Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Translation of Bible into Non-Russian Languages Promotes Both Spread of Christianity and Survival of Nations who Speak These Languages

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 31 – In the last ten days, a full translation of the Bible has appeared in Komi, a Finno-Ugric nation in the northern portion of European Russia, and partial translations of that book have appeared in Digor, a sub-ethnos of the Ossetians, and the Nogay, a Turkic people in the North Caucasus (nazaccent.ru/content/42300-v-syktyvkare-prezentovali-bibliyu-na-komi-yazyke/ and nazaccent.ru/content/42264-evangeliya-ot-luki-opublikovali-na-digorskom-yazyke-pyatiknizhie-na-nogajskom/).

            Those  behind these three and numerous other translations, including the Institutes for Bible Translations in Stockholm and Moscow, carry them out to spread Christianity, but for more than 150 years, Bible translations have helped to codify non-Russian languages and ensure the survival of the nations who speak them (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/moscow-patriarchate-reviving-ilminsky.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/08/translating-bible-into-languages-of.html).

            Moscow is currently pleased with the way in which such translations promote conversion believing that conversion to Orthodoxy will lead to assimilation to the Russian nation, but it is sometimes alarmed by the ways in which these native language translations help to preserve national languages and identities.

            These translations thus open the way for many of these non-Russian groups to become Christian but remain non-Russian or even become more attached to their language and nationality. That makes keeping track of such translations and their spread especially important. (For lists of such translations and the nations they serve, see ifb.nu/ and ibt.org.ru/ru/media.)

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