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"Ad Maiorem Dei (Et Fransia) Gloria". The Lasting Impact of French Missionaries in China

Forschungsarbeit 2017 122 Seiten

Geschichte - Asien


Thesis Proposal

As early as the mid-17th century, Protestant and Catholic/Jesuit missionaries negotiated their way into the secluded empire of China. These first missionaries were largely Portuguese and predominantly Roman Catholic. During this age, many European Empires were beginning to transition from colonial expansion via conversion and missionary work to a more commercial approach.

France, in particular, was specifically interested in setting up colonial holdings and control in the region via the influence of the church (both Catholic and Protestant). They began to spread their authority by the late 17th century, eventually setting up offices and dioceses in Canton (Guangzhou/Kouang-Tchéou) and Guangzhouwan/Kouang- Tchéou-Wan, in addition to Shanghai, Tianjin, and Hankou (Hankow/Hangkow, part of modern-day Wuhan), as well as spheres of influence in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, and Hainan.1

Between 1552 and 1800, some 130 French Jesuits sought their calling in China,2 and were later joined by a plethora of protestant missionaries. At this point, France’s control and influence in the region was at its embryonic stages, but from then until the Rise of the Republic of China in 1912, these missionaries would be crucial in shaping Sino-French relations, as well as China itself.

It is proposed that the contemporary and lasting impact of the French missionaries in China be studied and analyzed. It may also be appropriate to compare and contrast the different methods used by France’s Catholic and Protestant missionaries, the scope in which they were used, and how they influenced society. This research will be done so that the audience can better understand how missionary work in China affected FrancoChinese relations, the growth of the French Empire, and China’s future.

This study will be conducted using a variety of methods, such as on-site studies, museum visits, and at-home research. It will also use a large array of academic and journalistic sources. Secondary sources contributing to this study will include Jon Thares Davidann and Marc Jason Gilbert’s Cross-Cultural Encounters In Modern World History, Tom Standage’s A History of the World in 6 Glasses, and The Catholic Church: A Short History by Hans Küng. Some of the primary sources that will be used to supplement the research will include Fernão Mendes Pinto’s own The Voyages and Adventures of Fernand Mendez Pinto, and the 1898 “Treaty of Kwangchow Wan.” This first source, although potentially biased and embellished, should provide some insight into the Chinese opinion of foreigners during the earliest days Europe’s attempt to build their empires into the East. The aforementioned treaty is quite crucial in providing information on the emphasis that France put on their own missionary efforts in their attempt to establish territories in China.

This thesis proposes to answer the following questions: Why and how was French missionary work so important to international relations between France and China? In what ways did this missionary work alter Chinese society? Did the French missionaries pave the way for China’s future as a republic, and if so—how? What were the differences between France’s Catholic missionaries and France’s Protestant missionaries in China? Additionally, how might this missionary work compare to other notable examples, such as Spain’s missionary work in South and Central America? It is hoped that this thesis will be able to answer these questions, as well as any others that reveal themselves over the course of study.

Contextual Essay

The Society of Jesus (called Societas Iesu in Latin)— more commonly known as the society of the Jesuits— is a religious order focused on spreading education, scholarship, and cross-cultural communication through conversion and the founding of schools, shelters, hospitals, and seminaries. Their society is also dedicated to promoting social justice, proselytization, and “ecumenical dialogue.”3 Their motto “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam” (meaning “For the Greater Glory of God” in Latin) plainly spells out their purpose and ultimate goal.

The Jesuits’ order was founded by Ignatius of Loyola (with aid from Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, and several others) on 27 September, 1540 in Paris.4 It was later backed and supported by Rome, and established its headquarters at the Church of the Gesù (also in Rome).5 The idea for this Catholic religious order came to Ignatius of Loyola (then a Spanish nobleman and soldier) after wounds that he sustained in battle caused him to have a religious epiphany.6 This epiphany would guide him to compose training and doctrine to help others follow the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. The founders would also declare devotional vows such as those of chastity and poverty, as well as subservience to the Pope. His plan for the structuring and teachings of the order were approved by Pope Paul III’s bull (edict) for the "Formula of the Institute.”7

