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Jesuit Manuscripts Relating to China

Identifier: jfb-MB9376

Scope and Content

This manuscript collection demonstrates the ways in which the Jesuit order attempted to understand and learn the cultural traditions, language, literature, history, and philosophy of the peoples they lived among and attempted to convert. The documents, from the years 1725 through 1732, are heavily oriented towards Jesuit essays on and/or critiques of Chinese treatises on history, astronomy, Confucian philosophy, and science. Some of the documents also deal with the standing of the Jesuits in China at the time, particularly with the relationship between the emperor and the order, which culminated in the expulsion of the Jesuits by Yung Cheng in 1724 and the execution of the Portuguese Jesuit João Morão in 1726 or 1727. Five documents are written in French, three in Latin, and two in Italian.


  • 1725-1732


Language of Materials

Multiple languages

Language of Materials

French, Latin and Italian

Use of Materials

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site.


It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. See curator for questions.

Historical Note

A Roman Catholic religious order founded in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, sent priests throughout the world to live among non-Christians and proselytize. Beginning in the 1580s, these lands included China, where the famed Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) established himself among the elite literati class, learning Chinese and studying Confucian texts. The Jesuits succeeded in erecting some churches in China and managed to convert a number of Chinese, but there was often tension between the Christian priests and the emperor. In 1724, the emperor made Christianity illegal in China and expelled all religious orders, including the Jesuits.


.25 Linear Feet (8 folders)


Written in French, Latin, and Italian, these 10 manuscript items include documents concerned with Chinese philosophy, science, history, and political circumstances, as well to Jesuit affairs in China.


This collection is organized into eight folders, with one document in each folder, except for folder #5, which contains three documents, all relating to the subject of the Father Moraon Affair.

Physical Location

Bell Library call number: 1725 fJe

Call number required to access materials

Jesuit Manuscripts Relating to China, 1725-1732
The James Ford Bell Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The finding aid is in English.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The James Ford Bell Library Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
Suite 15
Minneapolis MN 55455