Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Schall von Bell, Johann Adam

  • Joseph F. MacDonnell
Reference work entry

Alternate Name


BornCologne, (Germany), 1591

DiedChina, 15 August 1666

Johann Schall von Bell was a Jesuit missionary and astronomer in China who oversaw significant improvements in the Chinese calendar. He entered the Jesuits in 1511 and was determined to serve in the China mission. Schall von Bell arrived in Macao in 1619 where he studied Chinese for a few years awaiting permission to enter China, which at that time strongly opposed all foreigners, especially foreign teachers. Permission was granted, however, a few years later in an unusual way after a military attack by the Dutch Calvinists on the Portuguese Catholic settlement. He and other Jesuits helped the Portuguese quell the invasion, and when the story of their victory reached the emperor, he asked the Portuguese to help him fend off the Tartars from the north. In particular he wanted more Jesuits. Thus, was Schall von Bell admitted into China, and he then made his way to Beijing, arriving when a minister hostile...

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Selected References

  1. Institutum Historicum (1958). Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu. Rome: Institutum Historicum.Google Scholar
  2. Needham, Joseph (1959). Science and Civilization in China. Vol. 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.MATHGoogle Scholar
  3. Sommervogel, Carlos (1890–1960). Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. 12 Vols. Brussels: Société Belge de Libraire.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph F. MacDonnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Holycross UniversityWorchesterUSA