Ignatius’ career as a soldier and warrior would integrate itself into the order’s founding document and operational intent. The first lines of (the second version of) Pope Paul III’s papal bull (and the Jesuits’ founding document) states:

Todo el que quiera militar para Dios bajo el estandarte de la cruz en nuestra Compa ñí a, que deseamos se distinga con el nombre de Jes ú s, y servir solamente al Se ñ or y a su Esposa la Iglesia bajo el Romano Pont í fice, Vicario de Cristo en la Tierra, persu á dase que, despu é s del voto solemne de perpetua castidad, pobreza y obediencia, es ya miembro de esta Compa ñí a, fundada principalmente para emplearse en la defensa y propagaci ó n de la fe y en el provecho de las almas en la vida y doctrina cristiana, sobre todo por medio de las p ú blicas predicaciones, lecciones y cualquier otro ministerio de la palabra de Dios, de los ejercicios espirituales, de la doctrina cristiana a los ni ñ os y gente ruda, y del consuelo espiritual de los fieles, oyendo sus confesiones y administr á ndoles los otros sacramentos. Y, con todo, se muestre disponible a la pacificaci ó n de los desavenidos, al socorro de los presos en las c á rceles y de los enfermos los hospitales y al ejercicio de las dem á s obras de misericordia, seg ú n pareciere conveniente para la gloria de Dios y el bien com ú n; haciendo todo esto gratuitamente, sin recibir estipendio ninguno por su trabajo …8

To translate, this means: “All who want (to serve with) the military for God under the banner of the cross in our Company, that we desire to be distinguished by the name of Jesus, and only serve the Lord and his Spouse the Church under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, induce yourself after the solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience, is already a member of this Company, founded primarily for use in the defense and propagation of the faith and the good of souls in Christian life and doctrine, especially through public preaching, lectures, and any other ministry of the word of God, spiritual exercises of Christian doctrine to children and rude people, and spiritual consolation of the faithful, hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments. And yet, it shows available to the pacification of the estranged, to the relief of prisoners in prisons, the infirm, the hospitals, and the exercise of other works of mercy, as seems appropriate for the glory of God and the good common; doing all this for free, without receiving any stipend for their work.” One can see in this first chapter of the second draft (which does not differ fundamentally from the original) that although the mission of the society is to offer charity work and administer sacraments for the glory of God and the common good, it is to do so as the soldiers of god. It was generally believed and accepted that some of the Jesuit Order’s work would take them to extreme conditions and possibly hostile environments all over the globe. Given the primary founder’s background as a soldier and noblemen, with a reported “love of martial exercises and a vainglorious desire for fame,” this would make a lot of sense.9 According to Richard Cohen’s By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions, Ignatius de Loyola even went so far as to challenge a Moor to a duel to the death when the Moor denied the divinity of Jesus. He reportedly did this multiple times until the events of 1521 made him more pious.1011

The Jesuit order has not only been active in promoting education and the teaching of Jesus, but it was also heavily involved in carrying out the will of the Catholic Church and its internal politics— also taking part in the Counter-Reformation to combat growing Protestantism, and establish the Second Vatican Council to improve relations between the old ways of the Church and the more-liberal modern world. With Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the order even saw one of its members become the first Jesuit pope, Pope Francis.

Part of the order’s early method of conversion centered on altering indigenous religious practices and beliefs to fit Christian doctrine. Various pagan festivals and rituals would continue to be celebrated but with their subjects switching to Jesus, God, or any of the many saints. Local traditions would continue with Christian themes, and cultures could adapt what distinguished and defined their religious interpretations. Instead of replacing the cultures’ old ways, they would simply merge and adapt them so that they worked with Christian beliefs and teachings. These methods were the same ones used in earlier conversion movements across Europe.12

In a letter from Pope Gregory I to Mellitus, the Pope argued that converting a populace to Christianity was easier if that populace was allowed to their traditions and continue their pagan practices under Christian themes. This type of cultural amalgamation is known as Interpretatio Christiana (Christian interpretation).13 According to the Dark Age English historian Bede (often called The Father of English History, the Venerable Bede, or Saint Bede the Venerable), in his work The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, this was done "to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God.”14 Many popular and common Christian traditions have been traced back through Interpretatio Christiana, so it is nothing new in the Church’s history. It is said that the first notable case of this goes back to the Council of Jerusalem, as stated in Acts 15:5-11 and Acts 15:20-21:

“ But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying,

That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they …

But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. ” 15

Essentially what this meant was that the covenant was not necessary for salvation and membership into the Church, as long as its members abstained from idol worship and kept faith in God and Jesus— which would also make sense considering how much more difficult it might be to convert entire populations under such regulations. From that point on, mass conversion movements swept across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle-East.

