Peshitta Forum
The Earliest Chinese Bible Translation - Printable Version

+- Peshitta Forum (
+-- Forum: New Testament (
+--- Forum: General (
+--- Thread: The Earliest Chinese Bible Translation (/showthread.php?tid=1206)

Pages: 1 2

The Earliest Chinese Bible Translation - Jing - 02-10-2005

It is believed the earliest Chinese Bible was translated from the parts of Bible brought by the Nestorian church. The pioneer missionary was called Aluoben in Chinese. There are some unearthed documents or artifacts showing the evidence that church temples (buildings) were built for preaching and Bible translation.

However, it is apparent that all the translated Bible manuscripts were lost.

It is believed that without Bibles is one of the main reasons that Christianity was uprooted when the foreigen missionaries were gone.

I do not know whether or not the Nestorian churches have had the similar traditions to the Roman Catholic Church, who used to forbid the laymen to read the Bible.

- Dan Gan - 02-10-2005

It is an interesting fact!

I would like to know whether the Chinese "YESU" was translated by Western / British missionary or by Nestorian church. How old is the Chinese "Yesu"?

If you are to translate the English / Hebrew / Greek Bible independently(without any knowledge of previous translations) into Chinese today, would you translate "Jesus"(GEESUS) as "Yesu" ?

You can find some information on Christianity in China here:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Have you read this book by by C.H. Kang, Ethel R. Nelson?

[Image: 0570037921.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg]

The authors gave some interesting evidences, showing that a Christian message can be found in many of the most significant Chinese characters. I read this book many years ago. I am not so sure how reliable is this book.

- Dan Gan - 02-10-2005

Olopen's translation of the Scripture - Still in existence today?

The first known Catholic (Nestorian) missionary to come to China, Olopen was a Syrian. The Nestorian faith was known to the Chinese as 'Jiang Jiao'. Olopen's real name might have beeen Abraham, or Yabh_allaha. He traveled from Persia to Changan in 635 A.D., and was greeted by Emperor Tai Zhong with hospitality. Olopen stayed in the palace and translated scripture into Chinese. In 638, Emperor Tai Zhong granted him the permission to preach in China, and built the Da Qin Temple (with 21 monks) on the north side of Changan, at Yining Fang. Olopen soon became the 'National Priest' of China. In 781, Emperor De Zhong erected the Da Qing Monument to commemorate the Nestorian faith and on the monument the achievements of Olopen was recorded.

Source: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

- Jing - 02-11-2005

Dan Gan Wrote:It is an interesting fact!

I would like to know whether the Chinese "YESU" was translated by Western / British missionary or by Nestorian church. How old is the Chinese "Yesu"?

If you are to translate the English / Hebrew / Greek Bible independently(without any knowledge of previous translations) into Chinese today, would you translate "Jesus"(GEESUS) as "Yesu" ?


Hi Bro

Thanks for the information site and your reposting here.

I have been trying to find out how Chinese YESU was originally transliterated but I fail upto now.

To me, YESU is the very same thing as Jesus and as Yeshua and as Joshua concerning who they refers to. Chinese transliteration/or translation for a foreign name is off the rule of the alphabetic language systems. And ancient translation rules are different from modern ones. The most popular Chinese union Bible version has been used for more than 80 years though there had been many different versions of Chinese Bible. The closest sound is NOT the goal in the Chinese transliteration rules. Chinese transliteration cares more than just prounciation.

I observe, from how YESU is prounounced in Chinese, that YESU has nothing to do with Jesus (similiar in form). The two sound completely different. Instead, YESU is more close to Yeshua or Joshua (As a Chinese northeaserner, I have troubles to tell any difference betwen SHU and SU...they sound most same...that is the reason why I mispelled my daughter's name from Shuo to Suo. Yes, Suo is my dauther's name, but it should be Shuo in Chinese pinyin). In Chinese, YESU is the unique name for Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If someone used YESU as his name, he is really offensive and will be considered blasphemous by many. However, if someone uses Yeshua or Joshua as their nicknames, they will be acceptable. Most Chinese habe troubles to accept a foreign names as given names unless they are indeed HANIZED. A Chinese girl, for example, can take Mary as her given name as it is HANIZED as MALI and widely accepted. She would be talked about (somehow dispisedly) if she took Elizebeth (sp?) as her name because Elizebeth is Yilisabai (4 characters) in Chinese, and wont be considered as Chinese.

Yes, YESU has been so hanized that some may think the surname of YESU is YE and His Father YEHEHUA (for Jehovah or Yahweh) has the same surname YE. LOL.

And the same, Jidu is Chinese for Christ but the pronouciation seems to have nothing to do with Christ (sound more like Kelaisite).

