The Romantic Turn in Bible Translation

by Lourens de Vries

The paper presents an overview of the history of Bible translation inthe “Romantic” tradition of Buber and Rosenzweig. The tradition has its rootsin the Romantic turn in translation of early nineteenth-century Germany, butthree other forces also shaped the translation ideas and practices of this tradition:general linguistic ideologies of the nineteenth century; the philosophical climateof the Interbellum period in Germany; and the hermeneutic and exegetical heritageof the rabbinic tradition. The paper also looks at Europe and the USA afterthe Second World War to study the ways in which Bible translators dealt withthe heritage of Buber and Rosenzweig, applying and transforming the traditionin new contexts. The paper concludes by placing the history of “Romantic”Bibles in two broader contexts: first in the context of the history of Bible translation,contrasting “Romantic” foreignness with its Reformation counterpart;second, in the context of general translation studies, contrasting the history offoreignness in Bible translation with the history of foreignness in the translationof other texts from antiquity such as the Iliad.

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