Before going into more detail about the history and ideological development of conversions over centuries, it may be necessary to shed some light on the actual process of conversions. Conversion refers essentially to three different events a non-Christian person becoming Christian, a Christian moving from one denomination to another, or a Christian becoming “born-again.” It is one of the oldest Christian missions with (according to Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15) Jesus commanding his disciples to:

“ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen …

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ” 1617

The process of conversion can differ by denomination, but all denominations require a baptism. Baptism can be thought of as a ritual symbol of change or washing away past sins or lifestyles. Many Christians believe that this process is essential for acceptance into Heaven. This was particularly true in the past, although many modern Christians believe that simply being a good person and accepting the teachings of Jesus that a person can enter Heaven. This was another ritual carried over from Jewish tradition.

For Catholic conversion, religious education is also required, as is the acceptance of several other sacraments; baptism, confession, penance, and communion. Baptism can be attained through submersion into water, being sprinkled with water, or having water poured over one’s head. Confession and penance involve admitting to one’s past sins in privacy and confidence to a priest, then following a process to make up for those sins. The process can involve the recital of prayers, charitable deeds, or one’s admission of guilt to authorities, depending on the severity of the sin (such as murder). Communion is taken weekly in Catholicism and monthly in other protestant Churches. It involves the breaking and eating of bread (which represents the body of Jesus) and the drinking of wine (which represents the blood of Jesus). This is done in remembrance of Jesus and also has origins in a pre-christian Judaeo-ceremony during Shabbat.

Ignatius and the Jesuits also believed that the conversion of an individual lay within the conversion of their heart. A method used by the order to help this process along is by offering what they call Ignatian Retreats, in which spiritual directors provide retreat-goers treatment, education, and living based on Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. These exercises consist of four weeks of silent prayer and meditation on the life of Jesus. During this period the individual would meet with a “spiritual director” to help them understand any epiphanies that they might have. This became one of the foundations of the order.18

The conversion process requires dedication and internalization of the Christian belief system, the embracement of God and Jesus, and the rejection of sin— it is a spiritual rebirth. For it to be considered “true” and sincere the converted must do so willingly, it is considered deeply personal for the individual involved. This later belief of deeply personal conversion often took a backseat during the periods of aggressive conversion.

What the Vatican (via the Catholic Catechism) has to say about conversion is:

“ Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: ‘ The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. ’ In the Church's preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life … Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘ sackcloth and ashes, ’ fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance … Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart). ” 19

Even before the Council of Nicaea, the rulers of Armenia and Ethiopia converted to Christianity, thus converting their entire kingdoms. Up until the last several centuries, whatever religion the king/ruler of a county held was the official religion of the land. In more modern times it typically follows that the kingdom’s religion determines that of the monarch, while in modern republics the national leaders’ religion need not coincide with that majority/national religion of their country.

The next major mass conversion that we see is with Christianity becoming the religion of the Roman Empire. This conversion was more sporadic, with major urban centers first accepting the new faith— first with Jewish inhabitants, then with the Greco- Roman and Celtic populace. Rural conversion happened at a slower rate.20 During this period, there was also a widespread persecution of Christians in the empire. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine in the 312 AD, Christianity in a sense became a state religion, ending the persecution of Jesus’ followers and allowing for religious tolerance. Around this time, the pagan religious temples began to shut down, and sacrificial ceremonies were banned.21

This first great conversion movement was accompanied by the destruction and vandalism of pagan sites and temples— those caught practicing pagan rites could be arrested and executed.22 Christianity took on a militarized conversion method, fighting battles against heathen armies in the name of Jesus. This was during the height of the Roman Empire, continuing into its waning years. After the split of the Roman Empire, without the backing of vast armies and political influence, conversion once more slipped into an amalgamation method. This would become a pattern at various points in the current era.

