Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Rendering Foreignness into Chinese: Yan Fu's Attempt to Translate the Gospel of Mark

Author: Archie C. C. LEE, Distinguished Professor, Center of Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies, Shandong University



Translation of the Bible provides a contested site for the Chris- tian faith to be articulated and formulated into a new literary existence. The process is complicated and involves both resistance and negotiation. The case of transmission of the Bible to the Chinese audience is no exception. The perplexity entails the central issues of rendering an allegedly Western text into a bewildering language by foreign missionaries, who were taken as agents of European and American imperialism. On August 6, 1909, the Shanghai Local Committee of British and Foreign Bible Society resolved to commission Yan Fu (1853-1921) to translate the Gospel of Mark into Chinese. The attempt was really a new venture initiated by the Society and a breakthrough in Chinese Bible translation involving an eminent Chinese translation scholar and literary stylist. This paper intends to examine Yan’s translation and look into the critical discussion of the 33 reviewers on Mark 1-4. Critical issues of the translation of the Bible into Chinese include how and to what extent foreign ideas and concepts are to be rendered in Chinese literature.



Gospel of Mark, translation, Yan Fu, Chinese Bible


Full Text (International Version):

Archie C. C. LEESCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

Archie C. C. LEESCN JSCC.pdf