Bible Translations

Bible Translations in Antiquity
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Bible translations are not a recent phenomenon. The books of the Bible were translated in antiquity as well. Oldest Translations Around the beginning of our era there were also Greek translations (Septuagint and Theodotion) and Aramaic translations (Targumim) of most of the books of the Old ...
Erasmus’ Edition of the New Testament
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For his translation of the New Testament, Luther used the edition of the Greek source text by Erasmus. Back to the Sources Luther’s translation of the Bible was in a sense prepared for by the humanists. They went back to the sources — and back to the biblical sources: the Hebrew Old Testament and ...
Luther’s Translation
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The work of the reformer Martin Luther was extremely influential in the development of Bible translations. Translation from the Source Text Before Luther, all translations had been based on the Latin translation by Jerome, the Vulgate. The Vulgate was “the” Bible of Christianity in the West. After ...
Peshitta
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The Peshitta (“the simple version”) is the Syriac translation of the Bible. It includes both the books of the Old Testament (translated from Hebrew) and the books of the New Testament (translated from Greek). The Syriac translation usually stays close to the Hebrew and Greek source text. The ...
Septuagint
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The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. It literally means “seventy”. It is the oldest translation of the Old Testament. Different Translators over a Long Period The Septuagint is the product of many different translators, over a period of several centuries. Some translators ...
Targumim
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Targumim (plural of Targum) are Aramaic translations of the Hebrew books of the Old Testament. Old Aramaic Translations The oldest Targumim are from the second century AD. They were intended for the Aramaic speaking Jews in Israel and Mesopotamia. Some well-known examples include: Targum Onkelos: ...
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The Bible in Afrikaans
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Afrikaans 1933/1953 Portions of the Bible were translated into Afrikaans for the first time by CP Hoogenhout, A Pannevis and SJ du Toit since 1878. The first complete Bible was, however, only published in 1933. A revised version was published in 1953. Today, the translation is known as the ...
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The Bible in English
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English KJV 1611 The King James Version (KJV), a formal translation where each word of the source text was translated into the target language, was first published in 1611. This translation is traditionally loved and accepted by all Christians. Despite the many modern translations that are ...
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The Bible in isiNdebele
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IsiNdebele 2012 The first book of the Bible to be published in isiNdebele, the Gospel according to Mark, was published in 1977. The New Testament and a selection of Psalms appeared in 1986. In 2012, the translation of the complete Bible was published. IsiNdebele was the last of South Africa’s 11 ...
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The Bible in isiXhosa
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IsiXhosa 1975 and 1996 The earliest Bible translation into isiXhosa was mainly the work of missionaries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society such as William Shaw, William Boyce and others.   The history of the isiXhosa Bible started in 1833 when the first book of the Bible (Luke) was translated in ...
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The Bible in isiZulu
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IsiZulu 1893, 1959 and 2020 Missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) arrived in Port Natal in 1835. This group distinguished themselves as the first translators of the isiZulu Bible. The first complete book of the Bible to be translated into isiZulu was the ...
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The Bible in Sepedi
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Sepedi 1951 and 2000 The translation of the Bible into Sepedi was first undertaken by the missionaries of the Berlin Missionary Society. The pioneer translator was Pastor JFC Knothe. After his death in 1892, the translation work was continued by G Trümpelmann and H Kuschke assisted by A Serote and ...
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The Bible in Sesotho
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Sesotho 1909 and 1989 Eugène Casalis and Samuel Rolland, two missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, started translating the Bible into Sesotho as early as 1836 and the first Scriptures, the Gospels according to Mark and John, were published in 1839.   The translation of the ...
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The Bible in Setswana
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Setswana 1908 and 1970 The pioneer translator of the Bible into Setswana was Robert Moffat who started translating the Bible soon after his arrival in Kuruman in 1817.   Setswana was the first South African language to receive a complete Bible. As each section was translated by Moffat, it was ...
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The Bible in Siswati
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Siswati 1996 The Gospel according to Mark was the first book of the Bible published in this language by the Bible Society of South Africa in 1976. The first complete Bible, translated by Miss H Eschen, Mrs T Zwane (née Maphalala) and Mr A Simelane, was published in 1996.   This easy-to-read ...
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The Bible in Tshivenda
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Tshivenda 1936 and 1998 The pioneer translator of the Bible into Tshivenda was the missionary and linguist Dr Paul Erdmann Schwellnuss who was employed by the Berlin Missionary Society. He completed the first Tshivenda Bible in 1936.   The latest translation, an easy to read translation in ...
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The Bible in Xitsonga
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Xitsonga 1929 and 1989 The pioneer translators of the Bible into Xitsonga were Paul Berthoud, his brother Henri, and Ernest Creux; missionaries of the Swiss-French Mission who came to South Africa in 1875.   In 1892, the first two books of the Bible – The Gospel according to Luke and the Book of ...
Theodotion, Aquila and Symmachus
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After the Septuagint, various other Greek translations of the books of the Old Testament followed. These new translations tried to bring the Greek text closer to the Hebrew text. Theodotion There was Theodotion’s translation, for instance, which is nowadays believed to date from around the start of ...
Vetus Latina
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The oldest Latin translations of books of the New Testament are referred to as the Vetus Latina. They are older than the Vulgate, the fourth century translation by Jerome. But the Vulgate became much more important.
Vulgate
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The Church Father, Jerome, composed a Latin translation of the whole Bible in the fourth century AD. Jerome translated the books of the Old Testament from Hebrew and the books of the New Testament from Greek. He also translated a number of books (from Greek) which later became known as ...