Postgraduate Program on Bible Translation in an Orthodox Context

Bible translation stands at a unique intersection of linguistics, translation studies, hermeneutics and biblical studies. It is also an activity which has been carried out continuously from the time of ancient Alexandria (the Septuagint translation) until today, thereby providing a rich corpus of historical material for study. Within this framework the special characteristics of Bible translation in the Orthodox tradition are less well known.

From the 27th of September until the 29th a postgraduate program began at the offices of the Hellenic Bible Society that will lead to the award of a postgraduate degree. The program combines distance learning and residential seminars that will take place in various historical Orthodox centers. The participants in this program, coming from countries such as Greece, Albania, Romania, FYROM, Serbia, and Russia, will attend courses through which they will have the opportunity to get to know the history, theory and practice of Bible translation in the Orthodox world, with special attention paid to the delicate balance of tradition and innovation.

In the first meeting that took place in Athens and was hosted at the offices of the Hellenic Bible Society, participants had the opportunity to attend lectures by esteemed scholars both from Greece and abroad. The lectures were given by: Prof. Emeritus of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Ioannis Karavidopoulos with the title “Bible in Orthodoxy”, the Dean of the Nida Institute Rev. Dr. Phil Towner with the title: “Bible Translation and Bible Societies”, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens Konstantinos Zarras with the title: “Biblical Scholarship in the Orthodox World”, Dr. Simon Crisp, Manager for Interconfessional Scholarship and Training and scholarly editions of the UBS with the title: “Introduction to Translation Studies”, and finally the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Miltiadis Konstantinou with the title: “The Translational Work of the Hellenic Bible Society”.

Those completing the course will be well prepared not only for activity in the specific field of Bible translation, but also for work in areas like textual editing, libraries, documentation centres and museums. The postgraduate program is co-organized by the Hellenic Bible Society, Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society, and Fondazione Universitaria San Pellegrino.

 

 

 


50 new Scripture translations completed last year

In 2015 Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people.

2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 11 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture.

Languages are constantly developing so Bible Societies are also committed to revising existing translations and providing new translations, when requested, to help as many people as possible engage with the message of the Bible today. In 2015 this resulted in a further 20 new translations and revisions plus 2 study editions with the potential to reach over 127 million people.

100 Bibles in 1000 Days

In 2013 United Bible Societies identified 100 full Bibles that could be translated by the end of 2015. We are pleased to report that 90 have completed the translation stage with 53 published and encouraging their communities, and 37 in pre-production or printing.

Please pray for all those working on the remaining 10 translations that they will be able to complete their work as soon as possible. Please also pray for two confidential projects which have been completed but need permission from the authorities before they can be published.

Scripture Access Today

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563 languages (spoken by nearly 5.1 billion people) now have a full Bible and a further 1,334 languages (spoken by 658 million people) have a New Testament. This leaves 281 million people with only some portions of the Bible and a further 497 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all.

United Bible Societies is committed to working towards the day when everyone can access the full Bible – so much work still remains to be done. Furthermore, languages are constantly changing; therefore we are committed to ensuring that existing translations are regularly revised and new translations undertaken to meet the needs of the communities that use them. Bible Societies is currently working on over 400 translation projects around the world.


25th General Assembly of the Hellenic Bible Society

On Saturday March 19th the twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of the Hellenic Bible Society took place at a central hotel in Athens. In an atmosphere of fraternal love of Christ 35 members of the Society gathered from the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Churches. Every year this meeting of the Society’s members is a good opportunity of ecumenical communication by exchanging views with a common goal of distributing the Bible in our country.

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By decision of the Synod of the Church of Greece Metropolite of Demetrias and Almyros, Ignatius is President of the Society, Metropolite of Alexandroupolis, Anthimos is a member of the Board, the Catholic Archbishop of Corfu, Zante and Kefalonia, Ioannis Spiteris is Vice President of the Board. Chairman of the Board is Professor John Kremmydas of the Evangelical Church.

