Jesuits at the Court of Peking

Professor Charles Boxer looks at a fascinating East-West encounter where science and mathematics were trailed as tempters for a Chinese gospel.

A correspondent recently complained that 'the activities of few western missionaries can attract more attention in many of our books than all the teachings of Lao Tse and Confucius and Buddha and the Bagavadgita put together.' This is undoubtedly regrettable, but it is not altogether surprising. Apart from the fact that for generations most Christians believed that the activities of their missionaries were more important than those of any 'heathen Chinee,' or 'sooty slave of Hindustan,' the story of the old Jesuit mission at Peking is a fascinating one in its own right.

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