Review：《备终录》（Preparation for Death）（初稿）
（Ma Guang,University of Macao)
Title： Chinese: 备终录；English: Preparation for Death
Author： Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Translator: Tian Wendou (田文都) & Li Di (李杕)
Date Published： 1907
Publisher： Shanghai: Shanghai Tushan Golf Kindly Mother Hall，the third time published（上海土山湾慈母堂第三次重印）.
Number of Pages：281
Type of Binding： soft bound book
Type of Document: Printed (刻印)
Number of Pictures: 1
The author and its translators
Saint Alphonsus Liguori (September 27, 1696 – August 1, 1787) was a Roman Catholic Bishop, spiritual writer, Theologian, and founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, which was known as the “Redemptorists,” an influential religious order. He was canonized in the year 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.
Alphonsus wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. Many of which was translated into 72 languages and he was one of the most widely read Catholic authors. Among his best known works are: The Great Means of Prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament. 
Li Di(1840-1911), a Chuansha(now Huangpu in Shanghai) in Jiangsu Province people. His first name was Hao Ran (浩然), then he change his zi（字）to Wen Yu（问渔）. After baptism, he had a given name Lao Lengzuo (老楞佐).
He was good at traditional Chinese. However, after he accepted the western education, he gave up imperial examinations and began to study Latin, Philosophy and divinity. Then he became the chief editor of Hui Newspaper (《汇报》) and was also the dean Zhendan College (震旦学院) and philosophy professor. He worked very hard and wrote and translated about more than sixty books, such as Analyze Confusion and Warnings（《辨惑危言》）, The Biography of Saint Marry（圣母传》）.
Its different Chinese editions
This book was first translated by Tian Wendou (田文都), who was a Shanxi province people. However, unfortunately, he was dead in 1892 (光绪壬辰年) without completing his translation of this book. Then it was translated by Li Di (李杕) and was finished in 1895 (光绪乙未年). This book I read was thirdly published by Shanghai Tushan Golf Kindly Mother Hall (上海土山湾慈母堂) in 1905 , which was a very important press house in that time and published in that time.
Also, there were several other Chinese editions which are rare now. The following table is about their information:
Un-open to public
Peking University Lib. (PKUL)
Holly Spirit Seminary College lib.
Ancient Books Website
1. all these different editions was written by the same author Saint Alphonsus Liguori(1696-1787) whose name was translated into different Chinese name except for unclear state marked.
2. “慈母堂”is the abbreviation of “上海：上海土山湾慈母堂”(Shanghai, Shanghai Tushan Golf Kindly Mother Hall).
3. Li Di (李杕) has another name Li Wenyu(李问渔).
Outline of contents
This book was a religion pamphlet which was wrote for Catholic. The translator said “先说道，次激情。通篇论世事之幻，神魂之贵。后福之当求，永殃之宜避。言词恳挚，意义醒豁。细阅而玩索之，觉怦然心动，喟然自咎，善念之萌，不期然而自然。信士日阅一首，终而复始，必畏罪情殷，不犯大过。一旦危来仓猝，可无永陷之虞。”
The original Italian book maybe first published in 1755, because the translator said ‘it has been 140 years since it was published’ in 1895. However，one said that it was published in 1758, when St. Alphonsus was 62 years old then.
The scholarship in this book is big. In this book the author showed us that life was short and Hell was real and we were here to prepare our souls for heaven. The author discussed the certainty of death, the uncertainty of the time, the death of the sinner, of the negligent Christian and of the just and how different they were. Maybe it is the best catholic book ever written on preparing for death, said a person who have read it.
In the eyes of the author, our world is a place of suffering and preparation for heaven, in which we will be perfectly and eternally happy. He pointed out that our dear God made it easy for us to save our souls. If someone who did not take advantage of prayers, mass and all the other helps God gave us, he was foolish to do that.
The quality of the translation
When the author translated this book, he did not think that there was necessary to translate it according to its original English book strictly. “This book is not a Bible, so it doesn’t matter to change some parts of this book. ”（“窃意默想书非圣经之此，何妨稍事损益”）
The author did not tell us which edition (English or Italian) did he select as the original book. I found that the author deleted some of contents in English book.
Its true and untruth
I don’t think it’s a good idea for we to discuss what is true and what is untrue in a religion book which was translated into Chinese.
Its value to history
This book’s value history expresses in the following points:
a. It helps us to understand the status of Catholic missionary work in China then and their published books in the late 19 century and the early 20 century.
b. It helps us to understand what the translators’ attitudes towards the original books were. This translator thought that if he translated this book into Chinese just according to the author’s meaning was right and there was no need to translate it very strictly.
We have to say it’s sorry that this book has little help to us to understand the history of that time except these two points.
 This English book was published by J.B.Lippincott & co.( London) in 1869.
- No more