Divine authority, reference culture, and the concept of translation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Journal / PublicationTaiwan Journal of East Asian Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


Translation presupposes a source text worthy of cultural emulation and transmission, and biblical translation offers a model of divine authority and translation as mere dictation. In a self-centered "reference culture" like that of ancient Greece or China, however, no foreign language or text was considered worthy, and thus no concept of translation was developed. The ambivalence of the idea of translation in such "reference cultures" offers another model and presents a challenge to reconsidering translation as a modern concept. Adequate translation is always located between the two extremes and helps bring a text to a much wider sphere of circulation, influence, and reception.

Research Area(s)

  • Biblical translation, Greek and Chinese culture, Reference culture, Translation of Buddhist sutras, World literature