Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Acta Theologica]]> vol. 29 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Preface</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The Bible and its translations: Colonial and postcolonial encounters with the indigenous</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Hide and seek. Aspects of the dynamics of Bible translation</b>]]> Art may be viewed as fetish, in that it forces meaning on a chaotic world - a dynamic which is briefly illustrated in this article by means of Pablo Picasso's famous painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Similarly, translations of the biblical texts, which result from very complex processes, may be viewed as fetishes. Translation thus requires a process of deducing and reducing meaning from relative chaos. A proper view of the nature of the Bible text and the theoretical load of exegetical and translation activities must be cultivated among lay translation users, particularly in our age of rising fundamentalisms. To this end, five suggestions are offered. This view affords Bible translators a more balanced status, namely one of humanity with dignity, than is at times found in some popular circles which regard Bible translators with severe suspicion. <![CDATA[<b>"By patience, labour and prayer. The voice of the Unseen God in the language of the Bechuana nation." A reflection on the history of Robert Moffat's Setswana Bible (1857)</b>]]> The translation of the Bible into Setswana by Robert Moffat in 1857 was the first in an African language in sub-Sahara Africa and also the first Bible to be printed here - at the mission station at Kuruman, 150 years ago. This Bible translation had an enormous influence, reaching the Batswana people in different countries in Southern Africa and is still held in high esteem by them. The question should be asked why? What made Moffat's Setswana Bible so popular? The relevant primary sources - collected and studied as the focus of this article - suggest that it might have been the daily life and work of this missionary and his wife for nearly half a century amongst the Batswana. Robert and Mary Moffat convinced "the Bechuana nation" to accept and read the Gospel in their own language, by living "the voice of the Unseen God". <![CDATA[<b>The beginning of African biblical interpretation: The Bible among the Batlhaping</b>]]> Prior to the translation of the Bible in Africa, Africans were already engaging with the Bible, initially as an iconic object of power and then as an aural object. In the first section of this article I attempt to detect elements of the early reception of the Bible among the BaTlhaping people. The second section of the article then analyses the theology that lies behind Bible translation, for rendering the Bible into local vernaculars is not a self-evident impulse. The translation of the Bible into local languages must be understood as an aspect of a larger theological project. Finally, the third section of the article reflects on the capacity of the Bible 'to speak for itself', arguing that once the Bible has been translated into a local language it slips, at least partially, out of the grasp of those who translated it. <![CDATA[<b>Reversing the biblical tide: What Kuruman teaches London about mission in a post-colonial era</b>]]> Through a case study focusing on the shift from the London Missionary Society (LMS) to the Council for World Mission (CWM) this essay argues that there is a hermeneutical circle between the Bible and mission. A particular reading of the Bible led the missionaries of the LMS to Africa, and their concern to promote the Bible led to the translation and printing of the Bible in indigenous languages - most famously into Setswana by Robert Moffat at Kuruman. Inevitably, the availability of the Bible in indigenous languages led to new ways of understanding the church and mission from the perspective of the South. This post-colonial dynamic led to changes in the LMS and to the emergence of CWM in 1977. The essay then pursues the argument by showing how over the thirty years of CWM's life there continues to be the development of a biblical vision for mission that takes seriously the perspectives of the post-colonial world. <![CDATA[<b>Missionary interventions in Zulu religious practices: The term for the Supreme Being</b>]]> The traditional Zulu people conducted their religious practices orally and in their appeals to a Supreme Being used the terms uNkulunkulu (the Great-Great-One) or uMvelinqangi (the First-to-Appear) interchangeably. However, with the translation of the Bible into isi-Zulu, the concept of the Supreme Being that was originally known by the Zulu people was changed and cast into a Christian mould. This paper explains these interventions in terms of Toury's work. By using a corpus-based approach, the linguistic choices of the translators will be analysed to demonstrate that the earliest translators adopted the norms of the source text and culture, while in the latest translations the norms of the target culture were adhered to. <![CDATA[<b>Colonial interference in the translations of the Bible into Southern Sotho</b>]]> Bible translation in South Africa was initially conceptualised and executed by either missionary societies or Bible societies. This paper aims to investigate the nature of the translators' encounters and negotiations between the source text culture and the culture of the target audience. For purposes of this study, the translation of cultural terms of two translations of the Bible into Southern Sotho will be considered. The first translation to be discussed was published in 1909 by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society representing colonial empowerment of the dominated target culture by the hegemonic culture of the translators. The second translation discussed was published in 1989 by the Bible Society of South Africa. It represents a process of indigenisation of the source text culture. <![CDATA[<b>Biblical literacy and transnational Mayan liberation movements</b>]]> The Zapatista and other Mayan movements in Mexico and Guatemala are demanding autonomy and respect for indigenous cultures. Still struggling for land-rights lost during colonialism and now suffering from neo-liberal trade policies, Mayan communities have creatively appropriated Christian doctrine to deal with their suffering. This paper examines the central role of the Bible in the mobilisation of Mayan communities where the majority of members identify themselves as Christian as well as Mayan. Revisiting the period of Yoruba identity formation and the Yoruba anti-slavery struggle in the 1800s will help illuminate the role of Christianity in contemporary liberation movements. In both cases, Christianity primarily impacted marginalised populations suffering the effects of colonialism. The scriptures have helped undermine colonial relationships as well as internal hierarchies within indigenous societies. Specifically, Biblical literacy has led to broader identifications across multiple dialects and has given women and lower classes greater access to religious doctrine. <![CDATA[<b>Where have all the bishops gone?