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The Signs of the Times: Exploring bible translation and beyond

Proceedings of The Heythrop Colloquium on Translation, The Heythrop Centre for Textual Studies, Heythrop College, University of London, 9th-10th September 2013

Wipf & Stock, 2017

Can a translation really be faithful to the original? The question seems simple. But the answers given by experts are remarkably divergent. Some consider fidelity in translation ultimately to lie outside the realms of possibility. Others reject such pessimism, pronouncing translation to be necessarily possible. Yet others prefer to make the best of it, and get on with the messy job. But why do views diverge so radically? Why is the ordinary idea of ‘translation’ turn out to be so knotty?

The question is particularly acute with respect to bible translation, where perception of the text’s authority is often inseparable from notions of its divine origin and where expectations of a text’s transcendent truth must be reconciled with its historical particularity. Bible translators and theologians often view bible translation as essentially distinct from any other kind of translation. Is it?

This volume takes bible translation as a point of departure and moves beyond into the breadth of translation studies. Translators, philosophers, theologians, linguists, historians and anthropologists gather to look again at translation and how we might most usefully conceive it. The theorists are invited to deliberate with translators, those who daily dirty their fingers with the gritty business of translation. The result is a conversation that illuminate anyone who has paused to think about the problems of translation.


Jonathan Norton, Sean Ryan & Charlotte Naylor Davis

1. Language and the translatability of texts, a pragmatist perspective, Marthe Kerkwijk

2. “Rhubarb, Rhubarb...” , Tony Carroll

3. Translator as creator of a text, Charlotte Naylor Davis

4. Why translations fail: reflections on English translations of the Missale Romanum', Nick King, SJ

5. Bible translation: style, historical context, and the ubiquitous presence of the King James Version, John Barton

6. Edward Schillebeeckx and the meaning of scripture, Martin Poulsom, SDB

7. Computer-based tools for Bible translators: Progress, pitfalls and implications for the future, Jon Riding

8. The role of formal languages in computing and the relationship between humans and computer hardware, Joe Norton

9. Capturing the Cultural: Translation as an exercise in cultural interpretation, Matthew Kimberley

10. Lessons for modern translation theory from Aquila and other odd ancient predecessors, James K. Aitken

11. Confessions of the perplexed, Jonathan Norton

12. Accuracy and intention: translating divine descent language in the book of Exodus, Mark Scarlata

bibsoc.jpgThe printing costs of The Signs of the Times are funded by the Bible Society