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1.  Amongst the earliest writings of Burmese Christians in this period are the poems of Nat-shin-naung ('Mahadhammraja', 1578-?1613), prince of Taung-ngu.  Before his baptism (c.1610) he was a warrior and Theravadin scholar taking a metaphysical and mystical approach to Buddhism.  His poetry however includes many 'yadu' (love-poems tracing the seasons), thirty-five 'motaw' (verses on the rain) along with sapyaing and kye-se verses.  Much of his poetry takes its subject from nature and includes philosophical reflection.  (Kyaw Dun, 1953 & Maung Thu Ta, 1966.)  

2.  Extant Letters and Lives include:

Statements or letters of those imprisoned or killed during persecution in Annam or Tonkin.  Many of these are anonymous but known authors include Peter Dang (d. 1661), Thomas Lucy Ki (1665), Paul Kien (1698) and Luke Thu (1723).  (See Shortland 1875).  

Letters and confessions of faith are also extant for the martyrs Gil de Federich (1702-1745), Mathieu Liciniana (1702-1745), Hyacinth Castagneda (1743-1773) and Vincent Liem (1732-1773).

From the same period, letters are extant from MEP missionaries such as Siebert, Pigneux, Liot, Lelabousse, La Pavec, le Royer, Horta, Cibot and Guerard.  These and other letters from Cochinchina and Tonkin appear in collections made by C. Borri, by A Delvaux amd M. Favre, and in volumes IX to XIV of Lettres Edifiantes et curieuses ecrites des Missions Etrangeres (Lyons, 1819).

The biographies of fifty-three native priests in Tonkin, are given in Neez Documents sur le Clerge Tonkinois aux XVIIe & XVIIIe Siecles (1754-61), reprinted Paris, 1925.

Letters written from Siam include those of Alexandre de Rhodes (fl. 1640), La Motte Lambert and Francois Pallu (fl. 1660) and in the years 1681-1690 Bishop Louis Laneau, Constantine Phaulkan, P.P. Martineau, Guy Tachard and Claude de Beze.

Four catechists, who were also high-ranking Tonkinese officers wrote appeals to the Pope, the Vicar Apostolic and the Bishops, in 1687, for the return of the Jesuit Order.  (Rome, Borg. Tonch.)

3.  Catechetical Works

a)  Indo-China.  Of 134 titles written in Nom characters (Bibliotheque Nationale) many are works on religion or teaching, and include:

- Thien Chua Thanh giao Khai Mong (Christianity Presents Itself), written in Nom characters (c.1645) and based on a work of Bellarmine, by Girolamo Majorica (1591-1656), who with Quan Am Thi Kinh also issued Truyen cac Thanh (Story of All Saints) in Nom. 

- Sam Truyen ca (To Teach Repentance), a catechism in verse (1670) by Lu Y Doan utilizing Confucian and Buddhist imagery.  Rejected by missionary priests but widely used by Vietnamese Christians 'underground' until 1810.  Translated into Quoc Ngu by Phan Van Can 1816.  (Van Trung 1993, 53-71.)

- Lu Y Doan also wrote many paraphrases of Biblical passages in Nom.  (Van Trung 1993, 72f.)

- Phep giang tam ngay (Catechism explained in Eight days) was written by de Rhodes (1651, last reprinted Saigon, Tinh Viet van doan, 1961).

b)  Burma.  Writings by Barnabite missionaries include:

- P. Nerini (fl. 1740) - Burmese Prayer Book, a Catechism, treatises and letters.

- J.M. Percoto (fl. 1765) - Dialogue Between a Phongyi and a Christian (with John of Yedana, below, 1776), Explanation of the Commandments (1785) and translations of some Burmese texts (e.g. Kammuka and Padinot).

- Bishop Mantegazza (1745-1794) Catechism and Dialogues (with Zau, below), and various treatises.

4.  Other writings by Burmese include:

- letters by John of Yedana (fl. 1765), notably one on palm-leaf written to Pope Pious VI.  He was also the co-author of the Dialogue between a Phongyi and a Christian (1776).

- Gian Maria Zau (b. 1720) was co-author with Mantegazza of the Burmese Catechism of 1785, and the Dialogues between a Chin and a Siamese (?1789), although this is only extant in Italian.

