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In die Skriflig

versión On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versión impresa ISSN 1018-6441


BRITZ, Dolf. The first translations of the Heidelberg Catechism in Afrikaans. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.2, pp.52-63. ISSN 2305-0853.

This article traces the history of the first Afrikaans translations of the Heidelberg Catechism from primary sources. In a mutual project the three Dutch-Afrikaans and reformed churches translated their Doctrinal Standards (including the Catechism) during the first half of the twentieth century in Afrikaans. In this regard three phases can be distinguished. The initial phase (1913-1927) ended in the decision to assign the work of translation to the Bible translators. That inaugurated the second phase (1927-1936). In 1936, their translation was completed and a Formulierboek was published for the 'three Dutch Churches'. The reception of the Formulierboek constituted the third distinctive phase (1936-1950). Only the Reformed Church in South Africa (GKSA) officially accepted the translation, because it was based on the recognised Dutch text edition prepared by F.L. Rutgers in collaboration with Herman Bavinck and Abraham Kuyper for the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands in 1897. The other two Afrikaans Churches followed different text editions. In 1945, the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHK) published its own translation of the Belydenisskrifte, gebede en formuliere. This translation is based on the (Dutch) critically edited text edition of Van Toornenbergen, published in his book, De symbolische schriften (1895). In 1950 the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK) received its translation of the Doctrinal Standards and Formularies. This translation was rooted in the (Dutch) texts of the Formulierboek der N.G. Kerk in Z. Afrika (1907), which was in turn also embedded in the Van Toornenbergen text tradition.

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