A Preliminary Study on the First Selected Translation of The Book of Poetry into French


  • Xiangyan JIANG East China Normal University




The Book of Poetry, Prémare, translation, Christianity, king Wen


This article aims to sketch a preliminary analysis of eight poems from The Book of Poetry, translated into French by the French Jesuit Joseph de Premare (1660–1736) in the early 18th century. Premare implanted the doctrines of Christianity in his translation of the eight poems that were selected from the Greater Odes of the Kingdom (大雅), Minor Odes of the Kingdom (小雅) and the Sacrificial Odes of Zhou (周頌), which were analysed from three aspects: firstly, the theme of the eight odes, king and kingship, allude to the Lord; and the first ode Jing Zhi (敬之), meaning to reverence Tian (敬天) by title, refers virtually to reverence God. Secondly, the Christianized translation is especially obvious in the translation of the words Tian (天), Haotian (昊天), and Shangdi (上帝): these were translated as the God in Christianity. Thirdly, even the story of Paradise Lost in the Bible is implanted in the translation of the ode Zhan Yang (瞻卬). This article also clarifies that because of Premare’s translation the image of the wise king Wen (文王) was shaped and became known in Europe.


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Author Biography

  • Xiangyan JIANG, East China Normal University

    Associate Professor

    International College of Chinese Studies



30. 12. 2015

How to Cite

JIANG, Xiangyan. 2015. “A Preliminary Study on the First Selected Translation of The Book of Poetry into French”. Asian Studies 3 (2): 75-86. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2015.3.2.75-86.

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