Using letters written by the Italian Jesuit missionary Niccolo Longobardo, this article explores in depth the encounter between the Christian mission and different strata of early seventeenth century Chinese society in Shangdong province. It follows Longobardo's evangelical activities among Ming feudatory princes, Muslim mullahs, Confucian literati and leaders of secret popular religious sects. By using Jesuit records and Chinese documents of the late Ming, this article tries to analyse the attractions of Christianity for different segments of late Ming society, one that experienced a profound social, political and economic crisis. Both, the reasons for conversions and arguments against Christianity are presented in the specific social context of early seventeenth century Chinese society.
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