Author: CHENG Xiaojuan, Associate professor at Institute of Comparative Literature and Culture, Henan University
This study re-examines Protestant missionary discussions of Chinese Bible translation, as a lens for viewing the Christian contextualization movement in China today in both its theoretical and practical aspects. Based on articles, mainly taken from The Chinese Recorder (1868-1941), I analyze the discussions diachronically and synchronically to synthesize aspects of the missionaries’ experiences. Although the materials I use focus on the topic of Chinese Bible translation, my study considers how the missionaries dealt with the issues of contextualization of Christianity in China which arose through the translation question. The study concludes that as the missionaries sensed complex levels and shifts in the Chinese context, and made a careful and continual assessment of it, they came to realize the importance of combining together theoretical discussion and Christian practice when attempting to solve specific problem of contextualization. Moreover, the missionaries’ discussions were undertaken within a broad horizon and a particularly effective medium in The Chinese Recorder . Progress and achievement in attempts at contextualization are offset by collisions between different viewpoints, but careful review of these attempts in the past may bring much insight for current efforts in contextualization.
missionary, Bible translation, contextualization of Christianity
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