1903  — 1990

Joseph Dehergne

Historian of Jesuit missions in China.

Born in La Gaubretiere, Vendee, France, Dehergne entered the major diocesan seminary at Lucon, Vendee, in 1921. He became a Jesuit novice in 1925 at Beaumont-sur-Oise and was ordained a priest in Paris in 1934. He departed for China in 1936 and two years later began a career of teaching history and French at Aurora University, Shanghai. During this period he published one book and a number of articles, especially in the Bulletin de l’Universite l’Aurore.

Expelled from China in 1951, Dehergne went to Chantilly, France, where he became the librarian and later the archivist in the Jesuit house of studies. In 1959 he received a diploma from the Ecole practique des Hautes Etudes for his study on the French Revolution, for which he received a prize from the Academic Francaise. In 1965 he received his doctorate from the University of Paris. A cofounder with Henri Bernard-Maitre of the triennial Colloque Internationale de Sinologie, at Chantilly, he edited the proceedings of the first three meetings. He continued to assist others in their research on the China mission. He died at La Seilleraye, Thouare, near Nantes.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Joseph Dehergne, Les Vendeens (1793). La “Crande Armee.” La vie regionale (1939), Repertoire des Jesuites de Chine de 1552 a 1800 (1973), and Juifs de Chine: A travers la correspondance inedite des Jesuites du dix-huilieme siecle (1980; 2d ed., 1984; coedited with D. D. Leslie). E. Malatesta, “Necrology,” and T. S. Foss, “Bibliography of Works of Joseph Dehergne, S.J.,” in [Joseph Dehergne and Theodore N. Foss, eds.,], Chine et l’Europe: Evolution et particularites des Rapports Est-Ouest du XVIe au XXe siecle (1991), pp. 306-314.

About the Author

John W. Witek

Associate Professor of East Asian History, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA