Bible Translations in Sweden

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The article focuses on approaches to Bible translation that existed in Sweden in different periods. Special attention is payed to what is to date the latest translation in 2000 (Bible 2000). On the eve of celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first translation of the Gospels (1526) this topic is particularly relevant and discussed more and more actively in works by Swedish researchers, first and foremost because a new edition of the next Bible translation is planned in 2026. This tradition goes back to 1540-1541 when translation of the full Bible was printed, known as the Gustav Vasa Bible (Gustav Vasas Bibel), which has made an impact on the hearts and minds of Swedish people for almost four centuries and formed the basis of Standard Swedish. The approach declared by Luther has become a fundamental principle of Bible translations into Swedish: text must convey precisely the message, spirit and content of the original, not literally, however, but in the language that is clear to uneducated people. The Gustav Vasa Bible was reissued twice: in 1618 (the Gustav II Adolf Bible) and 1703 (the Charles XII Bible). What’s more, every new edition was redacted officially. In 1773 Gustav III established the Biblical Commission and requested to replace the outdated text with a new one. However, there were numerous changes in the Swedish Language during the XXth century. Besides, the development of linguistics and translation studies, as well as new scientific data have formed the basis of a new Bible translation project that was launched in 1972 and ended up with publishing the Bible-2000. The translation is the result of collaboration between numerous scholars and average readers. It took almost thirty years to perform the work. In the end, a text was created which most people think is unique, as it strives to convey the style of each particular book. However, there is obviously a gap between the new text and the centuries-old tradition of Bible translation, because after textual analysis was complete, scholars and translators often took decisions about how to render separate words and whole phrases. Their decisions had nothing in common with established practice. Consequently, critics consider that the text of Bible-2000 is often greatly oversimplified, “everyday”, lacking its solemn beauty and magnificence.

About the authors

Irina V. Matytsina

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.

PhD in Philology, Associate Professorof the German and Celtic philology Facultу

1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991


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Copyright (c) 2021 Matytsina I.V.

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