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Walter Henry Mednurst and Holy-Bible Translation

the chinese and foreign missionaries were talking the bible translation London Missionary Society Press, as one of the earliest printing press established in China by Christianity-Protestant Missionary in the 19th century. It was also one of the most important bases for modern thoughts transferred to China from west. It also played a vital role in Sino-Euro Cultural exchange history.

In 1843, as the opening of Shanghai, Walter Henry Mednurst, William Lockhart from London Missionary Society established London Missionary Society Press. During the time from 1846 to 1848, a large number of missionaries came to Shanghai such as William Charles MilneJohn, Stronach, William Jones Boone and so on. They took part in London Missionary Society Press. The number of foreign missionaries worked in London Missionary Society Press was not less than 10 people. Those missionaries participated in translating a great many western books in cooperation with Chinese learners when they did some Christianity jobs.

Surely it was a product of cultural invasion. However, the science-technology books they issued objectively broadened people’s horizons and enlightened people’s thoughts. To a great extent, it made a great influence to birth and formation of Chinese modernization. As the earliest Chinese missionary sent by London Missionary Society, and the founder and manager of London Missionary Society Press, Walter Henry Mednurst was an important figure in Sino-Western cultural exchange history. Walter Henry Mednurst was one the most famous and influential foreign missionaries that worked in China in earlier period.

One of most important contributions of Walter Henry Mednurst in China was to organize and manage the translation of Holy Bible, which played a great part in spreading of Christianity culture. In 1823, Robert Morrison completed the job of Bible translation (both Old Testament and New Testament) and issued this translated works in south Asia. This was the earliest Chinese version. The original doxy of Christianity was firstly introduced into China. In 1851, Hong Xiuquan launched the uprising of Taipingtianguo by use of the spirit of Christianity. But this version was not influential because of the religionary forbiddance of China and the limitation of missionary’s Chinese-expression ability.

Walter Henry Mednurst engaged in Missionary job in south Asia for 26 years, hence he deeply understood the importance of bible translation in China. Long before he entered inland China, he had planned to translate the bible into the popular Chinese. After he settled down in Shanghai, the job of Bible translation was written in schedule. The earliest translators were those people organized by the representatives of Protestant. In 1847, Walter Henry Mednurst organized a five-people transition and edition committee under the leadership of himself.

In 1847, they met in residence of Walter Henry Mednurst each day for Bile translation. Although Walter Henry Mednurst and other missionaries understood Chinese and had good oral-expression ability, the English-Chinese version was too obscure and nonfigurative. Such kind of version was much too unwelcome among Chinese people and harmful for Christianity-spread. Hence Walter Henry Mednurst employed Wang Tao as his Chinese assistant for language polishing. With the help of Wang, more literary elements were added. The time of Bible translation was six years. The New Testament they translated was selected as the essential version for promotion by British Protestant Episcopal Church. Up to 1859, this version was published for 10 times until 1920s. In other words, this version was the most-popular Bible Chinese version.