Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

On the Translation of the English Hymnal into Chinese in the 1920-30's

Author: LIU Boyun, Lecturer, Beijing Language and Culture University; ZHU Shuai, Associate Researcher, China Art Research Institute



This article analyses the translation of the English hymnal by the Chinese Christian Church in the 1920’s-30’s, exploring the texts, methodology, theological thought and the ethos reflected in the process. Yenching University was the primary venue for the translation project, with Liu Tingfang and Yang Yinliu being the most prominent translators, but several denominations contributed to the project. Translations, original works and research articles published in periodicals like Zi Jing (Amethyst) or Sheng shi yu sheng yue (Hymns and Sacred Music) reveal the scope of the endeavor to indigenize Christianity, contemporary concern for universalizing Christianity, and a sympathy towards the Social Gospel movement. Through a close reading of these texts against a background of contemporary social reality, this article shows how translation practices concern not only the original text of the hymnal and the ethos of the times, but also the translators’ theological views.



Chinese Church, Yenching University, hymnal, translation


Full Text (International Version):

LIU Boyun & ZHU ShuaiSCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

LIU Boyun & ZHU ShuaiSCN JSCC.pdf