TIC Talk 66, 2009

Newsletter of the United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse

Article: Mary Douglas and Bible Translation, by Robert Bascom
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Mary Douglas and Bible Translation:
A view from within

by Robert Bascom

It should not be necessary to convince anyone that the work of Mary Douglas, the British anthropologist (d. 2007), is of relevance to the task of Bible translation. Her seminal work, Purity and Danger (1966), has long been required reading for undergraduate students of biblical studies. Since then, besides her further studies in anthropology, Douglas has written several books explicitly dealing with biblical studies (In the Wilderness: The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers, 1993; Leviticus as Literature, 1999; Jacob’s Tears: The Priestly Work of Reconciliation, 2004). These biblical studies excurses are interesting enough and admirable for someone crossing disciplinary lines. But for many, Douglas’s best insights (even for biblical studies) still come from her work in anthropology, following both on her original work on purity and from her over-arching grid-group analysis. Thus what follows will concentrate on these two areas and briefly attempt to relate them to Bible translation.

Purity and taboo systems

Douglas’s approach to purity in the Hebrew Bible is from an anthropological point of view, and she thus sees the concepts of holiness and purity found there in terms of taboo systems anthropologists have encountered world-wide. The basic anthropological idea of the holy is that there are two spheres, material and spiritual, sacred and common, which must be keep apart, and that any unratified crossing of the boundary between them represents a symbolic (understood as literal from within the system) contamination and transgression. There are many symbols of both the spheres and the boundaries which separate them. Arguably one of the most important is the human (or animal) body itself. As Douglas notes in Purity and Danger (65):

. . . the idea of holiness was given an external, physical expression in the wholeness of the body seen as a perfect container . . . rituals work upon the body politic through the medium of the physical body. . . . The body is a model which can stand for any bounded system. . . . We cannot interpret rituals concerning excreta, breast milk, saliva and the rest unless we are prepared to see in the body a symbol of society.

A student of religion and the Bible will not be limited to the purely anthropological interpretation of this symbolism, but will appreciate how this symbolic approach sheds light on the common elements in such seemingly diverse ritual matters as “leprosy,” the insistence on the skin of the sacrificial animal being without any blemish, and cloven hooves in the Hebrew Bible. All of these (and many more) symbols are the means by which a society embodies its notion that there must not be any unwarranted contact between the sacred and the common. Boundaries must be maintained. Veils and talismans (such as small containers with bits of scripture written on them) protect the borders of the body or the holy precincts of the temple, and cleansing rituals protect one from or repair the damage done by transgression, whether purposeful or accidental.

In such a symbolic system holiness is not the same thing as purity. The holy defines the sacred sphere, but purity is the result of maintaining the boundary between the holy and the common whole and intact. It is the crossing over, the boundary violation that is the sin. This is how contact with holy things (or unholy things, which in a taboo system are on the same “holy” side of the holy/common boundary) can make a person unclean. It is handling the canonical books which makes the scribes’ hands unclean at Qumran, and the priests must wash their hands coming and going in and out of the temple. In terms of the body, anything on the inside that ends up on the outside can be a symbol of this transgression.

Interestingly, such symbolic systems apparently are so conceptually powerful that even the moral meanings of holiness and purity are understood in its terms. While in the moral sphere one would expect purity to be synonymous with holiness (pure=holy=good), the Hebrew Bible (as opposed to the New Testament) makes no principled distinction between moral and ritual holiness or purity. In Lev 19 not only are the ritual and the moral injunctions listed together, but throughout the Hebrew Bible the moral commands and prohibitions are often described in terms of the ritual taboo system.

Thus the sexual sins in Lev 20 are framed in terms of the taboo system: “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness” (v. 21). The boundary crossing is that of the brother’s own body, here represented by his wife’s body. It seems to work the other way around as well, in that the ritual transgressions, while not carrying the punishment of moral sins as long as cleansing rituals are performed, are nonetheless taken quite seriously: “You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not bring abomination on yourselves . . .” (v. 25)

An interesting twist to this system can be seen from the classic work of Arnold van Gennep in his Rites of Passage. Van Gennep notes that in many rituals involving change of identity the participant passes through a liminal state during which he or she is neither one thing nor the other. In rites of passage this may be the boundary between boy and man or girl and woman, but in other (e.g., sacrifice) rituals it can be a restoration to purity from impurity (sinner). In such cases it seems to involve a temporary sacralizing of the participant within the frame of the ritual. A special time (Sabbath), special place (temple) and special person (priest) are all usually involved.

Victor Turner (in The Ritual Process) takes this anthropological insight a step further in what he calls the “dramatic reversal” (pp. 166 ff.). He notes that in certain rituals, while in the liminal state, the participants will be called upon to enact the very things which are normally considered taboo. This strange behavior is seen to be precisely related to Douglas’s similar notions of the relatedness of purity and danger. The taboo is the gods’ (or God’s) arena, but in special times and places, mediated through special people, the participant in a ritual can be seen to pass from the common to the sacred sphere, if only temporarily, and there symbolically reach out and touch the untouchable.

In the Hebrew Bible, this symbolic taboo system intersects with blood symbolism (= life, belongs to God) in passages such as Exod 24.8: “Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, ‘See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’” While not all blood contact made one unclean, certainly in this setting a dramatic reversal seems to be at work.

This reversal is referenced in turn in the New Testament (and in Hebrews especially), where Jesus’ blood is supposed to cleanse people from their sin (an odd notion at least without this taboo system background). Even such a seemingly insignificant act such as using his own saliva to heal (Mark 8.23) shows Jesus’ relation to the taboo system. He is seen as the permanent dramatic reversal. Now all days are holy, all money is God’s, and all commandments are radicalized (the law is “fulfilled”). The sacred has invaded the common and sacralized it for those who are able to see it. In the terminology of Hebrews, the temple veil is torn in two and the people can now reach out and touch God. The figure below tries to capture some of this ritual taboo system:

The irony is that many if not most translators into minority languages will understand most of this ritual taboo system in the Hebrew Bible intuitively better than most translation consultants. Those consultants with a fair bit of anthropological research in their background will at least have an outsider’s understanding of such systems, albeit not an intuitive understanding. Yet this outsider’s understanding can help the translator who understands his own systems from the inside distinguish it properly from similar biblical ones. This is not unlike the common linguistic situation in which a translator intuitively understands his or her own language perfectly, while an outside linguist has written the grammar. Mary Douglas, as all good anthropologists, has helped us begin to write the grammars of human behavior.

