A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci 1552-1610

Paperback | April 11, 2012

byR. Po-chia Hsia

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A 16th century Italian Jesuit, Matteo Ricci was the founder of the Catholic Mission in China and one of the most famous missionaries of all time. A pioneer in bringing Christianity to China, Ricci spent twenty eight years in the country, in which time he crossed the cultural divides betweenChina and the West by immersing himself in the language and culture of his hosts. Even 400 years later, he is still one of the best known westerners in China, celebrated for introducing western scientific and religious ideas to China and for explaining Chinese culture to Europe. The first critical biography of Ricci to use all relevant sources, both Chinese and Western, A Jesuit in the Forbidden City tells the story of a remarkable life that bridged Counter-Reformation Catholic Europe and China under the Ming dynasty. Hsia follows the life of Ricci from his childhood inMacerata, through his education in Rome, to his sojourn in Portuguese India, before the start of his long journey of self-discovery and cultural encounter in the Ming realm. Along the way, we glimpse the workings of the Portuguese maritime empire in Asia, the mission of the Society of Jesus, andlife in the European enclave of Macau on the Chinese coast, as well as invaluable sketches of Ricci's fellow Jesuits and portraits of the Chinese mandarins who formed networks indispensible for Ricci's success. Examining a range of new sources, Hsia offers important new insights into Ricci's long period of trial and frustration in Guangdong province, where he first appeared in the persona of a foreign Buddhist monk, before the crucial move to Nanchang in 1595 that led to his sustained intellectualconversation with a leading Confucian scholar and subsequent synthesis of Christianity and Confucianism in propagating the Gospels in China. With his expertise in cartography, mathematics, and astronomy, Ricci quickly won recognition, especially after he had settled in Nanjing in 1598, the southerncapital of the Ming dynasty. As his reputation and friendships grew, Ricci launched into a sharp polemic against Buddhism, while his career found its crowning achievement in the imperial capital of Beijing, leaving behind a life, work, and legacy that is still very much alive today.

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A 16th century Italian Jesuit, Matteo Ricci was the founder of the Catholic Mission in China and one of the most famous missionaries of all time. A pioneer in bringing Christianity to China, Ricci spent twenty eight years in the country, in which time he crossed the cultural divides betweenChina and the West by immersing himself in the...

A native of Hong Kong, R. Po-chia Hsia was educated in his home town, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. He is a specialist on early modern Europe and on the social and cultural exchanges between China and the West. Author and editor of a dozen books, with translations into Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Ger...

other books by R. Po-chia Hsia

Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pagesPublished:April 11, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199656533

ISBN - 13:9780199656530

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Table of Contents

Prologue1. Macerata and Rome2. Portuguese Seas3. Macau4. Zhaoqing5. Ruggieri6. Shaozhou7. Nanchang8. Nanjing9. Beijing10. True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven11. Laying the Foundations12. The Man of ParadoxEpilogueAppendix: Magistrate's Verdict in adultery accusation against Michele RuggieriNotesChinese GlossaryBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Hsia enables us to see the Jesuit's achievement in a much fuller and richer context than hitherto... he deserves our considerable gratitude for leaving us with such a vivid and affecting, yet critically acute, portrait." --Simon Ditchfield, University of York