The Bible in China: The History of the Union Version; or, the Culmination of Protestant Missionary Bible Translation in China
Eber, Irene, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
The Bible in China: The History of the Union Version; or, The Culmination of Protestant Missionary Bible Translation in China.
By Jost Oliver Zetzsche. Sankt AugustinNettetal: Steyler Verlag, 1999. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series 45. Pp. 456. DM 90.
This book, together with its extensive reference materials, is a major contribution to the subject of Bible translations into Chinese. The first part of this study reviews the numerous partial and complete nineteenth-century translations into Chinese (most of them into classical Chinese), and the second presents an exhaustive account of how the most successful translation, the Union Version, was completed in 1919. The author, who is an independent scholar, has made excellent use of vast unpublished archival materials, as well as published reports and letters in missionary journals. Quoting extensively from the translators' letters, he has allowed them to speak about their work and how they evaluated earlier and contemporary translating efforts.
Among several major themes is the author's persuasive argument that the Union Version was the inevitable result of previous translations, which had proved to be unsatisfactory for one reason or another. Closely related is the theme of the function of the Chinese assistants in the translation process and their increasing importance for the Bible in spoken Chinese. …