1st Edition

Negotiating Religious Gaps The Enterprise of Translating Christian Tracts by Protestant Missionaries in Nineteenth-Century China

By John Lai Copyright 2012
    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book constitutes a pioneering and comprehensive text-in-context study of the translation of Christian tracts (from English into Chinese) by Protestant missionaries in nineteenth-century China. It focuses on the large body of hitherto widely neglected Protestant Chinese books and tracts, putting the translated texts into their socio-political, cultural and ideological contexts. This integrated approach proves to be fruitful and insightful in describing and explaining actual practices of translation, or translation norms. [...] The book addresses the central issue of how original texts were selected, translated and presented by Protestant missionaries under the patronage of various missionary institutions in order to achieve their specific agendas.  Based on primary materials and rare archival documents, this extensive survey of the corpus of Chinese Christian literature fills a significant gap in the evaluation of Protestant missions to China, especially with regard to the role of the Religious Tract Society (RTS). Moreover, the contributions of Chinese collaborators are examined in detail to achieve a more balanced view in accessing the role of missionary translators. The book also sheds light on the sophisticated procedures and strategies of cross-cultural translation, particularly on the facet of religious translation in the Chinese translation tradition. 

    "... John T.P. Lai provides a wealth of information about the development of Protestant religious publishing in late imperial China. Full of interesting data and illustrations, this work should find an audience with church historians and mission scholars."

    Joseph Tse-Hei Lee in Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal 

    Fields of interest: Religious Studies, Translation Studies, History of Christianity in Modern China.

    Contents: Introduction. Chapter 1: Translation, Protestant Missions, and the Chinese Context. Chapter 2: Institutional Patronage: The Ideological Control of Tract Societies. Chapter 3: Teamwork Translation: The Invisibility of Chinese Collaborators. Chapter 4: Christian Tracts in Chinese Costume: A Critical Survey. Chapter 5: Rewriting the Children's Message: The Peep of Day. Chapter 6: Domesticating for Chinese Literati: The Anxious Inquirer. Conclusion Appendices: Appendix A: Protestant Missionary Publishers and Societies in China. Appendix B: Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Translators. Appendix C: Chinese Translations of Christian Literature, 1812-1907. Appendix D: Most Well-Received Christian Literature in Chinese, 1812-1907. Appendix E: Favell L. Mortimer's Works in Chinese. Appendix F: William Muirhead's Works in Chinese. Bibliography. Index.


    John Lai