The Old Testament Also Needs Annotations: The National Bible Society of Scotland's Annotated Edition of the Book of Proverbs in the Mandarin Union Version

George K W MAK*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores the path of the National Bible Society of Scotland (NBSS) to publishing its annotated edition of Proverbs in the Mandarin Union Version in China during the Republican era. After providing an overview of how the NBSS became the first Bible society to publish annotated Chinese Gospels and Acts in the 1890s, this article examines why it took more than three decades thereafter for the NBSS to publish an annotated edition of another biblical book. It argues that one of the main reasons was that the NBSS had difficulty securing reputable scholarly Protestant missionaries' services to prepare the necessary annotations. Moreover, this article suggests that the familiarity of the Chinese people with short and pithy sayings was a condition favourable for the reception of Proverbs in China. This, together with the status of the Mandarin Union Version as the standard biblical text for Chinese Protestants, helps explain why the NBSS eventually published an annotated edition of Proverbs in the Mandarin Union Version. Annotations in that edition of Proverbs are analysed to understand how they could help bridge the gaps between Proverbs and its Chinese readers, so as to shed light on why such an edition of Proverbs was well-received as an evangelistic tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biblical annotations
  • Book of Proverbs
  • Charles W. Allan
  • Chinese Bible
  • Late Qing and Republican China
  • Mandarin Union Version
  • National Bible Society of Scotland
  • Protestant missionaries

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