Grid/group theory of cultures

But Douglas did more than shed light on the idea of the holy. Indeed, she tried to explicitly sketch out a sort of grammar of human behavior in more general terms, and she relentlessly applied it in book after book over many years. Douglas developed what has been termed a grid/group theory of cultures, which is an extension of the idea of personal freedom versus social solidarity put forth by Durkheim as the contrast between community and society. The original social argument was that where there existed a high degree of individual freedom, there was invariably a lack of social solidarity, and vice versa. In other words, in communities where an individual’s business is everyone’s business, that person is nevertheless supported by means of the social structure as long as she or he plays by the rules of the group. In societies where one may do pretty much as one pleases, there is also a marked lack of support from others when anything goes wrong. Douglas mapped this onto a graph which describes not two, but four different cultural patterns.

Cultural Clusters

Isolate –


Hierarchist –

Cooperation within structure




Individualist –

Individual competition



Enclavist –

Cooperation in dissent

Increasing limits on personal freedom // Increasing solidarity ⇒

In this graph, the horizontal axis describes increasing solidarity while increasing limits on options is plotted along the vertical axis. The resulting chart describes four cultural models (“If anyone protests that there are really fifteen, five hundred, or two thousand [cultural] types, or six or eight dimensions, they mistake the exercise. Eleven thousand or a million would not be enough to cover the variety that is out there.” [Douglas 1998, 101]). Douglas argues that cultures tend to cluster in the corners. While hybridization occurs, it is usually really a sort of compartmentalization—using different patterns in different situations. In U.S. politics, for example, those on the right can argue against government involvement in individuals’ lives when the issue is gun ownership, yet argue for government involvement when it comes to helping out business with tax breaks, tariffs, and subsidies. Those on the left also argue for and against government involvement, depending on the issue (social welfare–yes, wiretapping–no).The cultural modes can express themselves in various aspects of life, whether economics, religion, politics, the arts, or even such things as personal taste. The four models can be spelled out further as follows:

Hierarchists – socialist or welfare economies, these are cultures whose various and varied attempts to form a more structured society than that of the individualists give them a great deal of social cohesion but rob them of personal freedom. Knowing and keeping one’s place in society is highly valued.

Individualists – market economies, these are individualist cultures where the free and open exchange of goods, ideas, values, etc., is the primary mode of interaction. Personal achievement is rewarded; failure to achieve on a personal level is not well tolerated. Competition is expected, conspicuous consumption a sign of wealth.

Enclavists – also known as sectarians or communards – are those who both love personal freedom and social solidarity. The only way to achieve the latter without sacrificing the former is through sheer commitment to the group. Utopian groups cluster here. Leadership is weak, membership often temporary.

Isolates – these people are not connected well to their peers, but feel trapped by rules imposed by the dominant cultural forms. They are the homeless, the blue-collar workers on the bottom rung without union support, and others living at the margins of the other cultural models.

Douglas considers isolates and enclavists by their nature to be less stable, and thus less viable as long-term cultural patterns than the individualist and hierarchist models. That is because she believes that what she traces out as the diagonal between individualists and hierarchists (shown below as the diagonal of power) describes the older, but still valid observation (by Durkheim) that individual freedom and social solidarity naturally work as opposing pairs to form the most stable cultures. While isolates and enclavists do exist, they usually do so in some sort of subordinate or dissenting relationship to an individualist and hierarchist culture.

Douglas further maps out the cultural types along the two diagonals of her graph. The first, which she calls the positive diagonal or the diagonal of power, is where most organized groups and societies cluster. Hierarchy and individual competition seem to be the most stable of the cultural groupings. Again, these two types correspond most closely to the original Durkheimian community/society contrast. Though they differ in how they are structured, they both have strong leadership which can reward members (with personal honor and financial gain or by prestige within the group structure) and punish them (with personal failure or poverty or by exclusion from the group) based on how well they are able to play by the rules of the ruling cultural type.

Grids in Bible translation

This theoretical framework provides translation consultants with some interesting possibilities. One can easily expand the model to include cultures relevant to whatever area is under discussion. Thus religion, or one particular form of it, can be classified as shown below:



Isolate –

Some forms of asceticism

Hierarchist –

Roman Catholicism





Individualist –



Enclavist –

New Testament Era Christianity

In this representation, the history of modern Europe and North America can be seen a general move from hierarchist to individualist modes. Whether in the arts (the Renaissance) or science (the Enlightenment) or religion (the Reformation), the trend has been from the upper right to the lower left.

In terms of Bible translation, another table presents itself. Some of the problems which can result may be seen clearly in such a table. Since the Hebrew Bible comes fundamentally out of a hierarchist culture, and the translating cultures (a phrase truer to the dynamic of translation than “receptor cultures”) are also often hierarchist, it should not come as a surprise that many of these translating cultures demonstrate a great deal of interest precisely in the Hebrew Bible, even more so than in the New Testament. Translation consultants, on the other hand, run the risk of understanding the biblical text overwhelmingly in terms of their (usually) individualist cultures and training.


Bible Translation Process

Isolate –

Marginalized persons


Hierarchist –

OT and most translating language cultures and

some national cultures



Individualist –

Most translation consultants and some national cultures


Enclavist –

New Testament and some translating language cultures

This scheme can also be applied to the actual task of translation. The following examples of the biblical concepts of faith, righteousness, and salvation provide test cases for Douglas’s model.

Faith in the Hebrew Bible (a hierarchist culture) is often presented as faithfulness. In a society valuing social solidarity, it is hardly surprising that this should be so. The New Testament situation is already quite different. The nascent Christian community is enclavist, and thus we see faith as trust and hope (cf. Paul’s famous reinterpretation of the Habakkuk citation “The just shall live by (their) faith(fulness).” Yet in modern interpretation (within individualist cultures for the most part) belief or strength of conviction are usually emphasized. For isolates, it is difficult to predict, but one can imagine that faith for them would be both personal and risky.

One can easily see how important it would be to know and account for the translating culture type as well, since one might need to mediate understandings of commitment and loyalty into a culture of personal belief and conviction, or alternately ideas of trust and hope into a culture of social solidarity and hierarchy. Individualist culture often understands commitment negatively as odious duty, and hierarchist culture often sees trust or hope as too weak to sustain the relationships between God and humans described in scripture. Translators need to mediate these understandings one way or the other in order to be true to the presumed original communication as well as ensure that the translating culture comes away with the right understanding.



