V. 2 (2023)

Intercultural Circulation and Short Circuits in the Society of Jesus between Italy, Japan, and China (17th–18th centuries)

Elisa FREI
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Pubblicato 01-12-2023

Parole chiave

  • Circulation of knowledge,
  • Global history,
  • Jesuit missions,
  • Litterae indipetae,
  • Cultural history


This essay compares different channels of cultural dissemination regarding the Jesuit missions as found within the applications for the overseas territories (litterae indipetae) sent by Italians at the turn of the eighteenth century. Jesuits regularly read letters and treatises (by Francis Xavier and Daniello Bartoli, among others), and their importance is confirmed by applications for the missions in which the Jesuits relate their vocation to these sources. The Histories of the Society of Jesus written by Daniello Bartoli in the 17th century, for instance, remained inspirational among members of the religious order at least two hundred years. However, for these Jesuits, the lack of updated and objective information could lead to curious misunderstandings, like the “fake news” spread through Southern Italian colleges that Japan was reopening to foreigners and Christianity.