September 2018: New Publication on Jesuits in Early Modern China

Nadine Amsler, of the Goethe University Frankfurt, has published Jesuits and Matriarchs: Domestic Worship in Early Modern China with University of Washington Press.


The title is a rare investigation of “the domestic and devotional practices of women” in early modern China, according to the publishing, presenting “a rich body of evidence that demonstrates how Chinese households functioned as sites of evangelization, religious conflict, and indigenization of Christianity.” Jesuit missionaries, dealing more closely with the male elite, had only limited access to women and their ritual spaces. Amsler’s research vividly demonstrates the “networks of religious sociability and ritual communities among women as well as women’s remarkable acts of private piety” in seventeenth-century China.


The titles of the chapters appear below. More information about this important publication is available at the website of the University of Washington Press:



Clothes make the man: the Jesuits’ adoption of literati masculinity —

A kingdom of virtuous women: Jesuit descriptions of China’s moral topography —

A source of creative tension: literati Jesuits and priestly duties —

Strengthening the marital bond: the Christianization of Chinese marriage —

Praying for progeny: women and Catholic spiritual remedies —

Domestic communities: women’s congregations and communal piety —

Sharing genteel spirituality: the female networks of the Xus of Shanghai —

A widow and her virgins: the domestic convents of Hangzhou and Nanjing —

Fabrics of devotion: Catholic women’s pious patronage —

Women and gender in global Catholicism.

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