Bible Translation: Why, How, and Which?

For these two weeks of USC’s Academic Bible Study, we will be discussing the translation of the Bible, both general theories of translation and issues specific to the Biblical texts.

Week 1: How? (How does translation work in general? How is Bible translation different/the same?)

Week 1 Handout

Recommended listening 

Radiolab podcast on translation – if you only have a short amount of time, listen to the first segment, “100 Flowers”.

More Resources

How does translation work in general?

Video: A professional translator talking about language

Video: Bible translators at work

Video: What is translation? Meaning vs. Music

Ken Liu on translating The Three Body Problem from Chinese to English

Issues specific to Bible translation:

Video and article: Tedx talk on some problems with English Bible translations.

And God Said by Joel M. Hoffman, who gave the TEDx talk above.

Video: A translator of Homer on translating Ancient Greek into English

Dr. Robert Alter on translating the Hebrew scriptures

Dr. Bart Ehrman on why the authorship of the Pauline epistles matters

Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament – the version of the NT text that scholars use. It incorporates the latest in textual criticism scholarship.

How to use an interlinear English/Greek Bible



Week 2: Which? (Which translation should I read? Hint: It depends.)

Week 2 Handout

Recommended reading 

New Testament scholar/translator Daniel B. Wallace on different Bible translations and translation theory

More Resources

Video: PBS Documentary on the history of the English Bible

Recent discovery of a draft of the KJV sheds light on the process of translation

NPR segment on the influence of the KJV on the English langauge

Video: Choosing a Bible translation

A chart with basic information about a variety of translations

(Another) chart with basic information about a variety of translations

Bible Study Tools, a translation comparison site with study notes