5.  Other writings by Annamese or Tonkinese include:

- Bento Thien Lich Sur Nuoc Annam (History of Annam) 1659.  (Taylor & Whitmore, 131.)  Reprinted Saigon, 1972.

- Philippe Phan Van Minh Phi nang thi tap (Poetry of Strong Spirit) c.1760.

- Van Minh, one of many unacknowledged 'Vietnamese' writers whose work was utilized by missionary priests, also compiled, with Hoi Van Ngi the Thanh giao yeu ly quoc ngu (Annamite Dictionary) which appeared under the  name of Bishop P.L.G. Pigneau de Behaine (1774).

- Philipe de Rosario Binh (c.1758-1832.  Amongst twenty-three volumes of his writing are:

- Ngat Trinh Kim Thu Khat Chinh Chua Giao (Chronicle of all events of the Catholic Church).  It includes letters and poems by Binh.  Borgiani Tonchinesi (Manuscript volumes) 7 vols.  Vatican library, 1793-1826.

- Catechism and Auszuge Of Al. De Rhodes.  Includes also biographical and historical writings in Annamese, Portuguese and Latin.  Borg. Tonch. 12, 1797.

- Sach So Sang Chep Cac Viec (Truyen Dang Trao).  Lisbon, 1802, reprinted Da Lat, 1968.

- Sach Gu'o'ng Truyen (Books of Examples).  Borg. Tonch. 9 and 16.  Explain the Decalogue, Death, lives of Archangels and Apostles, etc.  Printed, Lisbon, 1814-16.

- Tua Truyren Ong Thanh Phanchico Xavier (Life of the Holy Francis Xavier).  Includes also lives of Annamese martyrs of the eighteenth century and history of the mission in Annam.  Borg. Tonch. 6.  Printed Lisbon, 1818.

- Liturgies, Annamite Ascetic Literature, History of Martyrs of Annam.  Borg. Tonch. 11, i & iv.

- The book of poems by Catherine (Man Tai) c.1635, covered 'the entire sacred history from the creation to ... the ascension of our Lord' and included the coming of de Rhodes mission to Tonkin.  No copy now seems to be extant.

6.  Other writings by Alexandre de Rhodes and his Vietnamese colleagues, including the former Buddhist monk Joachim, and the scholarly catechist Ignatius, include: 

Dictionarium annamiticum, lusitanum, et latinum ... (1651); Histoire du Royaume de Tunquin, et des grands progrez que la predication ... (1651); Relation des progrez de la Foy au Royaume de la Cochinchine ... (1652); Divers voyages et missions du P. Alexandre de Rhodes en la Chine ... (1653); Relation de la Mission des Peres de la Compagnie de Jesus ... (1659).

     Amongst his co-workers was Minh Duc (fl. 1635-1645 - concubine of Lord Nguyen Hoang) who built a chapel in Hue which became a centre for de Rhodes' ministry.

7.  The anonymous volume Chuyen Duc chua Thu (History of our Lord) in Nom is believed to date from the early eighteenth century.

Hoi Dong Tu Giao (c.1790).  Also anonymous, this work presents a summary of exchanges by leaders of four religious traditions (Confucian, Buddhist, Christian and Taoist).  Fourteenth edition printed Ho Chi Minh Ville, 1959.

8.  Many writings by indigenous authors in this region are still to be identified, because of the wide-spread practices of anonymity, of using only such initials as JMJ (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) or AMDG (Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam), or of attribution to missionary authors (sometimes to protect nationals from persecution).  Other writings by the authors named above, or by other nationals such as Joseph Trang (fl. 1685) or Vincent le Paz Liem (1731-1773) are yet to be identified.

9.  Narrative and Linguistic works written by expatriates include:

a) For Burma:

- Writings of Fr. Manrique, dating from 1630, give pictures of life in Arakan (Burma).

- Sigismondo Calchi (1685-1728) compiled a Burmese Dictionary in 1725, which was followed by his Notes on the Study of Burmese.

- Mantegazza published in 1784 his History of the Kingdoms of Ava and Pegu.

