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Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579–1724 [Paperback]

By Liam Matthew Brockey (Author)
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Item description for Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579–1724 by Liam Matthew Brockey...

It was one of the great encounters of world history: highly educated European priests confronting Chinese culture for the first time in the modern era. This "journey to the East" is explored by Liam Brockey as he retraces the path of the Jesuit missionaries who sailed from Portugal to China, believing that, with little more than firm conviction and divine assistance, they could convert the Chinese to Christianity. Moving beyond the image of Jesuits as cultural emissaries, his book shows how these priests, in the first concerted European effort to engage with Chinese language and thought, translated Roman Catholicism into the Chinese cultural frame and eventually claimed two hundred thousand converts.

The first narrative history of the Jesuits' mission from 1579 until the proscription of Christianity in China in 1724, this study is also the first to use extensive documentation of the enterprise found in Lisbon and Rome. The peril of travel in the premodern world, the danger of entering a foreign land alone and unarmed, and the challenge of understanding a radically different culture result in episodes of high drama set against such backdrops as the imperial court of Peking, the villages of Shanxi Province, and the bustling cities of the Yangzi Delta region. Further scenes show how the Jesuits claimed conversions and molded their Christian communities into outposts of Baroque Catholicism in the vastness of China. In the retelling, this story reaches across continents and centuries to reveal the deep political, cultural, scientific, linguistic, and religious complexities of a true early engagement between East and West.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579--1724 by Liam Matthew Brockey has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Commonweal - 07/18/2008 page 25

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Pages   512
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6" Height: 1.4"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2008
Publisher   Belknap Press
ISBN  0674030362  
ISBN13  9780674030367  

Availability  0 units.

More About Liam Matthew Brockey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Liam Matthew Brockey is Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University.

Liam Matthew Brockey has an academic affiliation as follows - Michigan State University.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Asia
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
3Books > Subjects > History > Asia > China > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Church History
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work

Reviews - What do customers think about Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579–1724?

Extremely well written history of an important period of Christian history  Mar 6, 2007
Brockey does an very good job of mining important sources - the Portugese Jesuit archives, as well as the Jesuit archives in Rome - to bring forth a comprehensive overview of the evangelizing of the Middle Kingdom in the 17th century.

Not only does Brockey show erudition and scholarly handling of his subject, he has also written a work that is very accessible to the inquisitive lay reader.

Readers can easily use this book as an excellent springboard into other scholarly works on Chinese Christianity during the period. It would be interesting to see how the well documented sense of communal action, termed "hui", that Brockey describes in his book could or could not be traced through subsequent Chinese history and may have been co-opted by the Communists in the final overthrow of the Chinese monarchy.

The author has made history real through detailed examples of the how the Jesuits traveled, lived, learned Chinese, converted literti and peasants to Christianity, and eventually died on foreign shores far from the college halls of Evora, Portugal. Brockey has given academia a unique window into the lives of the men who made the mission to China a success for Rome - even if for only a short time.

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