Huge Task to Get Christians to Buy into Idea of New Version of Zulu Bible

Cape Times (South Africa), January 7, 2015 | Go to article overview

Huge Task to Get Christians to Buy into Idea of New Version of Zulu Bible


BYLINE: Nokuthula Ntuli

The Roman Catholic Church has the mammoth task of getting other Christians to buy into the idea of a new version of the Zulu Bible, which it is currently translating from the "biblical languages" like Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin.

At least 20 people - including translators, theologians, cultural experts, linguists and even a novelist - are involved in putting the new Bible together. The initiative is being co-ordinated from the church's headquarters in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal.

The group started with the New Testament, which was predominantly composed in Greek, and they are now ready to tackle a Hebrew version of the Old Testament.

Project co-ordinator Father Alexis Madela said the existing version posed language problems because some words had not been translated from the Xhosa, which was used as the basis for the current Zulu Bible.

"The new version will attempt to capture the culture and the context in which the original version was written. Also, there are more than 90 versions of the English Bible, so it's only right that Zulu speakers have the same right to choose," he said.

Madela is one of four Catholic church leaders who went to Rome to study biblical languages at the Biblical Institute. The quartet enrolled for a four-year programme to attain fluency in the languages in preparation for the translation project.

"Another challenge that we've had to deal with is the issue of dialects because Zulu has so many of them," said Madela. …

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