Translation and the Sacred Text (Workshop)

25 November 2015, 14:30 - 16:30

Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Workshop

Nicholas King, SJ (Academic Director, Theology, St Mary’s University, Twickenham)
James Montgomery (Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic, Executive Editor of the Library of Arabic Literature  AMES, Cambridge)

Moderator:  Nathan MacDonald (Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, Divinity, Cambridge)

 

The beginning of Western theorising of translation is often said to arrive with St Jerome’s Letter to Pammachius, in which the translator defends his Latin rendering of the Bible. This seminal text is largely referred to in support of ‘sense-for-sense’ translation, ignoring what might well be considered the more interesting exception to the rule made by St Jerome, namely that sacred scripture, ‘where even the order of the words is God’s doing’, must be translated word-for-word. Many would argue that even this is a claim too far, that sacred texts simply cannot be translated, and that translations from the original language in which the divine message was delivered are mere approximations (A. L. Tibawi, ‘Is the Qur’an translatable?’, in The Muslim World, vol. 52, 1962, pp. 4-16). How do we square such ideas with an evangelising purpose identifiable both in the Bible and the Koran? And where does the idea of the divinely inspired translator fit into such a model?

The workshop will offer participants the opportunity to explore in detail the theological influences on, and consequences resulting from, the different kinds of strategies that are employed when translating sacred texts.

 

 

Open to all.  No registration required
Part of Cambridge Conversation in Translation Research Group Seminar Series

Administrative assistance: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk