Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

From Vernacular Version to Easy Wenli Version: A Comparison of Two Versions of Song of Songs Translated by S. I. J. Schereschewsky

Author: LIU Yan, Professor, The Institute of Transcultural Studies, Beijing International Studies University



This article compares portions of two Chinese versions of the Song of Songs by S. I. J. Schereschewsky (1831-1906): the first Mandarin translation (1874) and an Easy Wenli Version (1902). The comparison aims to reveal the unique contribution of Schereschewsky and shed light on the intercultural nature of Bible translation. In analysing the transformation of Song of Songs from Mandarin into Easy Wenli, the translation principles Schereschewsky uses and his contribution to translation theory can be seen. He favors, for example, direct translation and faithfulness to the source language, but he also is a reader-oriented translator. He utilizes different Chinese literary styles and dictions according to the different biblical genres; and offers authoritative commentaries and annotations when needed. Schereschewsky’s two Bible translation versions not only reflect the translatability, the readability, and sinicization and inculturation of the Sacred Word but also reveal Schereschewsky as a vanguard of interliterary and intercultural dialogue between Christian culture and traditional Chinese culture.



Biblical translation, intercultural dialogue, sinicization, Song of Songs, vernacular version, easy wenli version


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