</b>]]> This paper investigates how the Greek term and its related variants are translated in English Bible translations. From early translations to the middle of the 20th century, "bishop" was the preferred translation equivalent. However, translations done in the latter half of the 20th century prefer the more generic term "overseer' or a functional equivalent. This apparent neutrality in selecting a more general term has, however, theological implications and may actually violate the principle of sola scriptura. The paper shows that the New Testament functions as a term with meanings similar to its secular use in ancient times as well as its use in the Septuagint. It is suggested that the term boldly declares the colonisation of the kingdoms of men by the kingdom of God. Therefore the translation equivalent also needs to be a term with equivalent semantic content. <![CDATA[<b>The Afrikaans of the Bible translation of 1933</b>]]> The first translators of the Bible had to start their work before the standardisation of Afrikaans. This article firstly explores the difficulties encountered by the Bible translators in breaking with the language of the Statenbijbel. Secondly, it is indicated how translators were able to utilise the insights of linguists and language practitioners who were in the process of standardising the Afrikaans language. The article explores difficulties encountered by the 1933 translators regarding vocabulary, pronouns, verbs and adjectives. From the translations it is clear that by 1922 the Afrikaans is/was/wees already fell into disuse regarding verbs referring to movement and the changing of state. Not one of the translators considered the imperfect seriously; only in the 1933 translation was the historical present tense used in a stylistically satisfactory manner. The plurals of adjectives in a substantive function, and the negative imperative, were not used consistently in the 1933 translation. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a participatory approach to Bible translation (PABT)</b>]]> It is generally acknowledged that the participation of the receptor community may enhance the community's ownership and acceptability of the translation. In spite of this acknowledgement, individuals and organisations engaged in mother tongue translations of the Bible often involve the members of the receptor community in secondary and non-technical aspects of the translation process. Crucial decisions regarding the nature of the translation are often made by the translation team without adequate input from the community. Part of the reason for non-involvement of the receptor communities in the technical aspects of Bible translation has been the lack of an adequate theoretical framework that explains how the community may fit in the translation process. On the basis of Christiane Nord's functionalist model of translation, this article proposes a "Participatory approach to Bible Translation (PABT)" as a strategy that can be applied to involve the receptor community in technical aspects of the translation. <![CDATA[<b>Towards an indigenous Bible (in SASL) for deaf persons</b>]]> The aim of this article is to give a proposal for an indigenous Bible in South African Sign Language (SASL) for Deaf persons. Due to deafness and the use of Sign Language, many Deaf people are often deprived of rights and privileges, simply because of communication problems and lack of understanding by the hearing community. SASL is a visual-gestural system with its own rules. Deaf people focus on the visual and not on the auditive form of communication. Written language can therefore be regarded as a second language. Proposals are made for the conceptualising of the process and product of a signed Bible in electronic format. <![CDATA[<b>Towards the translation of multilingual Bible study guides for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Southern Africa</b>]]> Southern Publishing Association, the publishing house of the SA Seventh-day Adventist Churches, provides Bible Study Guides for its church members. In South Africa, the English source text is translated into five languages, namely Sesotho, isiXhosa, Tshi-Venda, isiZulu and Afrikaans. The study guides are used for home study and in Sabbath School classes. The specific aims of the article include: to discover, by means of an empirical study, whether the translations are meeting the cultural and linguistic needs of the target audience and to determine their views on the current Bible Study Guides; to explore the future of translation in a multilingual, democratic South Africa; to ascertain by means of a survey the difficulties the translators face and to suggest improvements; to establish, by analysis, how the text can be translated functionally; and to establish the effect of globalisation and whether it would be possible to localise the source texts. <![CDATA[<b>Wisdom and narrative: Dealing with complexity and judgement in translator education</b>]]> This article explores wisdom as concept to guide translator education in institutions of higher education. It uses the work of Paul Baltes to posit wisdom as the orchestration of mind and virtue for the common good. Wisdom then signifies the outcome of translator education. Narrative is a mode of communication that is able to foster wisdom. In this respect, the article elaborates on Baker's use of narrative theory in translation studies. In conclusion certain aspects of education are suggested, which would enhance translators' wisdom so that they may be able to judge ill-structured, complicated communication situations in order to enhance communication.