Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Beato P. Gabriele M. Allegra: Dall'Italia Alla Cina

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Beato P. Gabriele M. Allegra: Dall'Italia Alla Cina

Article excerpt

II Beato P. Gabriele M. Allegra: DalFItalia alia Cina. By Vittorio De Marco. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2014. Pp. 310. euro20,00 paperback. ISBN 978-88-209-9390-0.)

This book is a scholarly biography of Gabriele M. Alegra, O.F.M. (1907-76), who was beatified on September 29, 2012. One of eight children born to pious Sicilian parents, he entered seminary at an early age and soon felt the call to be a missionary to China. After study at the Franciscan College of St. Anthony in Rome, he was ordained in 1930.

In 1615 Pope Paul VI granted permission to the Jesuit missionaries in China to translate the Bible into literary Chinese, but the Jesuits chose instead to place their priorities on catechetical and apologetic works that included translations of portions of the Bible. In the late-seventeenth century Jean Basset, M.E.P. (16621707), completed a partial translation of the New Testament, and in the eighteenth century, Louis de Poirot, S.J. (1735-1813), did a nearly complete translation of the Bible into Chinese, but it was not published until this century (Taibei, 2013). Hence, when Alegra was in his seminary studies in the early-twentieth century, there was still no printed Catholic translation into Chinese of the Bible (a Protestant translation was completed by 1854). Dedicating himself to this work, Allegra studied Hebrew; commenced learning Chinese upon his arrival in Hengyang, China, in 1931; and in 1935 began translating the Bible into Chinese. Health problems necessitated his recuperation in Italy from 1939 to 1941, but he soon resumed his scripture studies. …

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