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USCCB helps print English-Chinese Old Testament

U.S. bishops announced the first parallel translation of the Old Testament in English and Chinese, showing signs of renewed evangelization among the Asian community.

“These efforts show the continued growth and strengthening of the faith among Chinese Americans. It helps the Church around the world to understand the history and struggles of the Catholic Church in China,” said Bishop Randolph Calvo of Reno, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.

This parallel translation is published by Bible Vision, a nonprofit group of Chinese Catholic volunteers who promote Scripture study.

Chinese Americans make up the largest Asian population in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. Yet they are a minority among Catholics nationwide at an estimated 340,860.

The new English-Chinese Bible includes text in English on the left column of each page—taken from the New American Bible—and Chinese text on the right column of each page—provided by the Studium Biblicum O.F.M. based in Hong Kong.

“In my viewpoint, this bilingual bible is an evangelization tool for interfaith families and intergenerational Catholics. It is also useful to the agnostics, especially Chinese students and scholars in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries,” said Carolyn Ng of the USCCB.

Although there are many Chinese dialects, this Bible is written in traditional Chinese.

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The first Bible in Chinese was published in 1968 after a 40-year effort by Blessed Father Gabriel Allegra to complete the project.

Subsequent editions of the English-Chinese Bible were published in traditional Chinese, read by Japanese, Koreans and overseas Chinese. Efforts by Chinese to simplify the language and improve literacy made traditional Chinese unintelligible except for those living in mainland China. Later translations of the New Testament were published in traditional Chinese in 2009 and simplified Chinese in 2010.

The USCCB’s announcement of the 2013 Old Testament translation in traditional Chinese would bridge the gap in translations.

The Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs works with other committees to provide more opportunities to engage and evangelize Asian populations.


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