Isolate –

“Blind” faith?



Hierarchist –

Commitment/loyalty (faithfulness)




Individualist –




Enclavist –


Righteousness is a concept with which translators often wrestle. In Gen 38 the Hebrew Bible relates the story of Judah and Tamar, his daughter-in-law. At the end of the story (which includes Tamar tricking Judah into having sexual relations with her), as Tamar is being brought out to be stoned and in that moment reveals that Judah is the father of the child she is bearing, Judah declares: “She is more righteous than I am.” This sentence is nonsense to most modern readers from individualist cultures. For them, righteousness is personal piety and virtue. Seducing your father-in-law by trickery not only does not qualify one as righteous, but quite the opposite. Yet for a culture of hierarchy, the whole point of the story is that Tamar was simply doing all she could to fulfill the mutual obligations which existed in the relationship between herself and her father-in-law. He owed her a husband, and she owed him an offspring to continue his lineage. That she felt forced to do this by subterfuge and incest is secondary to the real point of righteousness in such a culture. The New Testament at times assumes the hierarchist perspective of the Hebrew Bible with regard to righteousness, but at other times (cf. Romans) seems to take an enclavist position whereby righteousness is more of a state of being in a right relationship based on trust (faith).



Isolate –

Existential good faith

(true to self)


Hierarchist –

Mutual obligations



Individualist –

Personal virtue / rights



Enclavist –

Universal love

Salvation is a concept which normally is discussed in commentaries under the headings of the individual or the community, and of physical or spiritual realization. As a matter of fact, the Hebrew Bible speaks often of salvation in both physical and communal terms (though the Psalms seem to have a personal salvation in view in many contexts as well). The New Testament is many times less clear on both levels, speaking of salvation through/in Christ without specifying directly whether it is personal or communal, physical or spiritual.

In modern contexts of interpretation, there is often a sharp difference between different interpretive communities on the biblical concept in general. Personal spiritual salvation is the preferred interpretation within the individualist cultures of European descent. Yet the Theology of Liberation that has sprung from the more traditional hierarchist soil of Latin America emphasizes both the communal and physical aspects of salvation, and not surprisingly, invokes mainly texts from the Hebrew Bible to support its case. And when the audience is truly marginalized (isolates), the salvation message is often of both a personal and an apocalyptic (future) nature. According to Douglas’s analysis, we would expect just these patterns, as represented in the illustration below.



Isolate –



Hierarchist –






Individualist –




Enclavist –


At this point it is useful to turn to Douglas again. In How Institutions Think, she does not balk at turning her attention to those beliefs and values which her readers would most resist subjecting to the scrutiny of her scheme:

. . . the idea of justice is not a natural response as to an emotion or to an appetite. As an intellectual system, it has a kind of second-order naturalness because it is a necessary condition for human society. Fabricated precisely for the purpose of justifying and stabilizing institutions, it is founded on conventions . . . no single element of justice has innate rightness: for being right it depends upon its generality, its schematic coherence, and its fit with other accepted general principles. Justice is a more or less satisfactory intellectual system designed to secure the coordination of a particular set of institutions. (1986, 114)

Douglas examines the concept of justice in the context of the individualist cultural pattern within which both she and most of her readers live:

The more the discrimination by birth and the larger the gap between the entitlements of different classes, the more we would condemn the inequality of it. Yet, however vehemently we assert our own principles of justice, they are still the principles which have emerged over the last two hundred years, along with the emergence of an economic system based on individual contract. Turning itself from a horizontal pattern of integration to a vertical one . . . [t]he result has been the sacralization of a society based on an extravagant use of energy unprecedent [sic] in the history of the world. This is a society that uses equality of individuals to justify itself, but in world-wide comparisons of justice its economic ascendancy and its efforts to maintain its unequal advantage become hard to justify by its own principles of legitimation. (1986, 118-119)

Thus a network of ideas of loyalty, obligation, and physical salvation of the community within the hierarchist culture of mutual obligation represented by the Hebrew Bible were first transformed in the enclavist culture of the New Testament into concepts of trust, love, and spiritual community salvation. And these in turn have finally been largely distilled out within modern individualist cultures as conviction, virtue, and personal salvation.

In the end, Mary Douglas cannot be held responsible for what use is made of her. Whether or not any of the applications above are found to be convincing, Douglas’s work itself is well worth exploring. She will challenge even the most open-minded person at times, and will always leave one wishing for more.

Works by Mary Douglas

1966. Purity and Danger. London: Penguin.

1979. The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption. New York: Basic Books.

1986. How Institutions Think. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

1992. Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge.

1993. In the Wilderness. Sheffield: JSOT Press.

1996a. Natural Symbols. London: Routledge Press.

1996b. Thought Styles. London: Sage Publications.

1998. Missing persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences. Berkeley: UC Press.

1999a. Implicit Meanings: 2nd Edition: Selected Essays in Anthropology. New York: Routledge.

1999b. Leviticus as Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2004. Jacob’s Tears: The Priestly Work of Reconciliation. New York: Oxford University Press.

2007. Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Other resources

Durkheim, Emile. 1997 (c 1984). The Division of Labor in Society. Tr. W. D. Halls from De la division du travail social (1893). The Free Press.

Hendel, Ronald and Saul M. Olyan. 2008. “Beyond Purity and Danger: Mary Douglas and the Hebrew Bible.” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 8, Article 7. An introduction to five articles that engage Douglas’s studies of the Hebrew Bible from a variety of perspectives and on a variety of topics. http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/JHS/Articles/article_84.pdf. (Accessed 30 January 2009.)

New World Encyclopedia contributors. “Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft,” with subsection “Durkheim’s use of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.” New World Encyclopedia. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gemeinschaft_and_Gesellschaft#Durkheim.27s_use_of_Gemeinschaft_and_Gesellschaft. (Accessed 30 January 2009.)

“Ouvrages de Mary Douglas.” Université de Neuchâtel, Institut d’ethnologie. http://www.unine.ch/ethno/biblio/2000douglas.html. (Accessed 30 January 2009.) Douglas’s bibliography up to the year 2000 and a number of secondary works about Douglas.

Spickard, James V. 1989. “A Guide to Mary Douglas’s Three Versions of Grid/Group Theory.” Sociological Analysis, Vol. 50. A version of this paper was read at the 1987 annual meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature in Boston.