Following the split, various barbarian tribes grew to power across Europe, particularly in Germanic regions. The Christianization of these groups was achieved through various specialized means. In Germanic regions, Christianity first began to prosper due to voluntary conversion on a smaller scale. Clovis I of the Franks helped propagate this practice by converting to Catholicism in 496 (although the rest of the empire took over a century to fully adopt the religion).23 In this period, Jesus and pagan gods like Odin or Thor were worshiped side-by-side by kings and military commanders. If a commander thought Thor would grant him victory in battle, he would pray to Thor before the fighting commenced. Before the next battle, the commander might choose to pray to Jesus for victory. Clovis I attributed one such major victory to Jesus, which helped spread the religion in his growing empire.24 Clovis I and the Franks, in turn, converted the Saxons and other Germanic tribes via conquest and imposed laws.25 Over time, priests and monks realized that the quickest way to convert a religion was through nobility, thus letting regional leaders and monarchs do much of the work for them (although missionaries remained active in Britain, Ireland, and the Frankish Empire).26 To help their populace ease into the transition, their old holidays and ceremonies were still observed, but praise was granted to Jesus and the Judeo-Christian God rather than their old pagan gods. Eventually, the church in Rome came to accept many of these celebrations as well, further strengthening the bond between the new converts and the Catholic Church.

A good example of this kind of cultural mixing ecclesiastical control would be Great Moravia (a Slavic Kingdom). Under its first named ruler— Mojmír I, (who was baptized in 831) the form of Great Moravian Christianity was described as “containing many pagan elements,”27 up until their churches were organized and monitored by Saint Cyril of the Byzantine Church in 863. Saint Cyril was later responsible for developing the Cyrillic alphabet common in Slavic countries. He also reportedly translated the Bible into Slavic (eventually getting the language recognized as a liturgical language along with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew).28 It was also at this time that Christianity began to form as state religions.

This re-introduction of amalgamation and cultural mixing would continue for the next several centuries, until the bulk of Europe and its kings swore obedience to the Catholic teachings and the Pope in Rome. Kings at this point in time were at the will and discretion of the Church, and with such great power comes a natural resistance against it — resulting in a natural push back.

Before the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century could really begin in Northern Europe, the continent was experiencing a phase of near complete Christianization— with Roman Catholicism dominating the West and Orthodox Christianity in the East. With the exception of the Ottoman Balkans (which Europe was desperate combating) and the Iberian Peninsula (where Spain’s Reconquista was nearly complete), Christianity dominated. The Renaissance was paving the way for the Age of Exploration, and the outside world was waiting at Europe’s doorstep. With the possibility of trade, new territory, and the control of natural resources for merchants, explorers and fortune-seekers set out to find their prizes. Accompanying them would be priests, monks, and various members of the Jesuit order to incorporate “God” into the famous explanation of “Gold, God, and Glory” for exploration.

This is not to say that there weren’t any movements for reform within Rome, for even Ignatius of Loyola (now recognized as Saint Ignatius by the Roman Catholic Church) and his comrades did promote and ask for changes within the church, but they were not willing to go to such extremes as to form their own branch or sever ties with Rome.29 This sort of relationship would play out through much of the Jesuits’ existence — which would lead to them waffle from the Church’s elite soldiers to a suppressed society.

With this latest sort of ideology of Interpretatio Christiana to reference, Francis Xavier first sought to bring the Jesuit order to China and other parts of East Asia. He and many of his successors would attempt to analyze and study Chinese philosophical and theological texts and traditions in order to figure out how to best connect them with Christianity. His work in the East was beginning to get under way just as the most intense periods of the Inquisition were getting underway in Spain— which (as a response to the Reconquista of Spain) took conversion down an extreme road after several centuries of relatively peaceful conversions. Over the course of the thesis, information and background on the contrast of the Spanish Inquisition and Spanish Jesuit work in the America’s will be discussed and analyzed, but it is with Francis Xavier and his more peaceful and tolerant conversion that this thesis begins and expands from.

