Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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Answer to the first Inquiry, concerning the Jews.

I would be as much pleased as Monsieur Thevenot him¬
self if Jews were found in these mountainous regions; I
mean such Jews as he would no doubt desire to find,—
Jews descended from the tribes transported by Shalmaneser :
but you may assure that gentleman that although there
seems ground for believing that some of them were for¬
merly settled in these countries, yet the whole population
is at present either Gentile or Mahometan. In China, indeed,
there are probably people of that nation, for I have lately
seen letters in the hands of our reverend Father the Jesuit
of Dehli, written by a German Jesuit from Pekin, wherein he
states that he had conversed with Jews in that city, who
adhered to the forms of Judaism and retained the books
of the Old Testament.!     They were totally ignorant of

^ The first settlement of the Jews in China is said to have taken place
in the third century B.C. John de Marignolli, who was Papal Legate
to the court of the Great Khan, and was in Peking (Cambaiec) in 1341,
states that he had many and glorious disputations with the Jews and
other sectaries, and also made a great harvest of souls in that Empire.

The German Jesuit referred to was in all probability Father Johann
Adam Schall, or Schaal as sometimes given, a German from Zell (Celle
in Hanover), not Cologne, as has been stated by some writers. Father
Schall was born in 1591, came to China in 1622, and died at Peking in
1666. He was a great mathematician, and was one of those ' followers
of the doctrine of the Lord of Heaven' {i.e. Christians), who were
appointed to reform the Chinese calendar, the calculations of which
had fallen into disorder. This was by a special decree of the Emperor,
and the work was duly finished ' by means of the new system of the
Foreigners ' in 1628, Father Schall was held in great esteem by the
Emperor of China, who conferred upon him the Mandarin's button of
the first grade, and as we know from independent Chinese sources the
very great esteem in which this missionary from Je-rh-ma-ni (Germany)
was held by all classes in the Chinese Empire, at Peking and elsewhere, it
is quite likely that the Chinese Jews would ask him to rule over them.
Schall was a constant contributor to Kircher's stores of learning, and
his portrait in Chinese official dress will be found at p. 113 of China
Illustrata, in which work a copy of the inscription tablets on the Jesuit
church at Peking, built by Schall, is given at p. 107, from which we
learn his birthplace as  follows,  .  .   pater  • Joannes  •  adamus

SCHAL • a • ZELL • GERMANUS •  .   .   .
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