The Wise Man From the West : Matteo Ricci and his Mission to China

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9780006267492: The Wise Man From the West : Matteo Ricci and his Mission to China

This is the amazing story of the famous Jesuit missionary priest to China, Fr. Matteo Ricci, revered as a "Wise Man" by the Chinese. He arrived in China in 1582 and died there twenty-eight years later, having developing a deep knowledge of and love for the country, the culture and the people.

Before Ricci's heroic mission, China was an unexplored land bordering on the vague, mysterious Cathay, and the West was no more than a rumor to the learned Mandarins, a distant unknown region lying beyond the bounds of geography. In the person of Father Ricci these two worlds met, and Vincent Cronin dramatically recreates the romance, the crossed purposes, the potential tragedy of that meeting. He shows us ancient China, the timeless state, with a civilization older than that wherein Christianity first found expression.

Because Ricci loved this civilization and honored it, he was able to teach his strange new Christian doctrine with tact and sympathy. He carried much of the technological and philosophical wisdom of the late Renaissance Europe, and thus found favor among the Mandarins, the men of learning who enjoyed high status at the Imperial Court. He learned Chinese to discuss with them the problems in science and technology, and also questions of religion and the hereafter. He lived as a great scholar among great scholars and left behind him a memory worthy of the Christian faith he served.

Well researched and written with an enchanting style, Cronin relied almost entirely on contemporary material only recently assembled, including Father Ricci's own letters and reports, and his account of China written in Peking before his death. The seed of Faith was sown and the crop, even after a century of atheistic communism, continues to grow in present-day China.

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About the Author:

Vincent Cronin, son of the Scottish novelist, A J Cronin is a doyen of English letters. His book The Last Migration, which won the Heinemann Award, was based on his own journey with the Gashgai of southern Iran. He widened his reputation with his outstanding biographies of Christianity's first missionaries to India (A Pearl to India: the Life of Roberto de Nobili) and to China (The Wise Man from the West: Matteo Ricci and his Mission to China), and a range of later biographies - of Napoleon, Catherine the Great, Louis (XVI) and Antoinette, and his masterly Four Women in Search of an Ideal (Caroline de Berry, Marie D'Agoult, Eve Hanska and Marie Bashkirtseff). Vincent Cronin lives in Brittany.

Review:

"Matteo Ricci was, by any standards, an extraordinary man. One concludes from reading this riveting book just how pertinent Ricci remains to both modern China and to the Church, ever ancient and ever new." --
James V. Schall, S.J., From the Forward



"The binoculars of history have brought his life into focus so that Chinese and Western Christians can appreciate both his wisdom and his sanctity are worthy of emulation. This book focuses us today on someone who may be canonized at last and teach us his brilliant ways to evangelize."
-- Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, Host, EWTN Live

"A book which does for once deserve the all too lightly used adjective 'outstanding.'" --
Honor Stacy , New Statesman



"In this classic, Matteo Ricci and the other Christian missionaries to China truly come alive, reminding all of us that the heart of the New Evangelization still resides in going out of ourselves and boldly proclaiming the loving mercy of Christ, despite whatever cost."
-- Fr. David Meconi, SJ, St. Louis University

"A delightfully told story of a truly remarkable man." --
Rodney Gilbert , New York Herald Tribune

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Cronin, Vincent
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