Culture and Contextualisation

Choosing Illustrations for Translated Scripture
Author: Michelle Petersen (2016)

Choosing to illustrate interesting events in the text may help build audience interest in the story of Scripture, and this interest may be more foundational to audiences’ relationship with God than knowledge of details about what objects and places looked like.

Illustrations often serve motivational functions for readers, especially reluctant readers, increasing their enjoyment of a text and the amount of time they give it. Various audiences require different kinds of Scripture visuals to care about the message and understand it well. Just as translators need to carefully check the words of Scripture, it is important that they also check Scripture illustrations with members of the intended audience, and if needed, change their choices based on this interview feedback. This paper encourages translation teams to check visual elements of Scripture with members of the intended audience, and helps prepare consultants to check illustrations based on local visual vocabulary, grammar and rhetoric.

This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Bible Translation Conference in October 2015, Dallas, Texas.  [more...]

Marriage and culture in West Africa in the light of the Scriptures
Author: Michael Jemphrey, 2015

Michael Jemphrey describes a recent Gospel and Marriage workshop held in West Africa. It brought together the domains of Scripture engagement and anthropology, demonstrating the relevance of the translated Scriptures in addressing local cultural issues.

The workshop included:

  • Discussion of contextualisation and syncretism in the Bible and church history.
  • Overview of marriage in the Old and New Testaments.
  • Presentation of anthropological research methods.
  • Case studies of marriage challenges from different countries in West Africa.
  • Study of several problematic areas of marriage in West Africa in the light of the Scriptures (polygamy, levirate marriage, divorce and remarriage, bride price and the cost of weddings).
  • Research in groups of six delicate questions in the realm of marriage and proposals for contextualised local practices.
  • Production of radio programmes to present each challenge and proposal to the local populations.

Download the workshop description as a PDF document.  [more...]

Author: Matt Valler
Published by: The Alchemy Project, 2014

In this TED-style presentation, Alchemy Project Director, Matt Valler, explores a future for how we use the Bible. Drawing on 4 global mega-trends, Matt details profound cultural changes that are happening all over the world and proposes an approach to the future of Scripture Engagement that responds to these challenges as an opportunity to create something profoundly new.

  [more...]
Theology and Christian Life in Africa
Authors: Rubin Pohor, Michel Kenmogne (eds.)
Published by: PBA Editions, ADG Editions (2012)

Théologie et Vie Chrétienne en Afrique contains the fruit of the Francophone Initiative consultation held in Cotonou, Benin, in August 2011. The papers presented seek to bring together theological reflection, Bible translation and the mission of the church in Africa.

Contents:

"Impact de la théologie des Africains de la première heure sur la vie chrétienne ou la vie de l'Eglise: quelles leçons ?" - Dieudonné P. Aroga Bessong

"L'Impact de la théologie sur la vie chrétienne en Afrique: état des lieux, problèmes et opportunités" - Issiaka Coulibaly, avec une réponse par Bungishabaku Robert Katho

"Perspectives sur la relation entre la théologie et la vie chrétienne" - Elie Koumbem

"L'impact des traductions bibliques sur la vie chrétienne" - Youssouf Dembélé avec une réponse par Ahoga Augustin

"Le vécu de la conversion en milieu évangélique: questions et problèmes" - Rubin Pohor

"Anthropologie et pertinence de la théologie africaine" - Nathanël Yaovi Soédé

"Qui est le Rocher sinon Notre Dieu? Dialogue entre théologiens et traducteurs africains" - Lynell Zogbo

"L'Impact de la traduction de la Bible sur la vie de l'Eglise en Afrique" - Dieudonné P. Aroga Bessong

Price: 6,000 CFA or USD $12 plus postage.
Available from: CABTAL, Yaoundé, Cameroon, or initiative_franc_cabtalatcabtal [dot] org  [more...]

Historical and hermeneutical study of ordinary "readers" transactions with the Bible.
Author: Mote Paulo Magomba
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2004)

Abstract:
This study falls within the area of the Bible in African Christianity, particularly ordinary readers' appropriation of and interpretation of the Bible. It seeks to explore, firstly, the processes of the encounter between the Bible and the indigenous people of Tanzania, specifically the Gogo in central region. Secondly, this thesis seeks to identify some interpretative resources and emerging interpretative practices that have continued into the present of ordinary readers of the Bible.

This exploration is done by tracing the mission activities of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Tanzania, which began in 1844. The work of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) is also examined, particularly the role it has played in making the Book "open" to the indigenous, through translation.

Although there is continuity between past and present readings, this thesis demonstrates that ordinary readings are not static, they are dynamic; and over the years neo-indigenous interpretative moves have emerged which are a combination of both missionary and indigenous interpretative resources and methods. This reality is evident in the contemporary phenomenon of women and youths' songs in central Tanzania. These songs are creative interpretations of the Bible from an ordinary readers' perspective.  [more...]

Manuel pour faire un bon usage de la Bible dans chaque langue et culture
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Presses Bibliques Africaines (2011)

"Ce manuel est un guide efficace pour une bonne préparation à l'étude biblique, à la méditation, à la prédication intégrant les réalitiés culturelles de chaque peuple."

This is the French version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill. It is also available in Portuguese.

The French version can be obtained from Wycliffe Benin in Cotonou or from the SU department of SIL in Nairobi.  [more...]

Enjeux et défis pour l'Afrique francophone
Author: Michel Kenmogne
Published by: Editions CLE, Yaoundé / Wycliffe International, Nairobi (2009)

This book - 'Bible Translation and the Church: Issues and challenges for Francophone Africa' - was written as part of the Francophone Initiative in collaboration with CITAF (Conseil des Institutions Théologiques d’Afrique Francophone) - a consortium of evangelical theological institutions in Africa.

The aim is to introduce into the programme of every theological college a course on the importance of Bible translation and the role of local languages in the mission of the church.

The chapters are divided into five main sections:

  1. Pourquoi traduire la Bible dans les langues locales? (Why translate the Bible into local languages?)
  2. L'histoire de la traduction de la Bible depuis Néhémie jusqu'à nos jours (The history of Bible translation from Nehemiah to today)
  3. Théologie et traduction de la Bible (Theology and Bible translation)
  4. Traduction de la Bible: contexte, structures et méthodes (Bible translation: context, structures and methods)
  5. Bible et héritage colonial francophone (The Bible and the colonial heritage)
  [more...]
Como tornar a Bíblia relevante para todas as línguas e culturas
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Vida Nova (2010)

This is the Brazilian Portuguese version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill.

A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links to useful websites.

This version has two extra chapters in addition to those found in the English version - "Addressing human concerns: Alcohol abuse", and "Sharing your faith with animists".  [more...]

Author: David Beine

"Any new holy writ will be filtered through the cultural presuppositions placed upon it by their [listeners’] existing beliefs."

Beine examines how people’s view of holy writ influences their understanding and use of translated sacred writings. He looks particularly at the main beliefs about holy writ among the major world religions of Asia—Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism—comparing them with the Christian view. Further, he relates a case study of the Newar people of Nepal.   [more...]

Authors: Amy West, Jo Shetler

"Tensions naturally are high in a crisis, but when a person becomes a follower of Christ, some of those practices clash with Scripture, creating new and sometimes intense tensions."

This workshop focused on equipping believers to resist those pressures toward practices that conflict with their allegiance to God, and to overcome the internal tensions created so they might respond in ways that are scripturally grounded while still being culturally meaningful.  [more...]