Turner, Victor. 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Antistructure. Chicago: Aldine.

van Gennep, Arnold. 1960. The Rites of Passage. Tr. Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Caffee from Les rites de passage (1909). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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Publication Notices

Bible Translation


Jean C. Loba-Mkole. 2008. “History and Theory of Scripture Translations.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 64.1: 253-266. L.-M. argues for the importance of Bible translation through its historical achievements and theoretical frames of reference. The missionary expansion of Christianity owes its existence to translations—the early Christian communities knew the Bible through the LXX translations while churches today continue to use various translations. Translations shape interpretation, especially when a given interpretation depends on a particular translation. A particular interpretation can also influence a translation. L-M shows how translation theories have been developed to clarify how the transaction source-target is culturally handled, and he discusses some of these theories, namely functional equivalence, relevance, literary-functional equivalence, and intercultural mediation. L-M then focuses on the role of Africa in translation history. (pdf available online)

William Adrian. 2007. “Is Bible Translation ‘Imperialist’? Challenging Another Anti-Christian Bias in the Academy.” Christian Higher Education 6: 289-297. According to the author, the American academy generally believes that Christian missions and Bible translation activity have served as destroyers of cultures, participating in western colonialism and imperialism. A. supports Lamin Sanneh’s viewpoint that Bible translation has helped preserve and support indigenous cultures. The article includes a description of an early Bible translation effort, that of the ninth century in what is now Slovakia.

Pete Unseth. 2008. “Missiology and Orthography: The Unique Contribution of Christian Missionaries in Devising New Scripts.” Missiology 36.3: 357-372. The author examines and compares cases in which a person from outside a language community devised a script for a previously unwritten language.

Ernst R. Wendland. 2008. Finding and Translating the Oral-Aural Elements in Written Language: The Case of the New Testament Epistles, Edwin Mellen Press. W. examines the interlingual, cross-cultural transmission of the Bible in contemporary languages, underscoring the importance of employing a context-based methodology in translation. “Ideally, communicative Bible translation also requires the use of literary (oratorical) verbal forms which somehow reproduce at least part of the artistic beauty and rhetorical power that are present in the original text. This involves not only the attractiveness of imagery, which Mitchell rightly emphasizes, but it entails also the energy and vibrancy of the language as a whole, including in particular the entire phonological dimension of biblical discourse in translation—the varied rhythms and euphony of speech as it is orally communicated to a listening audience, which, I argue, is the primary setting envisaged for the transmission of the Scriptures” (Preface). Ernie has some flyers available for ordering at considerable savings—$40 + $10 postage and is willing to send a flyer “to anyone who wants to take the plunge and order a copy.”

Timothy Wilt and Ernst R. Wendland. 2008. Scripture Frames and Framing: A workbook for Bible translators, SUN PReSS. This workbook develops some of the key ideas presented in Bible Translation: Frames of Reference (ed. T. Wilt, St. Jerome Publishing, 2003). It offers exercises for analyzing biblical texts and communicating them to contemporary audiences. The workbook proceeds by introducing a key aspect of translation, giving exercises that will help clarify understanding of that aspect and of how it relates to translators’ particular communication situations, and then moving on to a related aspect. The workbook helps translators to appreciate the diverse cognitive factors involved in interpreting texts, the sociocultural dynamics at play in biblical texts and in contemporary communities for whom translations are intended, organizational and other situation-specific influences on translation projects, and the literary nature of biblical texts. The last part of the workbook offers an in-depth guide for analyzing and translating three texts: Ruth, Job 28.1-22 and Paul’s letter to Philemon. Translators are encouraged to consider various possibilities for translating the texts, keeping in mind the communication situations of those who are to benefit from the translation.

Phil Goodwin, “Biblical Translation: Stuck on the Tramlines?” Lecture presented to CTIS seminar (Manchester, UK) February 23, 2009. Bible translators’ engagement with George Steiner’s After Babel (1975) rarely proceeds beyond the surface level, and his approach has never been thoroughly realized in a translation project. Recent developments in pragmatic theory create a theoretical framework which is more amenable to assimilating some of Steiner’s insights into mainstream Bible translation. G., a doctoral student at Manchester University working on problems in translating the Gospel of Luke, explores how such a rapprochement might be effected.

 “Dieu parle la langue des hommes”: Études sur la transmission des textes religieux (Ier millénaire). 2007. B. Bakhouche and P. Le Moigne, eds. Éditions du Zèbre. This volume brings together papers from two years of seminars on religious texts, focusing on the texts and their translations, their history, and manuscripts and archeological sites.
Some titles in the first section “Textes religieux et traduction”:

  • Comment traduire la Bible? Au sujet d’un échange de lettre entre Augustin et Jérôme, by A. Fraïsse
  • Coran et langue arabe: quelques réflexions, by A.-L. de Prémare
  • Les traductions latines du Coran dans les relations christiano-mulsumanes, by J. Martinez Gazquez

Nicole Gueunier. 2007. “La Bible: pourquoi tant de traductions?” Théophilyon 12.1: 69-88. G. considers the proliferation of Bible translations in a few European languages, identifying three criteria to explain the phenomenon from the 16th century onward: the history of Christianity, the social level of the readers, and the relationship to contemporary culture, whether it be the humanist legacy and the heritage of Enlightenment, or today, the concept of the Bible as a monument, linked to religious heritage or not.

“Versions and Translations.” SBL Forum lists more than 15 articles on Bible translation (with links) that have appeared in the Forum in the last few years.


The Bible in Arab Christianity. 2007. D. Thomas, ed. Brill. These contributions from the Fifth Mingana Symposium survey the use of the Bible and attitudes towards it in the early and classical Islamic periods. The authors explore early Christian translations of the Bible into Arabic, the use of verses from it to defend Christianity, to interpret the significance of Islam and prove its error, Muslim accusations of corruption of the Bible, and the influences that affected production of Bibles in Muslims lands. Some titles:

  • The Arabic Versions of the Gospels: A Case Study of John 1.1 and 1.18, by Hikmat Kachouh
  • Bible et liturgie chez les Arabes chrétiens (VIe - IXe siècle), by Samir Arbache
  • The Re-written Bible in Arabic: The Paradise Story and Its Exegesis in the Arabic Apocalypse of Peter, by Emmanouela Grypeou
  • The Bible and the Kalam, by David Thomas
  • Is There Room for Corruption in the ‘Books’ of God?, by Clare Wilde
  • `Ammar al-Basri on the Alleged Corruption of the Gospels, by Mark Beaumont
  • The Use and Translation of Scripture in the Apologetic Writings of Abu Ra’ita al-Takriti, by Sandra Keating
  • A Nestorian Arabic Pentateuch used in Western Islamic Lands, by Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala

Joshua Blau. 2007. “Se conservan restos de traducciones árabes de la Biblia de época preislámica?” Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 4: 359-364. Discusses pre-Islamic Bible translations into Arabic.