The General Secretary Mr. Michael Chatzigiannis after welcoming the two new members of the General Assembly, Fr. Adamantios Augoustidis, Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Athens and General Archiepiscopal Commissioner of the Archdiocese of Athens and Ms. Vicky Kalfoglou-Kaloterakis, Lecturer in the Department of History and Archeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, he presented the annual report to the members, stating that for the year 2015 the total circulation of printed Bibles, New Testaments and Bible portions were 326.222 copies and audio CDs reached 20.521.

In 2015 the total circulation of printed Bibles, New Testaments and Bible portions were 326.222 copies and audio CDs reached 20.521!


A particular reference was made about special orders accepted by the Society in 2015 which greatly support and assist our work. Specifically: The Gideons International (130,000 copies of the New Testament), Hellenic Ministries (120,000 copies of the New Testament), Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece (10,000 copies of the New Testament), Holy Metropolises Nea Smyrni (2300), Gortyna and Arkadia (1000), Thessaliotis (2000), Demetrias (1000) and Monastery of the Great Meteoron (1000) a total of 7,300 copies of the New Testament 20,000 copies of a special edition of John’s Gospel distributed for free to public Christian Music Events named “Power to change”, with main speaker Tasos Mahairas. These events took place last summer in Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa and Katerini and were supported by Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.

A special event was the awarding of our Society last May at the UBS Publishers Convention in Seoul with the Annie Valloton prize in the category of children’s books for our series “Stories of Kallistratos” by Vasiliki Nevrokopli and illustration by Athena Robie. This is a popular series of children’s books which began in 2012 with the main character Kallistratos, who tells stories that are based on the parables of Jesus. This award was a recognition of our efforts to produce original children’s publications providing a particular way of understanding the parables. Last December we published a forth volume to the series entitled “Kallistratos and the hidden treasure” based on the homonymous parable.

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Our top publishing production last year was the Psalter. One of the most difficult texts to translate of the Old Testament, and its translation required a considerable amount of time. The “Psaltirion” completed a trilogy of publications for liturgy which we created in cooperation with the Special Synodical Committee for Liturgy Renaissance of the Church of Greece. It started with the release of the “Eklogadion” which includes text and translation of the liturgy readings from the New Testament of the whole ecclesiastical year, and continued by publishing the “Prophetologion” with parts from the Old Testament. A originality of the Psaltirion is the division (of the text and translation) into verses, hemistichs and strophes. Particular effort was put into creating a poetic translation of the prototype and the language of the translation, keeping in mind a possible future use of it in liturgy. Please note that the prologue of the “Psaltirion” was written by the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II.

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The events our Society organized this previous year were the Scientific Conference held at the Cultural Center of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. The topic was “The Bible and Greek Literature” which left very positive impressions on the selection of subject, the speakers and amount of audience. Another very interesting initiative of our Society in cooperation with the Institute of Human Science of Jesuits in Athens was the invitation of the internationally renowned vocal ensemble Consortium Vocale Oslo who specialize in Gregorian chanting. A wonderful type of music which is rarely heard in our country and draws its origins from the time of the undivided church. Two spectacular concerts took place that were based on the text of the Psalms: One in Volos under the auspices of our President and sponsored by our Vice President, and one in Athens under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens.

We also ensured, whenever we thought appropriate, to participate in events that contribute to the promotion of our publications. One of them was the 4 day event entitled “Proceeding Christmas” which was organized by the Cultural Center of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, and the Children’s Book Fair organized by the Book Publishers Association of Athens at the “Stoa Vivliou” during the days of Christmas.

Why the New Testament revision is needed

  • The translation of the Old Testament by the Septuagint and the necessity of making use of the translation of the New Testament mainly in the Old Testament quotations
  • The need to improve the existing translation in light of any comments which have so far been collected
  • The need for linguistic and stylistic changes which reflect the changes in today’s language

The training seminars for new translators continued during the past year and have already created a small group of new scholars which will also begin work on the revision of the New Testament. In previous General Assemblies there had been a lot of discussion about the need of a revision. The reasons leading to this direction quite briefly are: a) The translation of the Old Testament from Septuagint and the necessity of making use of the translation of the New Testament mainly in the Old Testament quotations. b) The need to improve the existing translation in light of any comments which have so far been collected c) The need for linguistic and stylistic changes which reflect the changes in today’s language. An important factor in the work of review is the use of new technologies. Apart from the special online translation program Paratext of UBS there is use of a special online communication platform, Canvas. This way members of the review team can communicate and talk to each other from their home without it being always necessary to physically be present at meetings. Apart from the review group there is an advisory committee composed of expert scholars. It has been decided that the changes made during the translation should not exceed 5% of the existing translation in order to maintain a continuum therewith.

In our relations with the United Bible Societies it is important to mention that is great honor for our Society that Prof. Miltiadis Konstantinou was elected as a member of the World Council (Global Council) of UBS. A few months earlier he was also elected as a member of the Committee of Church Relations of UBS and also retains the chairmanship of Translation Affairs Committee. Professor Christos Karakolis retains his place in the Editorial Committee of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 29 as well as of the Greek New Testament 6th.


Near the akrites of our borders

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The Metropolitan of Didymotichon and Orestias, Damaskinos, accompanied by the Deputy Commander of the XVI Division Brigadier John Makris and the Commander of the 21st Regiment Colonel Andrew Floratos visited the Greek Military Posts of Marasion and Ormenion at the tri-border of Greece-Turkey-Bulgaria.

During the past four years 40,000 New Testaments have been distributed. Support us with a donation to our Society so that we may continue this project of distributing New Testament for free to men and women of the Armed Forces.


Affection love and concern was shown to the akrites of the borders by the Church and other than sweets, they distributed New Testaments offered by the Hellenic Bible Society. The Military Post staff reciprocated to his Eminence by singing the New Year Carols, the Commander gave the Metropolitan a commemorative with the emblem of the Unit.

 

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Holy Bible and Greek Literature

IMG_3019On December 11th and 12th 2015 the Hellenic Bible Society organized a Scientific Conference at the Cultural Center of the Archdiocese of Athens named “Holy Bible and Greek Literature”. The event began with a greeting from Fr. Basilis Christodoulou, Director of the Cultural Center of the Archdiocese of Athens, then followed the representative of the Church of Greece Fr. Demetrios Nikou who read the message of the Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and all Greece. Followed by greetings from the General Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society Mr. Michael Chr. Chatzigiannis, the Dean of the Theological Faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mr. Miltiadis Konstantinou and President of the Faculty of Social Theology at the University of Athens Mr. Sotirios Despotis, read by Mrs. Kirki Kefalea Vice-President of the Faculty.

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The conference began under the chairmanship of Professor of the Faculty of Theology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Ioannis Karavidopoulos and the main introduction was made by the Ass. Professor of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens Konstantinos Zarras with subject: “Vision of Future after death: The Myth of Er to Plato and the early Christian eschatology.”

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The next speakers of the first day of the conference were Professor of the Faculty of Theatre Studies in the University of Athens Iossif Vivilakis on “The Bible and Neohellenic drama” and the writer Isidoros Zourgos on “Bible seeds into a novel”.

 

Saturday morning during the first session chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Theology o12391877_1088635957827569_6592861053583291003_nf the University of Thessaloniki Miltiadis Konstantinou three introductions were made. The first was made by the theologian and poet Anastasia Gkitsi with subject “Poems. The psalms of the soul”, the second “A blasphemous reading of the Gospel: The man from Galilee by Ilias Lagios” and the third by the President of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Thessaloniki Chrysostomos Stamoulis on “The Biblical narratives in Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation”.

