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Giulio Alenio (often spelled Giulio Aleni; Chinese: 艾儒略; 1582 – June 10, 1649) was an Italian Jesuit missionary and scholar. He was born at Brescia, in Italy, and died at Yanping, China. He became a member of the Society of Jesus in 1600, and was distinguished for his knowledge of mathematics and theology.
Life and works
In 1610, he was sent as a missionary to China. While waiting at Macau for a favorable opportunity to enter the country he taught mathematics to local scholars and published his "Observation sur l'éclipse de lune du 8 Novembre 1612, faite a Macao" (Mémoires de l'Acad. des Sciences, VII, 706.)
He adopted the dress and manners of the country, was the first Christian missionary in Jiangxi, and built several churches in Fujian. One of his converts, a scholar name Li Jiubiao, recorded Aleni's responses to the questions and speculations of his parishioners and compiled them into a journal.
He published works in Chinese on a variety of topics. His cosmography, Wanwu Zhenyuan (The True Origin of the Ten-thousand Things), was translated into Manchu during the reign of Kang-he as ᡨᡠᠮᡝᠨ
ᠰᡝᡤᡳᠶᡝᠨ Wylie: Tumen chakai unengki segiyen, Möllendorff: Tumen jakai unengki segiyen. A copy was sent from Beijing to Paris in 1789. He completed the work of earlier Jesuit scholars to produce the Zhifang waiji, China's first global geography. Among his most important religious works are a controversial treatise on the Catholic Faith, in which are refuted what he saw as the principal errors of the Chinese; and The Life of God, the Saviour, from the Four Gospels (Peking, 1635–1637, 8 vols.; often reprinted, e.g. in 1887 in 3 vols) and used even by Protestant missionaries.
Return of public interest in Alenio
The life and works of Giulio Alenio are the subject of several conventions which have taken place in 1994 and 2010. Two of his books, Life of Matteo Ricci, Xitai of the West and Holy images of the Heavenly Lord have been presented to the public by Fondazione Civiltà Bresciana in two separate occasions, on 13 and 25 October 2010.
- John Witek, S.J. "Aleni, Giulio, in Gerald Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (Erdmans, ) pp. 9-10
- Zürcher, Erik Li Jiubiao Institut Monumenta Serica (2007). Kouduo Richao: Li Jiubiao's Diary of Oral Admonitions: A Late Ming Christian Journal. Nettetal: Steyler Verl. ISBN 9783805005432.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alenio, Giulio". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Claudia von Collani, "Biography of Giulio Aleni SJ, China missionary,"Encyclopedia Stochaskicon. Includes a listing of works by and about Aleni.
- John Witek, S.J. "Aleni, Giulio, in Gerald Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (Erdmans, 1999), pp. 9-10
- Lippiello, Tiziana, and Roman Malek. Scholar from the West: Giulio Aleni S.J. (1582-1649) and the Dialogue between Christianity and China. Brescia: Sankt Augustin: Fondazione civiltà bresciana; Monumenta Serica Institute, 1997.
- Sommervogel, Carlos, Bibliothèque de la Campagnie de Jesus, I, 157 sq.
- Pfister, S.J., Bibliogr. des Jesuites Chinois miss.
- Cordier, Essai d'une bibliogr. des ouvr. publ. en Chine par les Europeéns (Paris 1883).
- ALENI, Giulio, Geografia dei paesi stranieri alla Cina. Zhifang waiji, with translation (Italian), Introduction and commentary by Paolo De Troia, Brescia, Fondazione Civiltà Bresciana/Centro Giulio Aleni, 2009, with a full Map of ten thousand countries (Wangguo quantu)
- This article incorporates text from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article "Giulio Alenio" by Joseph M. Woods, a publication now in the public domain.
- Ahn Jaewon, A comparative research on Cicero's orator perfectus and Confucius' rex perfectus( Papers on Rhetoric 10)
- Life and passion of Christ. Digital facsimile of Alenio's ca. 1640 printing from Houghton Library, Harvard University.