In 1927, the Jesuit-run Bureau of Sinology was founded in Shanghai to assist missionaries in their apostolic work via education and publications. The bureau’s establishment was part of a longstanding effort to resume the Jesuit tradition of developing intellectual apostolate and pursuing Sinological studies. However, the bureau was soon beset by internal crises that limited its functionality. The bureau also competed with the Synodal Commission, which Celso Costantini (1876–1958), the first apostolic delegate to China, had established in the same year and with a similar objective. The ecclesiastical hierarchy and overlapping purposes of the two institutes disadvantaged the bureau in its early development and escalated tensions between the Jesuits in China and the delegate. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.
When the Jesuits returned to China in the nineteenth century, the mission and surrounding community at Xujiahui (Zikawei), near Shanghai, was an important intellectual and administrative center. Among the foreign Jesuits present at Xujiahui, a fixture for many years, was the Italian Angelo Zottoli, an educator, administrator, and translator for the mission. From his arrival in Shanghai in 1848 until he died in 1902, Zottoli was an essential figure in the cross-cultural dialogue between Chinese Catholics and foreign missionaries. Though far from a firebrand, Zottoli greatly admired Chinese culture and generally took an “accommodationist” approach, which clashed with the attitudes of other Jesuits in Shanghai. At the same time, he supported papal pronouncements on Chinese Rites, which provided strict limits to accommodation. Overall, then, he represents the difficulties Jesuits faced in reconciling the history of the church in China and their own attitudes (such as Eurocentricity) with Chinese culture. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.
When the Jesuits returned to China during and soon after the Opium War (1839–42), one of their first tasks was to establish a novitiate in Shanghai and begin preparing Chinese novices for formation in the Society. This essay focuses on the role of these Chinese Jesuits and their associates, in particular Huang Bolu (黃伯祿, also known as Pierre, Petrus, or Peter Hoang), who wrote several influential texts on scientific, legal, economic, and political topics in both Chinese and French. Although deeply committed to the church, Huang also tried in subtle ways to reform or redirect certain practices of the Jesuits in China, in particular, the reliance on the French Religious Protectorate. In doing so, he drew together the worlds of global Catholicism and late imperial Chinese literati. The works and experiences of Huang, Chinese Jesuits, and other Chinese Catholics within the orbit of the Jesuits allow us to hear the voice of indigenous Catholicism while also demonstrating the complicated interaction between spirituality, identity, empire, nationality, and the supranational church. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.
The Jesuit Adolphe Vasseur created more than 160 woodblock prints at the orphanage of T’ou-se-we in Shanghai, China, combining Western images of biblical stories with traditional Chinese styles and symbols, aiming to help familiarize the Chinese people with Christian concepts. Vasseur’s images were adopted and transformed through lithographic publications and woodblock prints by the Paris Foreign Missions (mep) in Japan from the 1860s to the 1870s under Fr. Marc Marie de Rotz (1840–1914). Focusing on ten woodblock prints, often referred to as the “De Rotz Prints,” which were made based on Vasseur’s images and altered by adding Japanese symbols, this paper will show how Vasseur’s images were modified from a Chinese to Japanese context, primarily by adapting to the situation of Japanese Christians, who were emerging from more than two centuries of persecution and underground worship. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.
In 1900, as the Boxer Uprising raged in China, two Chinese translations of the work Histoire de l’Eglise de Corée (Gaoli zhiming shilüe and Gaoli zhuzheng) were published to encourage Chinese Catholics, given the difficult history of persecutions faced by Korean Catholics. A close examination of these translations, along with the translator of Gaoli zhiming shilüe’s earlier work on the history of Korean martyrs, reveals that they relied on different Korean source texts and even embellished the original narrative in places. These modifications, in turn, demonstrate the complex chain of translation and information within East Asian missions, working between several languages and incorporating a variety of sources for information. In particular, a study of these texts highlights connections between the Catholic mission in Shanghai and Korea throughout a period when both faced intense opposition and the latter outright suppression. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.
A critical study of the history of the use of language reveals that ideology, religion, and language have usually been intimately linked; this also applies to the topic of “mutual encounters and linguistic exchanges” between China and the West. At the same time, we can affirm that each Chinese encounter with the West represented an encounter with Christians and Christianity. Within this context, this article examines how Jesuit Louis Antoine de Poirot (He Qingtai 賀清泰, 1735–1814), who worked for Emperor Qianlong, composed Guxin shengjing 古新聖經 (Old and New Testament), a translation of the Bible in both vernacular Chinese and Manchu, in the second half of the eighteenth century. Specifically, it focuses on how de Poirot used rhetoric in shaping the language the Jesuits adopted for translating the Bible, as well as for addressing readers in Qing China. This article is part of the special issue of the Journal of Jesuit Studies, “Jesuits in Modern Far East,” guest edited by Steven Pieragastini.