Departmental seminar – Clement Tong – The Roman Connection: the influence of the Vulgate and the Jesuits on the Protestant Chinese Bible

Clement Tong (UBC)

“The Roman Connection: the influence of the Vulgate and the Jesuits on the Protestant Chinese Bible”

Buchanan C203, March 30, 3-4.30

Robert Morrison’s Bible was the first widely-circulated Protestant Chinese bible, and the foundational version which most future missionaries and translators based their translations on. Its influences on the ultimate standard of Chinese bible, the Union Version, were tremendous. Morrison had readily relied on the manuscript of Jesuit priest Jean Basset to complete his New Testament translation, but what is scarcely mentioned is that Basset translated his Chinese New Testament not from the original languages, but from the Latin Vulgate, and that he made quite a few unique contributions to the Jesuit translation tradition. Hence, Morrison had inadvertently embedded many Vulgate and Jesuit characteristics into his version, and into the diction of Chinese Christianity ever since. This talk examines how some of these characteristics have survived over the years and found their way into the modern Union Version, and continue to have influences over Chinese Christians’ understanding of their bible and their faith.

Buchanan C203, March 30, 3-5 PM