"God" and "Logos" in Context: Paradox of Ricoeur’s Linguistic Hospitality and Chinese Bible Translation

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This paper shows how Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of translation and studies of Chinese Bible translations can mutually shed light on each other. To avoid misinterpretations, some missionaries employed phonetic transcription when translating certain controversial religious terms. However, such avoidance of translation was driven by the ideal of perfect translation rejected by Ricoeur. What translation can achieve is equivalence without identity. And by reviewing the debates in the history of Chinese Bible translation, I argue that Bible translators in the past have exemplified the paradigm of Ricoeur’s linguistic hospitality and have contributed to cultural transformations in modern China. The debates have illustrated Ricoeur’s hermeneutical dialogical translation theory and his notion of semantic cultural innovation. They also show complexities and paradoxes involved in linguistic hospitality when translations occur in a culture containing diverse traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalFudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Chinese Bible translation
  • Ethics of translation
  • Linguistic hospitality
  • Paul Ricoeur
  • Untranslatability


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