Telling Missionary Lives

in Sojourners in a Strange Land

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226355597
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226355610 | DOI:
Telling Missionary Lives

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Nicolas Trigault's reworking of Matteo Ricci's journal was a spectacular success. A hefty tome of nearly 700 quarto pages in its original 1615 edition, De Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu reappeared in Latin, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and was even substantially excerpted in English—all within the space of a decade. The most telling indication of the work's influence, however, came in the form of the mission histories that followed in its wake. Produced and consumed in an era of intense saint-making activity within the Society of Jesus, the first history of the Jesuit mission to China provided ample precedent for a generic shift in Jesuits' writing concerning the Society's presence in the Middle Kingdom. Works written in its shadow continued the hagiographical saga of Jesuit masters of mixed mathematics as instruments of providential action. This chapter looks at other histories of the China mission penned respectively by Johann Adam Schall von Bell and Ferdinand Verbiest.

Keywords: Nicolas Trigault; Matteo Ricci; Jesuits; Society of Jesus; mission histories; Jesuit mission; China; mixed mathematics; Johann Adam Schall von Bell; Ferdinand Verbiest

Chapter.  7158 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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