- Joseph d'Amato (c.1756-1832) wrote Burmese verse as well as works on the natural history of Burma, and on Buddhist cosmogony and geography.

b) For Siam:

- Francois Pallu Relation abregee des missions et des voyages des eveques francois, envoyez aux Royaumes de la Chine, Cochinchine, Tonquin, Siam.  Paris, Denys Bechet, 1668.

- Guy Tachard Voyage de Siam des peres Jesuites ... Avec leurs Observations Astronomiques Et leurs Remarques de Physique de Geographie d'Hydrographie, et d'Histoire.  Paris, Arnauld Seneuze, 1686.

- Francoise de Choisy Journal ou Suite du Voyage de Siam en forme de Lettres familieres, fait en 1685-6 par M.L.D.C.  Amsterdam, Pierre Morhier, 1687.  Choisy's journal of his voyage appeared in the same year in Paris, and a new edition in 1930.

- Marcel Le Blanc Histoire de la Revolution de Royaume de Siam Arrive en l'annee 1688.  Lyon, Horace Molin, 1692.

c. For Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina:

- La Relation sur le Tonkin - Relation du Voyage fait au Royaume de Tunqiun nouvellement decouvert, by Guiliano Baldinotti (1591-1631), printed in Macao, 1626.

- Relation de progrez de la Foy au Royaume de la Cochinchine by Metello Saccano (1612-1662), printed by S. Cramoisy in Paris, 1653.

- Relation de la Nouvelle Mission ... au Royaume de la Cochinchine by Christoforo Borri.  Reprinted Saigon, 1931.

- Relation Nouvelle et Curieuse des Royaumes de Tunquin et de Lao by Pere Mariny Romain.  Paris, Gervais Crouzier, 1666.

Selected References

 Ba, Vivian  The Early Catholic Missionaries in Burma.  A collected series of articles from Guardian Monthly, Rangoon, c.1957-1964.

U Ba Thein  "A Dictionary of Burmese Authors" in Journal of Burma Royal Asiatic Society X.III, 1920.

Hoang Gia Khanh  "Three Hundred Years of Catholic Writing in Vietnam" in Thuyen Tap Then Hoc (Selected Theological Writings) April, 1993.  (Monthly, Ho Chi Minh Ville.)

Hutchinson, E.W. (tr.)  Adventurers in Siam in the Seventeenth Century.  Bangkok, Royal Asiatic Society, 1940.

U Kyaw Dun (ed.) Anthology of Burmese Literature.  2 vols.  Rangoon, Government Printer, 1953.  

Launay, Adrien  Histoire de la Missiono de Cochinchine 1658-1823: Documents Historiques.  3 vols.  Paris, Tequi, 1923-1925.

--------  Histoire de la Mission du Tonkin: Documents Historiques.  Paris, Libraire Orientale, Vol. 1, 1658-1717, 1927.

Maung Htin Aung  A History of Burma.  New York, Columbia University Press, 1967.

Maung Thu Ta Sawsodawinya Atokpatti (Biographies of Writers).  2d rev. ed.  Rangoon, Hanthawaddy, 1966.

Nguyen Van Trung, et al.  Books and Newspapers by Catholic Authors - Vietnam 17th-19th Centuries.  (In Vietnamese.)  Ho Chi Minh Vill, University of Ho Chi Minh, 1993.

Phan, Peter C.  Mission and Catechesis: Alexandre de Rhodes & Inculturation in Seventeenth-Century Vietnam.  Faith and Cultures Series.  Maryknoll, N.Y., Orbis Books, 1998.

Shortland, John R.  The Persecutions of Annam: A History of Christianity in Cochin China and Tonking.  London, Burns & Oates, 1875.

Schurhammer, Georg  "Annamitische Xavieriusliteratur" in Gesammelte Studen II (Orientalier).  Rome and Lisbon, 1963.

Schmidlin, Joseph  Catholic Mission History, translated by M. Braun.  Techny, Ill., Mission Press, 1933.

Taylor, K.W. & Whitmore, John K. (eds.)  Essays into Vietnamese Pasts.  Studies on Southeast Asia.  Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1995.

Tran Anh Dung  The Catholic Church - Vietnam: A Brief Bibliography of Sources in Vietnamese.  Paris, 1992.


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