Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Lunchtime Seminar [via Zoom]
Spreading the Word of God in Wartime China: The China Bible House in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Dr. George Mak
Department of Religion and Philosophy
Hong Kong Baptist University
Date & Time: 13 April 2021 | 12:00 nn – 1:00 pm (HK Time)
(Registration deadline: 12:00 nn on 12 April 2021. Successful registrants will receive zoom information after the deadline.)
Established by an amalgamation of the China agencies of the British and Foreign Bible Society and the American Bible Society in 1937, the China Bible House (中華聖經會) was the first national Bible Society in China, specializing in Bible translation, publishing and distribution. Its formation was immediately followed by the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), which hindered its development from a foreign-dominated organization into a self-supporting, self-governing one. Drawing on findings from my preliminary archival research on the China Bible House’s work during the war, I will argue in this talk that the China Bible House’s sustained connection with the two foreign Bible societies was instrumental in enabling it to publish and distribute more than twenty-two million copies of complete Bibles, Testaments and biblical portions over the course of the war. Moreover, I will illustrate that wartime conditions resulted in a provisional consolidation of operation of the China Bible House and the National Bible Society of Scotland, another foreign Bible society working in China, in Kuomintang-controlled area. This paved the way for the official integration of the latter’s work in China into the China Bible House in 1946, which resulted in the union of all foreign Bible societies’ operations in China.
About the Speaker
Dr. George Kam Wah Mak is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University and President of the Society for the Study of History of Christianity in China (2020-2022). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in the United Kingdom and the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Dr. Mak obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge and specializes in the history of Chinese Bible translation. He is the author of Protestant Bible Translation and Mandarin as the National Language of China (Leiden: Brill, 2017) and The British and Foreign Bible Society and the Translation of the Mandarin Chinese Union Version (in Chinese) (Hong Kong: Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, 2010). His research work earned him the Royal Asiatic Society’s Barwis-Holliday Award for Far Eastern Studies in 2014 and Special Mention in Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards 2010.
This series aims to introduce a wide range of cutting-edge research in various disciplines and areas. This is an event co-organized with the “Delta on the Move: The Becoming of the Greater Bay Region, 1700 – 2000” Cluster.