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The delegates’ version

[BIBLES – CHINESE.]  The New Testament in Chinese translated by the Committee of Delegates, appointed by the Protestant Missionaries in China for the Purpose ….  London Missionary Society’s Press. Shanghae 1852.

8vo., in two parts, pp. [4], ii, ff. 83, 61; with a Chinese title-page printed on yellow paper and a following English title-page; stitched as issued Chinese-style, with the original front wrapper (chipped), and a portion of the rear wrapper, detached; preserved in a folding cloth box.                                                                            

First edition of the important ‘Delegates’ Version’ of the New Testament in Chinese, with a two-page prefatory note in English regarding the translation.  This was the most far-reaching and influential of all the nineteenth-century Bible translations issued in China, superceded only the following century by the Union version.

The translation was the result of a collaborative effort between English and American missionaries after a meeting in Hong Kong in 1843, supervised by a distinguished committee of missionary-translators including Medhurst, Milne and Bridgman.  The intention was for a definitive, unified translation appropriate for use across Hong Kong and the five Treaty Ports, but spaces were to be left for a small number of disputed terms so that different missions might insert their preferred translations.  The Gospels were published in 1850 and the complete New Testament in 1852.  Thereafter the project broke down and the Old Testament was published in several rival translations.

Spillett 59; Darlow & Moule 2498.

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