Neither YESU nor JIDU is Chinese characters, but the prounciations (Pinyin) of Chinese names for Jesus and Christ. Most Chinese Christians never accept English nor Hebrew nor Aramaic nor Greek names for Jesus Christ. That is, no matter how translators translate or transilterate, they still remain accepting YESU JIDU as their Savior though it doesnt hurt if they are told how their JIDU YESU is prounounced in other languages which are not their care.

Another example, no matter how you transliterate Jerusalem, Chinese remain call it Yelusaleng. The same for Israel, Jacob or James, Abraham: they are Yiselie, Yage, Yabolahan, respectively in Chinese.

Olopen will remain Aluoben, not Aluopen in Chinese. The character for "A" has another prounouciation, ie, "E" in Chinese, which sounds almost the same as the first letter of Olopen.

My name is Jing Li in English but Li Jing is only Pinyin of my Chinese name. Taiwanese or Hongkongnese or Korean will take Qing LEE for Jing Li. A professor here always calls me Mr. Lee in his writing though I remain that I am Li. Li is the same name for the Emperor Tang Tai Zong, as Li Shimin was his actual name.

And, another thing interesting, Chinese are not Chinese in Chinese. We call ourselves Zhonghuoren, or Huaren. China is not China in Chinese, but Zhongguo in Chinese. Japanese used to despisely call China by China (Zhina) though calling Chinese or China or Sino- is not offensive.

What I said above is just FYI. It will also answer that name changing will not welcome among Chinese if it is a popular name. However, in the Bible translation from the Aramaic, I would do not have any hesitate to use Misaiya for Messiah as Misaiya is well accepted as an alternative title for Jidu, the Anointed One (concerning my personal belief, Christ does not only refer to the anointed one but also the Spirit of the Anointed One...which is the anointing poured out as the Spirit of God).

Finally, you can see some more examples of how the biblical names are translitered in Chinese...that might suprise you:

Matai for Matthew;
Make for Mark;
Lujia for Luke;
Yuehan for John;

And many others...they sound more like translitered from the Semitic than the Greek or Latin or English.

How to transliterate a name is the least important thing in my eyes and many others. However, that the Message carried by the different languages remains the same is the most important.

I believe every Word in the Bible. Translators fight each other but the Scriptures remain the same. The letters kill, the Spirit quickens. The Spirit of the Truth is more than able to lead a genuine to the all truth allocted to him even the letters of the Bible vary from version to version.

By now, I do believe Paul Younan's interlinear translation of the Peshitta will be the best in the sense that he is a native Aramaic speaker and expert on it. In this I trust that the doctrinical bias will remain the least as he translates it as literal as possible. I take Paul Younan's interlinear translation as a bridge to the Peshitta. A bible student can easily access to the Peshitta through that bridge and he can easily change the parts of the Bridge if he does not feel safe enough.

God bless you.

Pray for us.


- Dan Gan - 02-11-2005

Jing Wrote:Yes, YESU has been so hanized that some may think the surname of YESU is YE and His Father YEHEHUA (for Jehovah or Yahweh) has the same surname YE. LOL.


This is a good example for the reason why we should not LOL or RFOL at others. Why? Because we don't have complete knowledge. We interpret what we see around us in different ways according to the level of knowledge or experience that we have acquired in life.

Anyway, thanks for the lengthy reply. My interest in Chinese "Yesu" is because it sounds like the Syriac "Yeshu'" with the letter ayin silent.

<!-- s:bigups: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/bigups.gif" alt=":bigups:" title="Big Ups" /><!-- s:bigups: -->

Christians in China in 86 ad? - judge - 02-13-2005

Quote:When studying a batch of stone carvings of Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.) stored and exhibited in the Museum of Xuzhou Han Stone Carvings, Jiangsu Province, Christian theology professor Wang Weifan was greatly surprised by some stone engravings demonstrating the Bible stories and designs of early Christian times.

Further studies showed that some of these engravings were made in 86 A.D., or the third year under the reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han Dynasty, 550 years earlier than the world accepted time of Christianity's entrance into China.

The 74-year-old professor, who is also a standing member of the China Christian Council, showed reporter a pile of photos of Han stone carvings and bronze basins taken by him. He also compared the designs on them with that of the Bible, composed of fish, birds, and animals demonstrating how God created the earth.

Designs on these ancient stones displayed the artistic style of early Christian times found in Iraq and Middle East area while bearing the characteristics of China's Eastern Han times.

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... 0750.shtml</a><!-- m -->

- Jing - 02-14-2005

Thanks, judge! That was the very thing I should have put as the first part of my top posting...I gave it up only because I really failed to convey this story into English due to certain technical terms. Along the similar story, there is a saying that Apostle Thomas dropped in China for a while via India.

