March 2019: New Publication of Ricci’s Letters from China

The Beijing Center has recently published a collection of letters written by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610). Only 54 letters survive from the vast correspondence Ricci kept while living as a Jesuit missionary in China. During his time in China, Ricci, according to the center, “created the first European-style world map in Chinese, introduced Euclidean geometry to China, helped to compile the first Portuguese-Chinese dictionary (along with the first Romanization of the Chinese language), and wrote several books in Chinese.”


The center’s book is edited by Brendan Gottschall, S.J., Francis Hannafey S.J., Simon G. M. Koo, and Gianni Criveller. Copies are available through


The Beijing Center is also organizing a panel discussion on the significance of Ricci’s letters. Scholars involved in the April 12 event include: Prof. Thierry Meynard (Sun Yat-sen University), Prof. Dennis MacNamara (Georgetown University), Prof. Amy Fu (Zhejiang University City College), Prof. Federico Wen Zheng (Beijing Foreign Studies University), and Prof. Yang Huiling (Beijing Foreign Studies University). More details on the panel are available online.


Readers interested in Ricci should also note the recent translation of his work, The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, available through Jesuit Sources.