chapter  14
4 Pages

Giulio, Aleni (1582–1649)

Giulio Aleni (or Alenio), Chinese name Ai Rulüe 艾儒略, was an Italian who joined the Society of Jesus in 1600.90 He landed in Macau in 1610. He entered China three years later and eventually reached Beijing, where he met Xu Guangqi. He then went with Xu to Shanghai and Hangzhou, and learned Chinese and Chinese culture under Yang Tingyun’s instruction. In 1619, he was invited to give instructions on Western learning to a high official in Hangzhou, where he baptized 250 adults in the same year. In addition to his missionary work, which took him to Jiangzhou (in Shanxi Province) and Fujian, Aleni devoted considerable time and energy to introducing Western learning to China through his own writing and translations. His An Outline of Western Learning 西學凡 (Xixue fan, 1623) is a landmark in the history of the intellectual exchanges between China and Europe.91 Two other landmark contributions by him are Records of Places beyond the Tribute States 職方外紀 (Zhifang waji, 1623)92 and An Introduction to the Study of Human Nature 性學觕述 (Xingxue cushu, 1624).93 In 1641 he was appointed the Jesuit Vice-Provincial for southern China. When the Manchus invaded Fujian in 1647, Aleni together with another Jesuit, Manuel Dias 陽瑪諾 (1574-1659), took refuge in Yanping (in Fujian Province). Aleni died in Yanping two years later and was buried in Fuzhou.