Somehow, in history, China was not ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ during the early times. Instead, Buddism was accepted. Now, as the Lighting began shining from the East, It has been moving westward...further westward to US, and further westward to the Far East, mostly China...further westward to the starting point...the East or the Middle East. My eyes are on China and the East...we are watching real carefully the time piece of God...Israel. We are seeing how the third literal Temple will be finished.

I see the Peshitta "revival" as another sign of restitutions of all things as promised in the Bible.

- peshitta_enthusiast - 02-14-2005

Jing brother sorry I haven't replied in a while but I have been unbelievably busy. See the news section on my website for why. I received my special software today and I shall hopefully start making your interlinear in awesome format tonight!



- Paul Younan - 02-14-2005

Hi Jing,

Please remember that the Gospel was in China for 1,000 years before America was even founded! China had the Gospel before Russia was converted in 1,000 AD.

By the way, I would love to host any Interlinears on this website. Please consider it.

- peshitta_enthusiast - 02-14-2005

Jing bro, pleas email me on how to TYPE in SimSun font. I have SimSun font installed on my system, but when I choose it and type, it's all blank. Then when I try to be clever and select Chinese that you have written and make it in times new roman (so i can see what you typed to show the caharacters) it shows up as little boxes, even though I have the font and can see the Chinese font itself!

For some reason I cannot type in Chinese, nor can I change your Chinese to a Western font to see how you typed it. How do you type in Chinese? what EXACT font is it. I know when you install the Aramaic font, it puts like 2-3 fonts there, only one of which is the one we type in. Maybe it goes for SimSun Chinese too.



- Jing - 02-18-2005

Paul Younan Wrote:Hi Jing,

Please remember that the Gospel was in China for 1,000 years before America was even founded! China had the Gospel before Russia was converted in 1,000 AD.

By the way, I would love to host any Interlinears on this website. Please consider it.

Dear Paul,


Yes, the Gospel went to Chinese far more earlier. Before I was converted, I had had some emotional problem about the Christianity. I thought, it was not fair a God to love the west more than love the east. To help me overcome this emotional problem, some told me that Job was a great from the east and he might be a Chinese. Though it was not true but it did give me some comfort.

Now, my point was that as I know that as the Gospel went to China at a much earlier time, God had been be considerate to Chinese. Only problem is, Chinese did not have the heart to accept It in any significance. Therefore, the peolpe have to uncover some light buried for a long time.

Current Christianity in China has been overwhelmed by the Gospel from the west. Current Chinese Bibles are mainly early works by many western missionaries from different denominations of different nations. They organized and fund the translation project in China.

I dont know how far the Peshitta Chinese translation can go but seems that no mention has been made that any individual or organization has the burden to do so. I am not gifted with this translation but it is better than nothing I simply started a work. When more people have this burden, I pray God bless you.

Thanks for your offering to host. I have put the Matthew chapter 1 my own website (<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->). It is in a format with Aramaic/English and Chinese. Averagely one version one page.

I dont know how long my own website can last. Therefore, if you find it OK for you, you or anyone else can download the files for Mathew 1. I have put the first five chapters into Chinese. Only because Chris said it is hard for him to put it in your format, have I been trying to work out something my own.

Thanks again.

God bless you!


- Paul Younan - 02-18-2005

From the "Nestorian" monument in Chang-An:

[Image: 3fb35294.jpg]

A website made by my friend, Rev. Kenneth Joseph, an Assyrian minister in Japan:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

His special section on the Chinese Church artifacts:

From an archaeological dig, you can search for manuscripts:

This is from the International Dunhuang Project:

Before the Mongols and Turks cut us apart 700 years ago, there were almost 1,000 years of Christianity.....Aramaic-Christianity, in China. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Maybe God is preparing the way again?

- peshitta_enthusiast - 02-18-2005

Jing, as we discussed, an proper interlinear is nigh on impossible for Chinese but your solution on your website (I finally had a look) is brilliant. I have been extremely busy lately but I promise I will put your stuff on my website TODAY. I made a promise a long time ago to you and my Asian friends and I will fulfill it.

- peshitta_enthusiast - 02-18-2005

Jing bro, it is done

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... hinese.htm</a><!-- m -->

I just have to say that the stuff is beautiful man. I love the "many pronged" format you took. Also freed me up of the one having to make the files which I really really appreciate right now. I mean it's just so awesome the work you have done. I hope and believe Alaha Abba will bless you mightily for your efforts.

And don't worry, my site is "permanent". Maybe even in future it will be "more permanent" and cheaper for me to run if it ever becomes a "proud partner of" hehe <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/wink1.gif" alt="Wink" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> winkety wink

Till next week! Shalom!


- Paul Younan - 02-19-2005


You know you got a home here.