Chinese Bibles for Libronix DLS

In response to user requests, Logos recently released two Chinese Bibles for the Libronix Digital Library System. They are both the Chinese Union Version with New Punctuation (CUVNP); one is the Shen Edition (Simplified Chinese) and the other the Shangti Edition (Traditional Chinese).

The Versions
If it seems like there are a lot of modifiers in the names of these Bibles, well, there are. The Chinese Union Version was completed in 1919 and has become the predominant version used by Chinese Protestants. More recently, the punctuation was updated to conform to modern usage.

The Shen edition and the Shangti edition derive their names from the different titles Chinese believers use for God, a debate wrapped up in the history of the Chinese church. Some groups and missionaries have used Shangdi (上帝) while others prefer Shēn (神). Rendering the name of the biblical God into any language has always been fraught with theological implications, dating back a few thousand years, so it’s no surprise that Chinese Bible publishers continue to print Bibles with both variations.

(For much more on the Shangti-Shen controversy and its theological/historical/missiological impact, see the informative SBL Forum article “God’s Asian Names: Rendering the Biblical God in Chinese“.)

So, two names for God and two different scripts: Traditional, which is used in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and by many overseas Chinese communities; and Simplified, used in the People’s Republic of China and Singapore. The Simplified script was developed to boost literacy in the 1950s and 60s and, as you might guess from the name, it is intended to be simpler to read and write. Compare the traditional characters at left with the simplified characters at right:


The Logos Editions
To quote Eli Evans’ post yesterday, “Logos was Unicode before it was even cool to be Unicode.” The early investment we made to build the Libronix DLS as a truly multilingual application back in 2001 means that we can support a complex language like Chinese without having to make radical changes to the architecture.

This also means that our Chinese Bibles are first-class citizens of the digital library right out of the gate, with support for features like highlighting and annotation.


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Tools like Compare Parallel Bible Versions can be used to mark up the textual differences between the two versions, making comparison quite easy.


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The Gee-Whiz Factor
When talking about the multilingual nature of the Libronix Digital Library System, we’ve often said things like, “You could read a Chinese Bible inside a German interface while running Russian Windows.” Probably not practical to 99% of our users, but it sure sounds cool. Well, I didn’t go to the additional effort to install a different Windows interface, but here’s a screenshot that shows what it looks like to use a Chinese Bible in, say, a Swedish interface:


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It’s our vision that the Libronix DLS will continue to play a role in the development of electronic libraries for Christians in every part of the world, regardless of what script they use to represent God’s Holy Scripture.

Comments

  1. These will be greatly appreciated by our Chinese Brothers! I am so excited. To have them in full Libronix format means a much greater level of functionality than the basic readability which was accomplished a few months ago with PBB.
    Hopefully it’s not considered poor taste to mention the PBB versions and some study notes hosted at: stilltruth.com
    The Chinese Union Bible
    and the Lu Zheng Zhong Version (LZZ)
    are both are available in Simplified or Traditional text formats.

  2. Kenneth Siu says:

    I can’t wait to have this capabilty to have the English and Chinese Bibles side by side to help me with my studies.
    Personally, I prefer to use the traditional Chinese text solely because I grew up in Hong Kong and am now serving in a church in Macau. But I am intrigued with the CUNPSMP version, besides my preference is to use Shen rather than Shanti. It would be nice if you can design an interface that combines the traditional Shen version with the NIV.
    All in all, I am looking forward to begin using this added material to my library.
    God bless you,
    Ken