Catholic Bible Translation in Twentieth-Century China: An Overview

Daniel K.T. Choi, George K W Mak

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Although Catholic missionaries in China during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties penned more than 200 writings in Chinese, there was not a single complete translation of the Bible among them. Yet the Jesuit missionaries as early as 1615 sought and received permission from Rome to translate the Catholic Bible into literary Chinese.1 The oldest extant Chinese version of the Catholic Bible dates back to the early eighteenth century. Jean Basset, a French priest of the Missions Etrangères de Paris (MEP) in Sichuan, with the help of John Xu Ruohan, translated a portion of the New Testament—from the Gospel of Matthew to the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews—from Latin into literary Chinese. Nevertheless, Basset’s work was not published.2 It was not until the twentieth century that Chinese Catholics witnessed the publication of the first complete translation of the Catholic Bible in Chinese, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Version (the Franciscan Biblical Institute version; in Chinese, Sigao Shengjing, 1968).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCatholicism in China, 1900-Present
Subtitle of host publicationThe Development of the Chinese Church
EditorsCindy Yik-yi Chu
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781137353658
ISBN (Print)9781137361745, 9781349472383
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Textual Basis
  • Chinese Translation
  • Greek Text
  • Early Qing Dynasty
  • Complete Translation


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