Literary Review

To conceive a thesis on the actions, consequences, and importance of French missionaries in China, many resources will be utilized. A wide variety of sources must be used to fully benefit the research of this thesis, meaning that they will likely be categorized on several levels. In addition to finding resources split between primary and secondary sources, they will also be categorized as contemporary and modern. It will also be beneficial to regard sources both local (from China and France) as well as outside sources (from the United States, Britain, South America, other French Colonies, et- cetera). In addition to articles and monographs focused on the history of Sino-French relations and French missionaries, it may also do this thesis well to do some research into the Catholic Church and the various missionary groups within it, as well as those which concentrated on Spanish missionary work in the Americas.

Some local sources that will be used in this thesis include ⾺全忠 (Ma, Chuen Zhong)’s 中華民國百年來的 (100 Years of the Republic of China), as well as Antoine Vannière’s dissertation “Le territoire à bail de Guangzhouwan : une impasse de la colonisation française en Asie orientale (1898-1946).” Some of the outside sources will include Victor Mair, Chen San-Ping, and Frances Woods’ Chinese Lives, A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage, and Johnathan D. Spence’s The Question of Hu. The last source mentioned may not be the most academic of sources (and in fact it is read more like a novel than a monograph), but the information it provides can be extremely beneficial, especially if backed up and supported by other academic sources.

Some of the older sources that this thesis hopes to find value in will include Arthur Waley’s Three Ways of Thinking in Ancient China, and Le r é gime des concessions é trang è res en Chine by Jean Escarra. Other more modern sources will include Jon Davidann and Marc Jason Gilbert’s Cross-Cultural Encounters In Modern World History, and David Chandler’s A History of Cambodia — which could provide some parallels and insights that might be useful in neighboring French- Indochina. For sources related to the Catholic Church, missionaries, and Spanish missionary work, some of the more readily accessible sources include Robert Buffington and Lila Caimari’s Keen ’ s Latin American Civilization, Mary Pat Fisher’s Living Religions, and The Catholic Church: A Short istory by Hans Küng. All of the aforementioned sources are secondary sources.

In regard to primary sources, it is hoped that La langue fran ç aise dans le monde 2014 published by La Francophonie can be used to reveal the strength (or lack-there-of) of the French language in modern mainland China. Although Richard Hughes’ Hong Kong, Borrowed Place — Borrowed Time has been used on some level in previous studies to help provide a comparison to the neighboring leased territory of French Guangzhouwan, it appears to fall outside of this study’s focus. For the most part, a good deal of study with go into many of the unequal treaties forced upon the Qing Dynasty during the 19th century. They will mostly pertain to the unequal treaties imposed by the French, and will also include but not be limited to: the 1843 “Treaty of Bogue” between the United Kingdom and China, the 1842 “Treaty of Nanking” (also between the United Kingdom and China), the 1858 and 1885 “Treaties of Tientsin.” It will also include the 1844 “Treaty of Whampoa,” and the “Treaty of Kwangchow Wan” (which leased the Guangzhouwan territory to France for 99 years starting in 1898).

Other primary sources will likely include Fernão Mendes Pinto’s accounts of his journeys and stays in China during the 17th century, the Washington Naval Conference hosted by the League of Nations in 1922, and the “Sino-French Accord of February of 1946.” With these sources and a plethora more, this thesis should be able to adequately answer the questions it poses and reveal the historic importance of the research being conducted.

Annotated bibliography

Buffington, Robert, Lila Caimari. Keen ’ s Latin American Civilization. United States: Westview Press, 2009.

This source falls outside the geographic scope of this thesis, but it is hoped that it might be useful into providing information on earlier Spanish missionary work in the Americas. The information this source provides could also be useful in comparing France’s efforts in China with Spain’s in the Americas. It may be a bit of a stretch to use, but it is very well researched and put together. Its usefulness at this time is questionable, but it has potential.

Chandler, David. A History of Cambodia. United States: Westview Press, 2000.

The usefulness of this source might seem a bit questionable, but considering the geographic and historic link that Cambodia (as part of French Indochina) shares with France’s spheres of influence in southern China, it seems quite relevant. The information it provides is well researched but broad at times; despite this, it is felt that some use can come from it. Overall it seems reliable and useful.

