Johann Adam Schall von Bell, S. J. (1592-1666) was born in Cologne, Germany. He entered the religious order of the Society of Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church at Rome in 1611. In 1622, during the Ming Dynasty, he came to the China mainland to do missionary work. In 1631 Fr. Schall was ordered to serve in the Department of Astronomy. There he translated works of western science into Chinese. He also worked on the calendar and wrote numerous articles on astronomy. During the five year period between 1629 and 1634, Fr. Schall, under the supervision of Hsu Kuang Chi, made over 140 translations. They were compiled into a book titled 〝The Chung Chen Book of Astronomy.〞 At the beginning of the Ching Dynasty, the name of the book was changed to 〝The New Western Calendar Calculations.〞 In 1645 the Ching court conferred on Schall the position of 〝Imperial Director of Astronomy.〞 In 1655 he was appointed Chief Councillor and became the most outstanding representative of the Church at that time.
With diligence and sincerity, Fr. Schall introduced western astronomy and calendar science to the East. At the same time he was a great missionary. With all his accomplishments his place in Chinese history is secure.