Call for Papers: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

The year 2019 will mark the centenary of the Mandarin Union Version (Heheben 和合本) of the Chinese Bible, which remains the most widely used biblical translation in the Chinese-speaking world, even though it was produced by western Protestant missionaries with the help of Chinese Protestants during the last two decades of the Qing dynasty and the early years of Republican China. To celebrate this occasion, it is proposed that a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society be prepared, so as to offer an opportunity to explore the history and legacy of the Mandarin Union Version, to shed light on the interaction of biblical texts with Chinese culture and society, and to reflect on the place of Bible translation in Chinese Christianity and more broadly speaking, Christianities in East Asia, a region which was influenced by Chinese culture and for which the Chinese language served as a lingua franca for centuries.

Prospective contributors are invited to address the themes including but not limited to the following:

  1. The social, religious and cultural contexts in which the Mandarin Union Version was produced and has been used
  2. The relationship of the Mandarin Union Version with other Chinese Union Versions, i.e. High Wenli, Easy Wenli and Wenli Union Versions
  3. The publishing history of the Mandarin Union Version
  4. The roles of the Mandarin Union Version in Chinese Protestant communities
  5. The literary and linguistic influences of the Mandarin Union Version
  6. The Mandarin Union Version and biblical translations in Chinese dialects
  7. Comparison between the Mandarin Union Version and other Chinese Bible versions
  8. Comparison between the Mandarin Union Version and other biblical translations in East Asia that are in the nature of a ‘union version

The accepted abstracts will form the basis of the proposal to be submitted to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, the editorial office of which has expressed initial interest in this publication project. The decision to publish the submitted manuscripts will be subject to the usual peer review process of the journal. If the proposal for publication is approved and the submitted manuscripts go through the peer review process satisfactorily, it is expected that the special issue will be published as the October issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 2019.

Submission Deadlines

27 January 2017                        Abstract (about 250 words) & Biography (100-150 words)

By the end of February 2017     Notification of Selection

30 September 2017              Manuscripts for Peer Review (about 6,000 words)

The submissions must be based on original research, not be published before, and not be considered for publication elsewhere.

For details about the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, visit  https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-royal-asiatic-society.

For enquiries and submission of abstracts, please contact me, who will serve as the guest editor of the proposed special issue, at ggkwmak@cantab.net.

George Kam Wah Mak
David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University

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