Davidann, Jon Thares & Gilbert, Marc Jason. Cross-Cultural Encounters In Modern World History. Pearson: New Jersey, 2013. Print.

This source covers the topic of cross-cultural interactions throughout the ages on different continents, including a section on missionaries in East Asia. Its information will be most useful to this thesis, and as it has been used as a text for undergraduate history classes, its credibility does not appear to be questionable.

Fisher, Mary Pat. Living Religions. New Jersey: Pearson, 2008.

The subject of this source pertains to the history and teachings of the world’s living religions, including the various demonizations of Christianity. Although it is not useful in regard to French colonization or missionary work in China, it can provide useful information about Christianity and some of the older (now defunct) teachings of the church that may or may not have influenced missionaries in China. Like one of the aforementioned resources, it has been used as a text in undergraduate classes, so its credibility does not really come into question.

Küng, Hans. The Catholic Church: A Short History. New York: The Modern Library, 2001.

Much like Living Religions, this source provides historic and philosophic knowledge relating to the Catholic Church, which can be useful in understanding the motives and actions of the missionaries in China, especially involving long abandoned or altered customs. Its own research looks to be quite substantial and well backed up, making it appear to be quite reliable and useful to this thesis, more so even than Living Religions.

⾺全忠 (Ma, Chuen Zhong). 中華民國百年來的. Linking Publishing Company: Taiwan, 2012.

This source can be useful in describing the events after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and although it does not appear to contain any knowledge pertaining to missionaries in China, it can certainly describe events that might have led to the churches decline in China during the 20th century. It appears to be well researched, but some have raised concerns that since it is from Taiwan, the information may be biased, especially in regard to the Chinese Civil War and the second half of the 20th Century. Because it is written in Chinese, its study may take a bit more time.

Mair, Victor, Chen San-Ping, and Frances Woods. Chinese Lives. London: Thames & Hudson, 2013.

This book is a collection of mini biographies of famous and infamous Chinese persons over the last several thousand years. The information provided will be useful, specifically in searching for biographical information about Hong Xiuquan (the leader of the Taiping Rebellion and the theocratic Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Any other significant individuals that this thesis should come across may also be featured in the book. The book is extremely well researched and avoids potential bias by having two authors, one Chinese and one British.

Spence, Jonathan D. The Question of Hu. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.

The theme of this source is about a Chinese person who has converted to Christianity and devoted his life to the faith. In doing so, circumstances led to him voyaging to France as a missionary’s assistant. Although this source does not appear to be academic, as it is in fact written more like a novel, the history and themes behind it are quite accurate and authentic. It is well researched and many sources to back it up. Despite being written like a novel, it is far from a work of fiction, and can be quite useful in providing a perspective from the Chinese and setting the scene of 18th century China.

Standage, Tom. A History of the World in 6 Glasses. New york: Walker Publishing Co., 2005.

This source provides a historic background on how various drinks (such as tea and coffee) have influenced trade and international relations around the world, as well as the quest for empire. Although it has not yet been revealed if these drinks play any role in the actions of the missionaries, it can still provide more useful context about the sociopolitical and economic atmosphere of the era. It is very well researched and also a previously used undergraduate classroom text.

Waley, Arthur. Three Ways of Thinking in Ancient China. New Jersey: Doubleday Books, 1939.

This source seems quite useful and very relevant to this thesis. By analyzing the philosophy and general way of thinking in ancient China, it will be easier to assess what changes might have occurred during France’s missionary efforts in southern China and Shanghai. Overall it seems fairly well researched and exceptionally readable. It could be quite useful to this study.


Chinese society was no stranger to Christianity before Europe’s Age of Exploration, some of the earliest known instances of Sino-Christian interactions date back to the split of the Roman Empire.30 The first known instance of the religion actually crossing into Chinese borders comes from the Nestorian Stele of 781 AD— which chronicles the history of Christian travelers (possibly members of the Church of the East or followers of Nestorianism) reaching Chang’an (modern-day Xi’an) the capital of the T’ang Dynasty in 635 AD.31 32 ’ Under their leader, named Alopen, the Christians were permitted to establish a place to worship and proselytize.33 This group and their followers remained in China for 210 years, until Emperor Wuzong banned Christianity (along with Zoroastrianism and Buddhism) during the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution.34 Even though, in 986, a monk reportedly told the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church that “Christianity is extinct in China; the native Christians have perished in one way or another; the church has been destroyed and there is only one Christian left in the land,”35 Christian grave markers dating between 907 and 1279 AD had since been discovered.36

It was mentioned in the contextual essay that this thesis would begin with Francis Xavier and his journeys to East Asia, but a brief description of Sino-Christian interactions prior to Francis Xavier’s 1552 voyage would better shed light on the historical context of his mission.

