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The Social Sciences and Biblical Translation
Dietmar Neufeld, editor
Publication Date
October 2008


The Bible is an ancient book, written in a language other than English, describing social and cultural situations incongruent with modern sensibilities. To help readers bridge these gaps, this work examines the translation and interpretation of a set of biblical texts from the perspectives of cultural anthropology and the social sciences. The introduction deals with methodological issues, enabling readers to recognize the differences in translation when words, sentences, and ideas are part of ancient social and cultural systems that shape meaning. The following essays demonstrate how Bible translations can be culturally sensitive, take into account the challenge of social distance, and avoid the dangers of ethnocentric and theological myopia. As a whole, this work shows the importance of making use of the insights of cultural anthropology in an age of ever-increasing manipulation of the biblical text.

The contributors are Alicia Batten, Zeba A. Crook, Richard E. DeMaris, John H. Elliott, Rob Kugler, Carolyn Leeb, Dietmar Neufeld, John J. Pilch, Richard L. Rohrbaugh, and John Sandys-Wunsch.

Dietmar Neufeld, Ph.D. (1991) in Christian Origins, McGill University, is Associate Professor of Church History and Origins of Christianity at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Reconceiving Texts as Speech Acts: An Analysis of I John (Brill).