The Unchanging Bible for an Ever-changing Readership: Biblical Translation in Global Culture, Public Lecture

05 July 2023, 17:00 - 05 July 2023, 18:30 Divinity Faculty, Runcie Room

The Revd Prof. John Barton

The Revd Prof. John Barton picture


How far translations of the Bible should adjust the original text to the culture it's being read in, and how far they should challenge that culture by refusing to adjust it? This is the dilemma familiar to all translators of any text: formal equivalence or functional equivalence. But biblical translators have discussed it more than most, because the stakes are so high. Good translations of the Bible are after all a tool for evangelism (thus Eugene Nida, the father of modern Bible translations), and must therefore be very accurate, yet also read very idiomatically - an almost impossible goal to achieve.


John Barton FBA is Emeritus Oriel & Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford. His research focus is in the areas of Biblical canon, biblical ethics, prophets, hermeneutics, and history of biblical scholarship. He is Editor-in-chief, Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Religion. His recent books include The Word: On the Translation of the Bible (2022), A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths (2019), and The Bible: The Basics (2018).


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