The ‘King's Mathematicians’: a French Jesuit mission in China

Catherine Jami

in The Emperor's New Mathematics

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199601400
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729218 | DOI:
The ‘King's Mathematicians’: a French Jesuit mission in China

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In 1685, six French Jesuits sent by King Louis XIV as ‘his mathematicians’ set out for China. This chapter discusses their enterprise, which was both a scientific expedition and an evangelization mission. Five of them reached Beijing in 1688, bringing with them a scientific culture closer to that of the Paris Académie royale des sciences than to the tradition of Jesuit colleges, on which their China confreres had previously relied. Two of the Frenchmen entered the emperor's service in the Inner Court.

Keywords: Jesuits; King Louis XIV; mathematics; Académie royale des sciences; scientific expedition; evangelization

Chapter.  7703 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Mathematics

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