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Matteo Ricci: Letters from China

Last Friday (April 12) TBC hosted a panel discussion on the letters of Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) in association with the release of a new publication from The Beijing Center Press.  Scholars from East and West assembled in the Anton Library with more than 40 in attendance.  Moderated by Professor Thierry Meynard from Sun Yat-Sen University, the panelists explored how Ricci can teach and inspire engagement and dialogue in relations between China and other societies today.  The panel considered a variety of subjects and examined the implications of Ricci’s letters for cross-cultural dialogue. 

Professor Dennis McNamara (Georgetown University) discussed different methods and levels of dialogue in cultural and social engagement between China and other societies noting and the importance of people to people relations and engagement. Prof. Huiling YANG (Beijing Foreign Studies University) presented a fascinating analysis of the Chinese language dictionaries prepared by Ricci and his associates to help better understand what these documents tell us about Ricci and the China of his day.  Prof. Federico Zheng WEN (Beijing Foreign Studies University) shared the journey of his own involvement in a major project translating Ricci’s letters into Chinese and his insights along the way.  Prof. Amy Yu FU (Zhejiang City College) examined identity questions that arose for Jesuits such as Matteo Ricci in their early encounters with Chinese society and culture.

Following the panel discussion guests gathered for a reception to celebrate the release of the new book, Matteo Ricci: Letters from China (A Revised English Translation with Commentary, 2019). The panel discussion and book reception was a wonderful opportunity for old and new friends of TBC to come together to share conversation and continue in the dialogue and friendship that TBC seeks to foster.