Translating a Translation: the LXX and Its Modern Translations in the Context of Early Judaism. 2008. H. Ausloos, J. Cook, et al., eds. Peeters. Papers from a “Specialists’ Symposium on the Septuagint Translation” (Leuven, 2006). The symposium’s aim was to survey contemporary research within the realm of the translations of the Septuagint. Septuagint translation projects are discussed from the perspective of their goals and methodology as well as with regard to their application in particular cases. Some titles:

  • Translating the Septuagint: Some Methodological Considerations, by Johann Cook
  • Translation Technique as a Method, by Raija Sollamo
  • ‘La Bible d’Alexandrie’, Which Changes?, by Gilles Dorival
  • Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D): Characteristics of the German Translation Project, by Martin Karrer
  • Translating a Translation: With Examples from the Greek Psalter [NETS], by Albert Pietersma
  • It’s All Greek: The Septuagint and Recent Developments in Translation Studies, by Jacobus A. Naudé
  • A New Spanish Translation of the Septuagint, by Natalio Fernandez Marcos



S. V. Coertze. 2008. “The African Agent Discovered: The Recognition and Involvement of the African Biblical Interpreter in Bible Translation.” Verbum et Ecclesia 29.1: 77-90. C. explores the extent to which the role of the African biblical interpreter is acknowledged in the process of Bible translation, as the Bible and Bible translation form an important part of the establishment of the African church on the continent of Africa. Even though foreign discovery of African agency in Bible translation is evident, indigenous discovery of the same is largely absent. Part of the relevance of this article is for the African church to own and be actively involved in the translation of the Bible into the remaining African languages that are in need of a translation of the Bible. (pdf available online)

Ernst R. Wendland and Salimo Hachibamba. 2007. Galu Wamkota: Missiological Reflections from South-Central Africa. African Books Collective. The authors explore the encounter of the Christian faith with African traditional religion, treating concepts of God, the world of the spirits, of powers and witchcraft, and then how the Bible can be translated into the languages of Zambia and Malawi taking into account changes in concepts of translation and in society.

Latin America

Armando J. Levoratti. 2008. “Traducciones de la Biblia y hermenéutica en Latinoamérica,” in La Biblia en la teología latinoamericana, ed. J. Cervantes Gabarrón, Editorial Verbo Divino, 5-16. (= Reseña Bíblica 59, thematic issue on the Bible in Latin American theology.) On Bible translation and hermeneutics in Latin America.


“The Bible in China.” 2007. Tripod 27. Articles in this thematic issue include translated articles about Chinese Catholic use of the Bible:

  • The Bible in China, by Maria Ko. When Catholic missionaries brought the catechism to China in the closing years of the Ming Dynasty, direct contact with the Bible was discouraged for fear that private interpretation of the texts would lead them astray. However, K. notes that after Vatican Council II, which encouraged reading of the Bible, more and more Chinese Catholics have knowledge of the Bible.
  • The Promotion of the Bible in Contemporary China and Evangelization, by John Baptist Zhang Shijiang. Zhang gives the recent history of the printing of the Bible in both the Catholic and Protestant Christian communities.
  • Ten Years of Small Bible-Study Groups, by Matthew Hu Xiande. The author describes the establishment and growth of small Bible sharing groups in his diocese.

François Barriquand. 2008. “First Comprehensive Translation of the New Testament in Chinese: Fr Jean Basset (1662-1707) and the Scholar John Xu.” Societas Verbi Divini: Verbum SVD 49: 91-119. When the French missionary Jean Basset worked in China, he reported on the lack of Bible translations in Chinese. Eventually, he and the Chinese intellectual John Xu undertook the task. When Bassett died in 1707, he had finished more than 80% of the NT. Historical sources report earlier fragmentary attempts at translation. A major point of contention had always been the choice of an acceptable term for God (the words mainly discussed were Tianzhu and Shangdi). Later Protestant translators seem to have relied on Basset’s work more heavily than Catholics, but in the past century both Christian groups have come up with their own respective versions. Ecumenical efforts towards a common edition which would find general acceptance still have to overcome many difficulties, among them the old quarrel about the right word for God.

Robert Menzies. 2007. “Anti-Charismatic Bias in the Chinese Union Version of the Bible.” Pneuma 29: 86-101. M. asserts that the translators of the Chinese Union Version of the NT deviated from their guiding principles in translating the verb “to prophesy.” They generally translated references to predictive prophecy with the phrase yu yan “to prophesy” or shuo yu yan “to utter a prophecy.” References to prophetic utterances in the early church are translated with phrases associated with preaching, such as zuo xian zhi jiang dao “to preach prophetically.” M. argues that identifying prophecy with preaching is misleading, dismissing predicative prophecy as a valid dimension of πρoφητεω in several instances and incorrectly narrowing the semantic range of the verb to the exposition of Scripture.


David J. Clines. 2007. “Translating Psalm 23.” In Reflection and refraction, ed. R. Rezetko, T. H. Lim, and W. B. Aucker, 67-80. Brill. C. discusses shortcomings in English translations of Psalm 23.

Ellis Deibler. 2008. The New Testament—A Translation for Translators. Ann Arbor, Michigan, Cummins Works. This translation, spearheaded by Deibler, was prepared with Bible translators in mind. There is a Paratext version here. Some of the translation’s features:

  • theme statements for each paragraph or section to help the translator understand the focus of the text.
  • rhetorical questions translated with non-question forms.
  • short sentences used as much as possible, with indications of the proper relationships between sentences
  • abstract nouns converted into full clauses
  • active constructions communicate passive constructions in the original text, in many cases with two alternatives listed, one using a passive construction and one using an active construction
  • all figures of speech identified
  • figures of speech stated with non-figurative expressions
  • simple vocabulary wherever possible
  • words used in their primary sense, that is, the sense that first comes to mind when that word occurs in isolation
  • implicit information that is deemed necessary to understand what the original writer intended to convey is made explicit. The implicit information is in italics for easy identification so that translators can use the information, adapt its ideas, or ignore it, according to the needs of the language.
  • clause order changed in some places to reflect more clearly the chronological or logical order.
  • alternative interpretations in the text are included.

