"I really liked that little Genesis booklet. I read it in three days" - a Mainland inmate at Lai Chi Kok Detention Center, May 2010
www.simplebible.info The Simple Bible by Fr John Wotherspoon O.M.I. 胡 頌 恆 神 父 ([email protected] )
Over the years in Hong Kong and on the Mainland, I have found that most "non-Christians" who receive a copy of the Bible, lose interest in reading it after a short while. I have always encouraged people to start with Luke's Gospel, but few get beyond Luke.
So many things in the Bible are difficult for first readers: so many new concepts, so many conflicting stories, so many "un-Christian" ideas.
The Psalms are a special example of this: so much "God,
please strike down my enemies" language.
e.g. Psalm 137.9: "A blessing on him who takes and dashes your babies against the rock".
This is why the Breviary Psalms omit such passages.
This is why the Mass lectionary leaves out so many parts of the Bible.
And this is why the idea of a Simple Bible came about: something
in Chinese and English that could be given to "first readers" that
would be easy to read.
Hopefully after reading the Simple Bible, people will be more interested and better prepared to read the whole Bible.
The Simple Bible is intended first of all for the several thousand Mainland prisoners in Hong Kong. Something to introduce them to Christianity, something they can take home with them. But hopefully it can also be of use for the hundreds of thousands of Mainland visitors who come to Hong Kong each year, as well as local people who find it useful.
After each chapter of the Simple Bible, there is a little prayer - to try to apply the chapter to ordinary life.
The Simple Bible follows the example of Matteo Ricci who strongly believed in "small and simple doses of essentials" for non-believers - or "milk before meat" as St Paul would say.
It is hoped that the whole of the Simple Bible will be on the internet in a year or so. Most of the Old Testament is already there. So, after people receive a booklet containing one book of the Bible, they can access the rest of the books on the internet. Each booklet of the Simple Bible is in pocket size, like the monthly Mass readings reflection booklet "Shalom".
Hopefully, too, Mainland English students will find the Simple Bible useful for improving their English. As well as comparing the English and Chinese text, students can also listen to the English text by clicking a "listen" link provided with each chapter on the internet.
Mainly Catholic names have been used for the Chinese text, and all Chinese names are in green to make them more recognizable. "God" is translated by 神 to make the work more ecumenical.
Maybe someone someday could use the "simple" approach to produce a "Simple Teaching of the Church", a "Simple Church History", a "Simple Life of the Saints" etc - in Chinese and English.
to Chapter 4
Two of Adam and Eve's
sons were Cain and Abel.
|Dear God, please help me not to get angry with other people||亲爱的神，请帮助我不对别人生气|
I am writing to you on behalf of the Editorial Board of our quarterly SHENSI / SPIRIT 《神思》to inquire if you would be interested in writing a short article for one of our up-coming numbers. In May 2010 we intend to publish an issue on “Translating the Bible into Chinese”.
You have recently started a new initiative, providing a bi-lingual simplified bible in pamphlet form geared, as far as I understand, mostly to the marginalized [drug addicts and so on] but of course available to anyone who would find it attractive and useful.
Would it be possible for you to write some reflections on the project, the inspiration and motivation behind it, the methodology etc? The article would not be simply a report, such as might appear in the Sunday Examiner, but more of a reflection on the need, and on responding to that need, to bring the essence of the Bible to those who, being marginalized, would never have any real opportunity to encounter the word of God otherwise.
We would need as manuscript in English by the end of February2010 at the latest to get it translated in time. If you provide a manuscript in Chinese [preferably in electronic for,] mid-march would be the deadline. You may send your manuscript to me by email as above.
As a guideline, on this topic an article in English of between 500 and 1500 words [which would make 1000-3000 Chinese characters in translation] would be fine. Similarly in Chinese something between 1000 and 3000 would suit our purposes. However something short would also be most welcome.
I would be delighted if you could reply, whether you accept or decline the invitation, within a few weeks. This will greatly help our planning.
With many thanks for whatever you can do for us,
God bless you and all your many works,
Seán Ó Cearbhalláin S.J.
cc. Fr Robert Ng S.J.