When the Mongols displaced the Song Dynasty and incorporated China into Yuan in the 13th century, Christianity had already been well known to the nomadic tribes— several tribes followed Nestorian Christian beliefs, Genghis Khan's family and clan intermarried with Christians, and the Roman Catholic Pope sent envoys to the Great Khan’s court in Khanbaliq (Beijing). 37 38 The Nestorians already had an established presence among the Mongols at this time. Between 1287 and 1288 AD, two monks of the order (Rabban Bar Sauma and Rabban Marcos) made a pilgrimage to Europe, relaying this information to the Roman Catholics and triggering a “call to the East.”39 The following year friars of the Franciscan order (founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi) voyaged to China for mission work, where they worked alongside the Nestorians for 79 years. 40 41 When the Ming Dynasty rose and dispelled the Mongols from China in 1368, Christianity and other forms of foreign influence were ejected with them. Christianity and related practices and beliefs were considered heterodox by the Ming, although Islam and Judaism were permitted to remain as their beliefs were considered compatible with Confucian ideology.42 43 ’ ’ 44

During the earlier Imperial Age of China, Muslims, Christians, and Jews were referred to unanimously as 回紇 (pronounced either Huihe or Huihu), then later as 回回 (pronounced Huihui) during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.45 It is believed that this is derived from the Chinese name of the Uyghur Khaganate (744-840).46 One might think that this is logical since modern Uyghurs are Chinese and Turkic Muslims living in mainland China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, but the Uyghurs of the 8th and 9th centuries were not Muslim or considered related to modern Uyghurs. The 回回 (and earlier 回紇) name came to be used to describe all foreigners— regardless of language, religion, or origin. It is most likely that the name came into use since Muslims and Christians entered China from the west, and since the Uyghur Khaganate (Huihu/回鶻) was located in the west, the name was simply employed for all who came from the West.47

Further categorizing of the religions (especially Islam and Judaism) was likely a result of Genghis Khan forcing them to stop preparing Kosher and Halal meals. On the subject, a quote from Genghis Khan was found (quoted and used by many writings, essays, and monographs) where he declares:

“ Among all the alien peoples only the Hui-hui say ‘ we do not eat Mongol food ’… By the aid of heaven we have pacified you; you are our slaves. Yet you do not eat our food or drink. How can this be right? … If you slaughter sheep, you will be considered guilty of a crime..all the Muslims say: ‘ if someone else slaughters we do not eat. ’ Because the poor people are upset by this, from now on, Musuluman Huihui and Zhuhu Huihui, no matter who kills will eat and must cease slaughtering sheep themselves, and cease the rite of circumcision. ” 48

Before they were forced to conform to Mongolian dietary customs, Christians, Muslims, and Jews were distinguished (in name) by what they eat; “Hui who abstain from animals with the cloven foot” (Christians), “Hui who abstain from pork” (Muslims), and “Hui who extract the sinews” (Jews).49 In more modern times Hui Hui is used specifically to refer to Muslims, while Jews are called 藍帽回 (Blue-Hat Hui/Lanmao Hui).50 Even the term for Mosque and Synagogue was the same at one point.51 Additionally Kaifeng Jews are said to have a specific individual appellation.