Michael Kuykendall. 2007. “A. S. Worrell’s New Testament: A Landmark Baptist-Pentecostal Bible Translation from the Early Twentieth Century.” Pneuma 29.2: 254-280. English Bible translation has always been ideological, but A. S. Worrell’s New Testament (1904) is a rarity. Worrell was a Landmark Southern Baptist who converted to Pentecostalism late in life, and his Bible version reflects this unique combination of Landmark and Pentecostal sympathies. K. identifies the marks of both theologies and the ways in which Worrell integrated them into his translation.


Gott heißt nicht nur Vater: zur Rede über Gott in den Übersetzungen der “Bibel in gerechter Sprache”. 2008. C. Gerber, B. Joswig, et al., eds. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. Based on papers given at the University of Hamburg in July 2007, this volume considers the translation of the name of God and of metaphors for God with particular reference to the Bibel in gerechter Sprache (2006). Some titles:

  • Die Unübersetzbarkeit des Gottesnamens, by Jürgen Ebach
  • ‘Was ist schlimm daran, Herr zu sagen?’ Zur Übersetzung des Kyrios-Titels im Neuen Testament, by Angela Standhartinger
  • Die Übersetzbarkeit des Gottesnamens: Die Septuaginta und ihre Theologie, by Martin Rösel
  • HErr HERR: Zum Umgang mit dem Gottesnamen in der Lutherbibel, by Charlotte Methuen
  • ‘Gott Vater’ und die abwesenden Väter: Zur Übersetzung von Metaphern am Beispiel der Familienmetaphorik, by Christine Gerber
  • JHWH als Krieger: Zu einer biblischen Gottesmetapher und ihrer Übersetzung in der ‘Bibel in gerechter Sprache’, by Friedhelm Hartenstein


Joshua Ezra Burns. 2007. “A Jewish Neo-Aramaic Translation of Genesis Recorded in Mosul, Iraq, ca. 1841 (Ms. Syr. 7, Houghton Library, Harvard University).” Aramaic studies 5.1: 47-74. The subject of this study is a transcription of the first two chapters of Genesis in an undocumented Jewish Neo-Aramaic literary dialect. The Genesis manuscript is accompanied by another of identical provenance preserving a selection from the Gospel of Matthew in the same ostensibly Jewish dialect. B. suggests a provenance of this pair of documents, and analyzes the contents of the Genesis manuscript in light of other attested Jewish Neo-Aramaic renderings of the text.


T. J. Makutoane and Jackie A. Naudé. 2008. “Towards the Design for a New Bible Translation in Sesotho.” Acta Theologica 28: 1-32. The authors suggest a means of translating the Bible and other religious texts to provide for the needs of a community consisting largely of members not able to read. Literacy is essentially about control of information, memory, beliefs, and distribution. Users living in an oral culture are excluded. Within these communities, the African oral story-telling tradition survives in several forms within the narrative discourse. This article’s key issue is that of a translation strategy applicable to the audiences in question. Ong mentions nine qualities of oral culture in which he characterizes orally expressed thought and expression as opposed to literate thought and expression. The implementation of the features pertaining particularly to the Sesotho oral culture is suggested for the Bible and the translation process in Sesotho.


Susan Lombaard and Jacobus A. Naudé. 2007. “The Translation of Biblical Texts into South African Sign Language.” Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 25.2: 141-152. The authors carried out a study to demonstrate that biblical texts in South African Sign Language (SASL) are more accessible than printed biblical texts for deaf-born South African people whose first language is SASL. The study made use of the functionalist approach in translation to translate six selections from the Bible into SASL. Native signers translated with the assistance of hearing specialists in religion and translation studies. The content of the resulting video was evaluated by members of the Deaf Community of South Africa. The results of the study proved that the signed translation was more accessible for culturally Deaf people than the written counterpart. There is a clear need within the Deaf Community of South Africa for a Bible in SASL.


Mariano Delgado. 2007. “Die spanischen Bibelübersetzungen in der Frühen Neuzeit.” Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte 101: 209-224. Many Spanish translations of the Bible in the early modern era were the work of exiled Spanish Jews sympathetic to the Reformation. They often settled in Geneva or Basel where they had their translations published. D. considers the reasons for Spain’s refusal to translate the Bible into the common language and describes translations that were published outside of Spain: the NT of Francisco de Enzinas (1543), the Ferrara Bible (1553), the NT (1556) and Psalms (1557) of Juan Pérez de Pineda, the Basel Bible of Casiodoro de Reina (1569) and its revision by Cipriano de Valera (1602). The prefaces and exhortations contained in these works reveal their translational approaches and concerns. They also made claims for Bible translation as a liberating force for the Word of God, which was not subject to any human authority. Available online.


Noel Malcolm. 2007. “Comenius, Boyle, Oldenburg, and the Translation of the Bible into Turkish.” Church History and Religious Culture 87.3: 327-362. In the period 1658-1667 there were two separate projects to produce a Turkish translation of the Bible. The first was promoted by Comenius in Holland, and the second by Robert Boyle, undertaken by William Seaman. Attempts were made to coordinate the two projects, but there was little practical cooperation. Seaman’s NT was published in 1666, but the Dutch-commissioned translation remained in manuscript for more than 150 years. M. surveys the history of these projects and their difficulties, the greatest being the lack of sufficient linguistic expertise.

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Biblical Languages


Conservatism and Innovation in the Hebrew Language of the Hellenistic Period: Proceedings of a Fourth International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls & Ben Sira. 2007. J. Joosten and J.-S. Rey, eds. Brill. 15 contributions from a symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls & Ben Sira (Strasbourg 2006). Some titles:

  • The Infinitive Absolute as Finite Verb and Standard Literary Hebrew of the Second Temple Period, by Steven E. Fassberg
  • Constituent Order in Existential Clauses, by Pierre Van Hecke
  • L’excédent massorétique du livre de Jérémie et l’hébreu post-classique, by Jan Joosten
  • Spoken Hebrew of the Late Second Temple Period According to Oral and Written Samaritan Tradition, by Stefan Schorch

Paul Joüon and Takamitsu Muraoka. 2007. Gramática del hebreo bíblico. Estella, Navarra, Spain, Verbo Divino. Spanish translation of Grammaire de l’hébreu biblique.

