After completing this course, you will be able to:
- Describe key debates on biblical translation from Antiquity to the present
- Situate a historical source on the topic of biblical translation in its historical and literary context
- Critically evaluate scholarly narratives about biblical translation
- Analyse a modern debate on biblical translation and relate this to historical parallels
Since it was first written, the bible has been translated countless times into almost every language of the world. Most readers of the bible depend on translations. The practice of biblical translation can be approached in multiple ways, and it has been discussed by translators, readers, and scholars, throughout the history of the bible. Debates on this topic reflect underlying theological assumptions, e.g., about the status of the (inspired) original as opposed to its translation, and about its (in)accessibility for common believers; but also about language, cultural change, and translatability.
This course equips students to critically evaluate debates on biblical translation, by introducing them to a selection of influential authors on the topic from late Antiquity to the present, from the Church Father Jerome to the twentieth-century scholar Eugene Nida. During the course, we will analyze sources on biblical translation, situating them in their historical and literary context, and identifying major themes and approaches. We will also critically evaluate scholarly narratives on the development of biblical translation over time.