Translating the Literature of Scripture: A Literary-Rhetorical Approach to Bible Translation

Wendland, Ernst R

Scholars have recently begun to document the many outstanding literary (artistic, structural, and rhetorical) properties of the biblical text, qualities contributing to a significant dimension of “meaning” that few translations, past or present, attempt to reproduce even on a limited basis. Closely related to this is the correspondingly manifold communicative potential of different target languages all over the world, a rich inventory of resources that are only rarely exploited to the full in a translation. Accordingly, this book proposes the implementation of a literary functional-equivalence (LiFE) method of translation that seeks to represent or recreate in a given language the variety of expressive and affective dynamics – the great impact and appeal, including the beauty – of the diverse texts of Scripture.

Many examples pertaining to the biblical language as well as several Bantu languages are included to illustrate this methodology and show how competent mother-tongue translators can be trained to apply it practically in their work.

Also see LiFE-Style Translating: A Workbook for Bible Translators, Second Edition, a practical supplement to accompany this text.

About the Author

Dr. Wendland teaches at the Lutheran Bible Institute and Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia, and is a United Bible Societies Translation Consultant. He is the author of numerous studies on the Bantu languages of South Central Africa, biblical exegesis, and translation theory.

Table of Contents:


  1. The Study of Literature in Relation to the Bible and Its Translation
  2. Defining the Parameters of a Literary-Rhetorical Translation
  3. Tectonicity of the Scriptures
  4. Artistry of the Scriptures
  5. Iconicity of the Scriptures
  6. Rhetoricity of the Scriptures
  7. Literary-Rhetorical Analysis Techniques
  8. Determining the Stylistic and Rhetorical Features of TL Literature
  9. Teaching a Literary-Rhetorical Approach
  10. Assessing Literary-Rhetorical Translation
  11. Organizing a Literary-Rhetorical Translation Project

Appendix A: Supplement to Chapter 10
Appendix B: An L-R Approach Applied
Appendix C: Sample Translator-Training Lesson

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xxiv, 509 pages
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ISBN 10:
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