Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Following the Footsteps of the Jesuits in Beijing: A Guide to Sites of Jesuit Work and Influence in Beijing

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Following the Footsteps of the Jesuits in Beijing: A Guide to Sites of Jesuit Work and Influence in Beijing

Article excerpt

Meynard, Thierry. S.J. Following the Footsteps of the Jesuits in Beijing: A Guide to Sites of Jesuit Work and Influence in Beijing. (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources. 2006. Pp. vi, 120. $14.95 paperback.)

This short book presents the sites related to Jesuit activity in the Chinese capital from the seventeenth until the twentieth centuries. It is organized as a tourist guide, with entries arranged by proximity for coherent day trips. For the traveler unfamiliar with Chinese, the book includes practical information such as street addresses in both Chinese characters and pinyin Romanization and websites for a few of the attractions (although most of these only in Chinese). From a practical standpoint, Meynard's guide is a useful companion for the tourist seeking to conjure up the ghosts of Beijing Jesuits past-the author even includes spiritual meditations about the encounter between China and (European) Christianity aimed at giving deeper meaning to the places described. Alas, for most of the sites, the tourist would have to be a formidable conjurer since war, time, and neglect have dealt fatal blows to vestiges of the Jesuit presence in Beijing. Relics from before 1800 accessible to tourists are few: dislocated tombstones in the garden of the Communist Party School, astronomical instruments at the Imperial Observatory, and the ruins of the Jesuit-designed Yuanmingyuan Palace. …

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