Views of orality and the translation of the Bible.

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This article presents an overview of constructions of orality that played an important role in the theory and practice of modern Bible translation. Three distinct perspectives can be distinguished. First we have the constructions of orality as articulated by Buber and Rosenzweig in the Interbellum period, a view of orality embedded in ideologies and patterns of thinking of nineteenth-century Germany. The second perspective focuses on universalist and dichotomous constructions of orality, informed by mid-twentieth-century linguistics, anthropology and philology that strictly separated, isolated and contrasted oral and written communication. The third perspective has roots in developments in late twentieth-century biblical scholarship and linguistics. It rejects the universal dichotomies of the preceding period as pseudo-universal and empirically false and emphasizes two things, the interconnectedness of oral and written dimensions and the local nature of oral-written interfaces in different linguistic, cultural and historical conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages14
JournalTranslation Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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