The Bible is the biggest selling book in history, with overall estimates ranging from around 2.5 to 6 billion copies worldwide, and annual sales of approximately 2.5 million. It has been at least part translated into 2508 different languages, and is thus the largest book translation job ever taken on. Its journey through the languages, however, has at times been arduous and often filled with controversy.
Many people have accused various individuals of poisoning The Bible for their own purposes, or indeed simply misinterpreting the often profound nature of its content. It has been the cause of divides, and many would say even wars, with different denominations of Christianity and Judaism evolving from various interpretations of ‘the word’.
In addition to the various translations, different denominations also choose to omit or focus on specific books within the Bible itself, leading to a variety of focus and assertions. The number of individual books included in The Bible, in Christianity, ranges from 66 in the Protestant faith, to 81 in Ethiopian Orthodox. Often it is this omitting, or lack of focus on one specific fact or story, that completely shifts the belief system of a specific faith or denomination.
The oldest books of the Bible were believed to have been written almost 3500 years ago, and were scribed in ancient Hebrew, a language differing massively from the Hebrew in use today. The Septuagint was the name given to the early Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, in Egypt, between 300-200 BC. Many Jewish settlers at the time had lost their Hebrew language, and thus it was important for the scripture to be translated into Greek. It is believed that The Septuagint was inked by a team of seventy authors, and indeed the word itself means seventy in Latin.
In 995 AD the Bible was first translated from Latin into Anglo Saxon, and the first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380′s by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. By the 16th Century, aided by the founding of the Print Press, English and German copies were made readily available. The founding of the Print Press in 1476 meant that for the first time The Bible could be owned by the majority of the population of the world.
Still, today there remains an element of mystery, and a necessity for trust and faith, not only in God, but in those men who provided the first certified translations of the text. The large majority of people on the planet are now able to study The Bible in their native tongue, and those who cannot as yet, are gradually moving to do so. There are professional translation services to be found in even the most miniscule of languages, and recently, for example, there was news of the first Bible to be written in the Jamaican language of Patois.
I will leave you today with an exert from that very text;
“De angel go to Mary and say to ‘er, me have news we going to make you well ‘appy. God really, really, bless you and him a walk with you all de time.”