David E. S. Stein. 2008. “The Noun איש (‘îš) in Biblical Hebrew: A Term of Affiliation.” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 8. Using paradigmatic and syntagmatic linguistic analysis, S. finds that איש is a term that intrinsically conveys relationship, that is, it serves to relate two referents to each other: one that it points to directly (the individual), and one that it points to indirectly (the group or party with which that individual is affiliated). S. also cites evidence to suggest that the feminine counterpart noun, אשה (‘îššâ), should likewise be construed as a term of affiliation. After noting that the primary sense of איש is probably not “adult male” as many lexicons state, S. sketches some implications for glossing, translating, and interpreting the word.

Silviu Tatu. 2007. “Ancient Hebrew and Ugaritic Poetry and Modern Linguistic Tools: An Interdisciplinary Study.” Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 6.17: 47-68. T. introduces the reader to the issue of verbal sequence in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible. After noticing the peculiarities of poetic discourse, he surveys the analyses of the verb in poetry to date, judging them to be insufficient. T.’s study focuses on the Psalter, employing Systemic Functional Grammar to describe the grammatical incidents involving verbs.


A History of Ancient Greek. From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity. 2007. A. F. Christidis, ed. Cambridge University Press. This revised and expanded translation of the Greek original (2001) supplies over 1600 pages of reference material in its articles and bibliographies. Sections include: General linguistic articles; Historical articles; Ancient Greek dialects; Structure and change in the language; Greek in contact with other languages; Translation practices in antiquity; Language and culture; The ancient Greeks and language; The fortunes of ancient Greek (i.e., in later times in terms of study and development in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Enlightenment, modern times); Appendixes include: Accentuation, punctuation, proverbs, maxims, etc.; “Prophetic Discourse,” A.-F. Christidis; “Non-Verbal Communication in Antiquity,” J. N. Bremmer. A few of other titles in this work:

  • Literacy and Orality in the Classical Period, by R. Thomas
  • The Rise of Koine, by V. Bubenik
  • Jewish Greek, by N. de Lange
  • The Greek of the NT, by M. Janse
  • Greek and Semitic Languages: Early Contacts, by E. Masson
  • Greek Influence on Hebrew, by N. de Lange
  • Greek and Syriac, by S. Brock
  • Translation in Antiquity, by S. Brock
  • The Translation (Targum) of the Septuagint, by G. Drettas
  • The Early Christian Greek Vocabulary, by M.-J. Edwards
  • Παραδεισος, by D. J. Kyrtatas
  • Ψυχη, by J. N. Bremmer
  • Language and Translation, by D. N. Maronitis

Pascale Hummel. 2007. De lingua Graeca. Histoire de l’histoire de la langue grecque. Peter Lang. H.’s work is historical, bibliographical, and metalinguistic. She collates writings relating to the Greek language from Antiquity to the 20th century, and proposes a typology of them. The author reflects on the relation between pedagogy and scholarship, humanism and tradition, grammar and philology, as well as on the constitution of Greek as a historical object, and the role of Greek as a linguistic touchstone. Contents: La question du grec; Histoires et bibliographies; Humanisme et pédagogie; Formes et typologie; Phonétique et morphologie; Syntaxe et style; Lexicographie; Philologie historique et comparée.

Robert L. Foster. 2007. “Your, Ours, and Mine: Jesus’ Use of the Prophetic Possessive in the Gospel of Matthew.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 37.1: 3-11. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus prefers the term Father when talking with the disciples, appearing to affirm a special relationship the disciples have with God. In several instances, however, Jesus uses the phrase “my Father,” making a distinction between himself and the disciples. This has the rhetorical force of pressing the disciples, and the implied readers who come to identify with the disciples, to adopt certain actions and avoid others, to keep from losing their honored status in the Jesus-community.

J. R. Daniel Kirk. 2007. “Reconsidering Dikaiōma in Romans 5:16.” Journal of Biblical Literature 126.4: 787-792. K. examines the translation of the term “dikaiōma” in Romans 5:16. He discusses English, German, and French translations which equate the term with “justification” or “acquittal.” The author suggests “reparation” as a more accurate translation based on the way the word is used elsewhere in the letter.

Philip B. Payne. 2008. “1 Tim 2.12 and the Use of οὐδέ to Combine Two Elements to Express a Single Idea.” New Testament Studies 54.2: 235-253. Paul typically uses ουδε to convey a single idea, as do the two closest syntactical parallels to 1 Tim 2.12. In the overwhelming majority of Paul’s and the NT’s ουκ + ουδε + αλλα syntactical constructions, ουδε joins two expressions to convey a single idea in sharp contrast to the following αλλα statement. P. concludes the most natural reading of 1 Tim 2.12 is “I am not permitting a woman to teach and [in combination with this] to assume authority over a man.”

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Translation as Intervention. 2007. J. Munday, ed. Continuum. IATIS Yearbook 2006. The contributors examine the political and social effects of translation in a range of situations, addressing the question “To what extent and in which ways does the translator intervene in the discourse he or she translates?” Some titles:

  • Towards ‘Representational Justice’ in Translation Practice, by Liu Yameng
  • Intervention at Text and Discourse Levels in the Translation of ‘Orate’ Languages, by Basil Hatim

Paul Bandia. 2008. Translation as Reparation: Writing and Translation in Postcolonial Africa. St. Jerome Publishing. B. offers African European-language literature as a case study for postcolonial translation theory, and proposes a new perspective for postcolonial literary criticism informed by theories of translation. The book focuses on translingualism and interculturality in African Europhone literature, highlighting the role of oral culture and artistry in the writing of fiction. The fictionalizing of African orature is viewed in terms of translation and an intercultural writing practice that subverts social and linguistic conventions. The study raises issues related to the politics of language, ideology, identity, and translation. It confirms the place of translation theory in literary criticism and affirms the importance of translation in the circulation of texts, particularly those from minority cultures, in the global marketplace.

