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Sojourners in a Strange LandJesuits and Their Scientific Missions in Late Imperial China$
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Florence C. Hsia

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226355597

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226355610.001.0001

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Making Jesuit Science Travel

Making Jesuit Science Travel

(p.51) Chapter Four Making Jesuit Science Travel
Sojourners in a Strange Land
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the entry of a new Jesuit man of science, the apologetic voyager, into the China mission field, French Jesuits first entered the China mission en masse in 1688, their ranks increasing rapidly towards the century's close. Traveling eastward under the aegis of the Sun King, they simultaneously broke with Portugal's well-established right of ecclesiastical patronage over the Asian missions and dispensed with the persona of the missionary mathematician by helping themselves to a corporate identity only recently manufactured by the Bourbon monarchy. This chapter examines the making of the Voyage de Siam (1686), a book that was edited by Guy Tachard and harnessed the traditional apologetic functions of Jesuit mission history and the activities of Parisian academicians to the expressive possibilities of the travelogue. In following the passage of the Voyage de Siam from script to print, the chapter evaluates the strategies with which French Jesuit missionaries first asserted themselves as “knowledgeable men” sent by the Parisian Académie des sciences to “make observations in foreign lands.”

Keywords:   China, Jesuits, Portugal, Voyage de Siam, Guy Tachard, travelogue, missionaries, Académie des sciences, Jesuit mission

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