The Two Natures of Bible Translation

We have mentioned that, in an analogy to the Incarnation of Christ, Bible translation too is a reality with two natures, divine and human. The human dimension confirms that the process should make full use of all the scientific and scholarly expertise available. All the areas traditionally or recently associated with translation are indispensable: linguistics, exegesis, historical and cultural studies, anthropology, semiotics, psychology, philosophy etc. All these can be only affirmed here. But the existence of the divine dimension means that Bible translation is also a spiritual discipline. If we agree that there can be something iconic in it, maybe we should allow – or even desire – something similar that is requested from “writers” of icons: an especially dedicated time of prayer and spiritual focus.

This comes from a paper entitled Theology of Translation by . It is a short article, but it takes the theology of translation a step further than either Andrew Walls or Lamin Sanneh and is well worth a read.

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