In Translation — Reflections, Refractions, Transformations. 2007. P. St-Pierre and P. C. Kar, eds. Benjamins. Contributions in this volume touch on questions of method and on topics (including copyright, cultural hybridity, globalization, identity construction, and minority languages) important for the development of translation studies. Some titles:

  • Translation and Society: The Emergence of a Conceptual Relationship, by Daniel Simeoni
  • Language and Translation: Contesting Conventions, by R. Anthony Lewis
  • Translation Studies, Ethnography and the Production of Knowledge, by Hélène Buzelin
  • Trafficking in Words: Languages, Missionaries and Translators, by Probal Dasgupta
  • Unsafe at Any Speed? Some Unfinished Reflections on the ‘Cultural Turn’ in Translation Studies, by Rajendra Singh
  • Translating Culture Vs. Cultural Translation, by Harish Trivedi

Ma Hui-juan. 2007. “Exploring the Differences between Jin Di’s Translation Theory and Eugene A. Nida’s Translation Theory.” Babel 53.2: 98-111. This paper identifies fundamental differences between the two theories: 1) Nida’s theory is reader-oriented while Jin’s is text-oriented; 2) Nida’s theory is flexible while Jin’s tends to be inflexible; and 3) Jin’s theory is an ideal one in the sense that it cannot be realized in translation practice whereas Nida’s theory is a realistic one. The author gives examples from Jin’s Chinese version of James Joyce’s Ulysses and Bible translations to illustrate the differences between the theories, and explores the reasons that lead to the differences: the deficiency of Nida’s theory in dealing with transference of aesthetic elements for literary translation, and the influence of traditional Chinese translation theories on Jin’s translation principle. When Jin translated Ulysses, he faced the problem of aesthetic transference of literary works and so turned to traditional Chinese translation theory and classic literary criticism.

Tan Zaixi and Shao Lu. 2007. “Translation and the Relativity of Cultural Identities.” Neohelicon 34.1: 197-216. The authors explore translation’s double role as a means of communication across language-cultures: it both constructs and deconstructs, or deconstructs and constructs, the national cultural identity of the source and target texts. The study argues a reciprocal relationship between the two—neither the deconstruction of the source nor the construction of the target is to be taken in the absolute. While the core area of what is regarded as a particular cultural identity is distinct, the peripheral areas are not as clear-cut. The more access there is to other cultural identities, the more cultural common ground there may be, hence the less distinctive the identity of one from the other. The paper argues that the reciprocal relations between the various processes in translation are the expression of the underlying relativity of cultural identity in translation.

Jackie A. Naudé. 2007. “Stylistic Variation in Three English Translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Acta Theologica 27.2: 143-167. N. analyzes stylistic variation in three different English translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He suggests that it boils down to linguistically inscribed preferences in the choice and construction of discourses in the translated texts, i.e., a case of identifying the norms governing the patterning of translational behavior within a given socio-cultural milieu. Vermes demonstrates the tendency to simplify the language used in translation. In the translation by Wise, Abegg, and Cook there is an overall tendency to spell things out rather than leave them implicit. The translation of García Martínez demonstrates the trend towards general textual conventionality as opposed to textual creativity as in the case of the other two translations.

Sarah Sheridan. 2009. “Translating Idiomatic Expressions from English to Irish Sign Language (ISL): Theory and Practice” The Sign Language Translator and Interpreter: Volume 3.1: 69-84. S. discusses the challenges of translating idiomatic expressions and the strategies available to translators/interpreters. She draws on the literature as well as examples observed in a video entitled “Time for Change.” Analysis of the strategies used by two Irish Sign Language/English interpreters offers the opportunity to examine the issues in translating idiomatic expressions into a visual modality. The author observed many similarities in what the literature states and in the examples from the analysis, which suggests that translators of both spoken and signed languages encounter the same challenges and that these processing issues are independent of modality.

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News & Notes

Bible Translation 2009

BT 2009, co-sponsored by the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics and SIL International, will take place at the International Linguistics Center in Dallas, Texas, October 16-20. The theme is “Bible translation in context,” and papers are now being accepted for presentation. Information updates are posted at http://www.gial.edu.

Codex Sinaiticus Project on the Web

The Codex Sinaiticus Project announced the launch of its website, which aims to create a virtual reunification of the Codex. Part of the codex is held in the British Library (347 sheets) and a smaller section at Leipzig University Library (43 sheets), with smaller portions still at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt Sinai, and at the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg. The codex contains half the OT and most of the NT and offers unique evidence of what Greek-speaking Christians read around the year 350. It is believed to be one of the first times the two testaments were published together. At this point more than 300 pages of the codex, mostly from the OT, can be viewed, along with a transcription and physical description of each page.

Biblia Patristica now available online

Biblindex: Index of Biblical Quotations and Allusions in Early Christian Literature. This site allows searches of a corpus of about 400,000 biblical references from the volumes of Biblia Patristica, CNRS Editions, 1975-2000 (ca. 270,000 biblical references, with updates on 5000 references), and unpublished archives of the Center for Patristics Analysis and Documentation (ca. 100,000 references). The unpublished data from the archives include Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Theodoret of Cyrus, Procopius of Gaza, Jerome. These data are unverified and appear in red.

D.Min. in Bible translation to be offered

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary will begin offering a Doctor of Ministry in Bible translation with its first residency scheduled for May 17-28, 2010, in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA. The program is designed for translation consultants/project coordinators, and is primarily a distance-based program requiring three two-week residencies with studies and preparation done in advance, and a final, ministry-based D.Min. thesis-project. The second year residency will take place in conjunction with The Nida School for Translation Studies in Misano, Italy. Co-mentors of the program are Bryan Harmelink (SIL International), and Roy Ciampa (Gordon-Conwell). For more information about the program, contact Roy Ciampa (rciampa(at)gcts.edu), and see the website.


For an extensive listing of open access scholarly journals online, see the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Two journals published by Kamla-Raj Enterprises in India: The Anthropologist: International Journal of Contemporary and Applied Studies of Man is a peer reviewed quarterly journal that publishes original articles, both theoretical and applied, book reviews, and debates on current issues in anthropology. In its eleventh year of publication. Studies of Tribes and Tribals publishes articles on all aspects of tribal life. It aims to serve as a forum of sociologists and anthropologists who share common interests in understanding aboriginals and minorities. Two issues per year. In publication since 2003.

The Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (JOCABS), published by the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), was created to promote scholarship in biblical studies, homiletics, and religious education among Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians. Articles in the first issue (2008) are:

  • When the Messianic Vision Recedes: YHWH’s Kingship & the Mosaic Figure in Second Isaiah and Book Four of the Psalter, by Sophia H.Y. Chen  
  • Melquisedec y la cristologia del Evangelio de Juan, by César Carbullanca Núñez
  • The Panoply of God: The Use of an Ancient Greek Epic Topos in Eph. 6:11-17, by Darko Krstic
  • Biblical Studies and the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions, by Nicolae Roddy and Vahan Hovhanessian

End of TIC TALK 66, 2009.

February, 2009

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