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

Public Lecture by The Revd Prof. John Barton

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.

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