Aleni, Giulio

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Italian missionary; b. Brescia, 1582; d. Fuchow, China, Aug. 3, 1649. He entered the Jesuits in 1600. In 1610, having been assigned to the Chinese mission, he arrived at Macao, where he spent three years before gaining entrance into the southeastern provinces of China. Meanwhile he taught mathematics and published his observation of a lunar eclipse, Resultat de l'observation sur l'éclipse de lune du 8 Novembre, 1612, faite à Macao. He was the first Christian missionary in Kiangsi and Fukien and labored in those provinces for 30 years. To promote good will toward Christianity, he adopted the dress and manners of the Chinese and became, after Matteo Ricci, the most famous Italian missionary to China; he was honored with the title of "Confucius of the West." He wrote a number of books, mainly theological in content, which were published in Chinese. His chief work, The Life of God, the Savior, from the Four Gospels (8 v. Peking 163537) was often reprinted and used even by Protestant missionaries. Also notable is a cosmography Tchi fang wai ki (The True Origin of 10,000 Things, 6 v. Hangchow 1623).

Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (BrusselsParis 18901932) 1:157160; 8:1603; 12:915. e. m. riviÈre, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 2:99100. g. h. dunne, Generation of Giants (Notre Dame, Ind. 1962).

[j. v. mentag]