Although Christianity had managed to get a foothold into China since the time of the Romans, its presence in the region and various rising and falling dynasties never truly established a foundation. With the few attempts by various Christian sects and orders (such as the Franciscans and Nestorians), the Christian faith was brought to China but forced out by imperial decrees. Even when Churches and temples were established within China, they had to compete with their cousin theologies (Islam and Judaism) to establish a solid foundation and following. Additionally, here was also competition between the Roman Catholics and Nestorian (whom the Roman Catholics considered heretics).52

Centuries later, Europe’s Enlightenment and Age of Exploration paved the way for a drive to reintroduce Christianity to the Far East. A renewed interest in the travels of Marco Polo, coupled with the more recent voyages of Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares in 1513, created an opening for the Jesuits to establish their presence in Japan and China (as well as other parts of Asia).53 Not long after the Jesuit Society had been created, Francis Xavier (later Saint Francis Xavier) founded St. Paul's College in Portuguese Goa (India) in 1542.54 Francis Xavier arrived in the territory in 1541to proselytize and perform service work. Although Francis Xavier was from France, the territory would follow the more brutal practices of Iberian (Portuguese and Spanish) Catholicism and instigate its own Inquisition.55 It is even reported that Francis Xavier conceived the idea in a 1545 letter to King João III of Portugal.56 Four years after the founding of St. Paul’s College, two Chinese students enrolled in the Jesuit college. Inspired by these students, Francis Xavier made the Jesuits’ first attempt to reach China in 1552.57 He was accompanied by one of the students, who took the name “Antonio.”58 Not only was Francis Xavier voyage the first attempt by the Jesuits to establish their order in mainland China, it was also essentially France’s first attempt. Unfortunately Francis Xavier never reached mainland China, he died the same year on Portuguese controlled Shangchuan Island (the precursor to the Portuguese Colony of Macau and the only place in China where Europeans were permitted to trade at the time, called São João at the time).5960 He died of fever while waiting for a boat that agreed to take him the remaining 120 miles (approximate) to his final destination of Guangzhou (Canton) city.6162 Gorman, Michael. Guangdong. 21, June, 2016.

Map of Guangdong Province’s location (shaded) within the modern borders of China (including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) in red.

A few years after his death, the Portuguese establish Macau with the permission of the Chinese government. This was significantly closer to Guangzhou, and although they were subject to Chinese Imperial monitoring and regulation, it allowed many more freedoms.63 In 1563 the Jesuits established a permanent presence in the territory from which to work. Later the missionaries in the region studied the Chinese languages and culture to help their cause, but for the time being, the missionaries were more concerned with expressing their theology in European languages, thus limiting their audience.64


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3 "About the Jesuits."Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center. 20616. Web, Retrieved 30 Oct, 2016.

4 Steinmetz, Henry. History of the Jesuits: From the Foundation of Their Society to Its Suppression by Pope Clement XIV.; Their Missions Throughout the World; Their Educational System and Literature; with Their Revival and Present State. By Andrew Steinmetz. Wood Engravings by George Measom, Volume 1. United Kingdom:Richard Bentley, 1848.

5 Nicolini, Giovanni Battista. History of the Jesuits: their origin, progress, doctrines, and designs, Volume 46; Volume 941. United Kingdom: H. G. Bohn, 1854.

6 Villoslada, Ricardo Garcia. San Ignacio de Loyola: nueva biograf í a. Sao Paulo: Edicoes Loyola, 1986.

7 Villoslada, Ricardo Garcia. San Ignacio de Loyola: nueva biograf í a. Sao Paulo: Edicoes Loyola, 1986.

8 “Fórmula del Instituto.” Papa Pablo III. 21 de Julio de 1550. Recuperado 30 de Octubre de 2017.

9 Cohen, Richard. By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions. New York: Random House LLC, 2007.

10 Cohen, Richard. By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions. New York: Random House LLC, 2007.

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Retrieved Oct 2016.

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15 Acts 15:5-11 and Acts 15:20-21 (The King James Bible)

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59 Schurhammer, Georg. Francis Xavier His Life, His Times: Europe, 1506-1541. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1977.

60 Coleridge, Henry James. The life and letters of St. Francis Xavier. London: Burns and Oates, 1872.

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64 Ruggieri, Michele, John W. Witek, and Matteo Ricci. 葡漢辭典. Portugal: Biblioteca Nacional Portugal, 2001.


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
2.8 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Westminster College
asian history history china jesuits france french chinese guangdong hongkong missionaries french history catholic history




Titel: "Ad Maiorem Dei (Et Fransia) Gloria". The Lasting Impact of French Missionaries in China