NEW FACULTY BOOK: Chinese Translation of Matteo Ricci’s Diary

in Uncategorized
August 12th, 2014

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Recently the Commercial Press of Shanghai, one of the largest publisher in China, published a Chinese version of Matteo Ricci’s Dell¹entrata della Compagnia di Giesù e Christianità nella Cina (On the entrance of the Society of Jesus and Christianity into China), translated and annotated by Professor Wen Zheng (Beijing Foreign Languages University, Department of Italian) in close collaboration with Professor Eugenio Menegon (BU History).

Li Madou, Yesuhui yu Tianzhujiao jinru Zhongguo shi – 利玛窦 – 耶稣会与天主教进入中国史 (Della entrata della Compagnia di Giesù  e della Christianità in Cina),  Wen Zheng 文铮 (translator); Eugenio Menegon 梅欧金 (collator). Shanghai: Commercial Press, 2014. 523 pages. ISBN: 9787100084529

Written in Italian in 1610 in Beijing, this account of the efforts of Ricci (1552-1610) and other Jesuits to win the Chinese elite’s approval and establish a mission in the Ming empire, is, together with Marco Polo’s account of Mongol China, the most important European eyewitness testimony on China ever penned. The book contains detailed descriptions of the Chinese empire, its government, customs, religions, and geography, besides the activities of the first China Jesuits and their converts.

The original manuscript is preserved in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, and it was published in a philological Italian edition in 1949 by Pasquale D¹Elia S.J. as the monumental 3-volume Fonti Ricciane.

This Chinese modern version with essential notes renders Ricci’s important unadulterated text in current and very readable style, and will hopefully become the reference edition in China for those who cannot access the original.  A second volume, containing translations of all Ricci’s extant letters, is forthcoming in 2015.