China Medical missions in China by Protestant and Catholic physicians and surgeons of the 19th and early 20th centuries laid many foundations for modern medicine in China. Western medical Mission (Christian), missionaries established the first modern cli ...
*
Catholic Church in China The Catholic Church in China (called Tiānzhǔ Jiào, 天主敎, literally "Religion of the Lord of Heaven" after the Chinese term for the Christian God) has a long and complicated history. John of Montecorvino John of Montecorvino or ...
* List of Protestant theological seminaries in China *
Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism The Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism (聖教三柱石, literally the "Holy Religion's Three Pillar-Stones") refer to three Chinese converts to Christianity, during the 16th and 17th century Jesuit China missions The history of the missions of ...


References


Citations


Bibliography

* Batalden, Stephen K., Kathleen Cann, John Dean. (2004) ''Sowing the word: the cultural impact of the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1804–2004''. Sheffield Phoenix Press. . * Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. (1996). ''The Cambridge Illustrated History of China''. Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. . * * * (Detailed account of the early years of the mission). * Swerts, Lorry, Mon Van Genechten, Koen De Ridder. (2002). ''Mon Van Genechten (1903–1974): Flemish Missionary and Chinese Painter : Inculturation of Chinese Christian Art''. Leuven University Press. . * Udías, Agustín. (2003). ''Searching the Heavens and the Earth: The History of Jesuit Observatories''. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. * Wigal, Donald. (2000). ''Historic Maritime Maps''. New York: Parkstone Press. . * Woods, Thomas, (2005). ''How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization''. Washington, DC: Regenery. . {{DEFAULTSORT:Jesuit China Missions Catholic Church in China 16th century in China 17th century in China