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In the second session chaired by Chrysostomos Stamoulis the program contained three introductions. The poet Kyriakos Haralambidis began with the subject: “Poetry and theology (self-commentary)”. Then the author Savvas Michail spoke about “The Biblical poet Andreas Embirikos”. The President of the Biblical Foundation “Artos Zois” Stavros Zoumboulakis suggested the theme “For T.K. Papatsonis”.

 

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In the last session of the conference, the presentation of our new edition “Psalter” which contains the text of the Septuagint and in parallel the text in demotic language. The “Psalter” completes the trilogy of the liturgical editions of the Hellenic Bible Society, which began with the release of “Eklogadion” which includes text and translation of readings from the New Testament of the entire ecclesiastical year and continued with portions from the Old Testament version of “Prophetologion”. The presentation was attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Theology Miltiadis Konstantinou, Pastor of the First Greek Evangelical Church in Athens Panagiotis Kantartzis, Ministry of Education adviser and Director of the magazine “Theologia” Stavros Yagazoglou and Ass. Professor of the Faculty of Social Theology at the University of Athens Kirki Kefalea.

Others that attended12373399_1088635987827566_5943937832375662800_n this two-day conference were, the Metropolitan of Ilion Acharnes and Petroupolis, Athenagoras, the Catholic Archbishop of Athens Sevastianos Rossolatos, the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, the poet Kiki Dimoula, Professors of the two Theological Schools, graduate and PhD students, teachers and people from all ecclesiastical denominations.

The Scientific Committee of the conference consisted of Ioannis Karavidopoulos (Professor of the Faculty of Theology, University of Thessaloniki), Miltiadis Konstanntinou (Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Thessaloniki), Ekaterini Tsalampouni (Ass. Professor of the School of Pastoral and Social Theology, University of Thessaloniki) and Konstantinos Zarras (Ass. Professor of the Faculty of Theology, University of Athens).

You can watch the conference and speeches by clicking on each speaker’s subject through our YouTube channel: ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΙΑ


SALVUM ME FECIT – The Lord has redeemed me

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The Hellenic Bible Society presented in collaboration with the Metropolis of Demetrias and Almyros at the Ascension of Christ church in Volos on Thursday October 22nd and with the Institute of Humanity Science of Jesuits at Saint Dionysius of Catholics in Athens on Saturday 24th of October two separate concerts of religiouDSC07934s music, with the vocal ensemble CONSORTIUM VOCALE OSLO from Norway. The event in Volos was attended by the Metropolitan of Demetrias and President of the Hellenic Bible Society, Ignatius, while in Athens the Catholic Archbishop of Athens Sevastianos and the representative of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II, Bishop Chrysostomos of Dodonis.

DSC08089The program “Salvum me fecit” presented hymns from ancient Gregorian repertoire which date back to the 8th and 9th century. The Gregorian compositions use texts from the Bible, mainly from the book of Psalms and the New Testament. The compositions presented in this program were derived from the Mass of the 6th to the 10th Sunday, their common theme is God who brings healing and salvation, making man and all mankind complete and holy.

The vocal ensemble is connected to the Cathedral in Oslo, Norway, and for many years appreciDSC07913ated for their performances in Gregorian Chanting throughout Europe and beyond. In celebrations and concerts Consortium Vocale Oslo proposes an interpretation of Gregorian chanting based on the evidence of the older musical manuscripts. The vocal ensemble has received international recognition and has released 6 Gregorian Music CDs. For more information please visit: www.consortiumvocale.no

DSC07906The conductor, Alexander M. Schweitzer, is a theologian and musician. He studied Gregorian chanting in Rome, Cremona and Munich. For 25 years Schweitzer has been training Gregorian choirs for the Diploma of Higher Studies in Palaeography and Gregorian program Semiotics of the Music University of Lugano School and in seminars of the International Organization Membership Gregorian Studies at St. Ottilien, Germany. In September 2015, Schweitzer was elected Chairman of the International Organization Membership Gregorian Studies (AISCGre).

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Record number of Bibles distributed by Bible Societies in 2014

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A total of 428,2 million copies of God’s Word distributed by Bible Societies in 2014!


2014 saw the highest number of printed Bibles ever distributed by Bible Societies around the world. Nearly 34 million full Bibles were distributed, a rise of 6% over 2013’s figures, and 14% higher than the number distributed in the first year of the decade.
In total, 428.2 million Scriptures were distributed by Bible Societies in 2014, including full Bibles, Testaments, Gospels and other smaller Scripture items – representing a 7% and a 17% increase over 2013 and 2010 respectively.


Global Distinction for “The stories of Kallistratos”

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The United Bible Societies’ Publishers’ Convention was held May 3rd -7th 2015 in Seoul Korea. It all ended with the awarding of “The Vallotton Awards: Creativity in Context”. These awards are given to the most creative examples of Bible publishing produced by Bible societies, with the specific context of each piece in mind. The Hellenic Bible Society won the award in the category of Children’s Literature in the series “The stories of Kallistratos”.

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The awards are named after the great illustrator of the Bible Annie Vallotton. The simple lines of the drawings have been published in over 225 million Bibles in hundreds of languages ​​around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look here the 4th volume of the series

2 April – International Children’s Book Day

10432965_868101516581114_6786785737113516806_nInternational Children’s Book Day is celebrated every year on April 2nd, the day the great Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen was born. Established by the International Board of books for Young People (IBBY) IN 1966. Since then, every year a different national section of the organization prepares a message and a poster, which are distributed worldwide, in order to emphasize the value of books and reading, and to encourage international cooperation for the development and distribution of children’s literature.

In all countries children, writers, illustrators, librarians, publishers and teachers celebrate this international day with various events in schools, libraries, bookstores, squares and other places showing love and their interest in books and reading.Βικελαία

In 2015 the Division of the United Arab Emirates was responsible for the material of the celebration. The message written by Marwa Obaid Rashid Al Aqroubi, children’s author and Chairman of the Department of the UAE of IBBY, with excellent activity in the implementation of programs for the cultivation of reading, in the country and abroad, particularly in areas where the conflicts of war or natural disasters have created tragic situations for children with serious consequences in their lives.

In Greece, just like every year, the Greek Division of IBBY/ Circle of Greek Children’s Books took care of translating the message in Greek and urged operators who are interested in children and their books to contribute to the celebration of the International Children’s Book Day.

ΚατερίνηThe Hellenic Bible Society took place this year in the event by presenting the third book of the series “The stories of Kallistratos”, Kallistratos and the Nightingale City. The author Vasiliki Nevrokopli visited in 6 days, a good amount of public schools and Public Libraries which organised events to honor the Day. 

The “journey” of Kallistratos started from the 9th Public School in Katerini and continued to Thessaloniki. Next stop was the Municipal Library of Neapolis and the 8th Public School, the Municipal Library of Sykies and the 5th Public School, the 4th Public School of Oreokastro, the Municipal Library of Melissochori and the 7th Public School of Evosmos. Last stop was at Vikelaia Municipal Library in Heraklion, Crete.

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Children and adults listened through the narration to the parable of the two houses, the concluding story of Jesus Christ to the Sermon on the Mountain, that teaches us what are the solid foundations upon which we can build our lives in order to face every difficulty.

 


Kallistratos and the Adventures of the Talents

P1010709The Hellenic Bible Society and the theatre group of O.C.A.B. “Metamorphosis” presented on Saturday March 21st 2015 a musical performance for children “Kallistratos and the Adventures of the Talents” of Vasiliki Nevrokopli.

The play was based on the second book of Vasiliki Nevrokopli, illustrations by Athena Robie starring the storyteller Kallistratos who told the parable of the talents. A life full of changes for a king and his three servants. Everyone has their talents. The Kin10929556_810400708996920_667168669099371943_ng leaves for a trip, and Saracen pirates enter the kingdom, and everyone’s lives are disrupted. Who within these adventures manages to multiply their talents and who abandons them, and in such way not only loses, but loses even himself?