Modern translations of the Bible in the West cross with Western history itself: this chapter has done it proud in furnishing the basis for its Christian matrix, for democracy, liberty and human fraternity. They have produced culture and literature, they have enriched the tradition of painting, with miniatures and illuminations of rare beauty. They have been a determining factor in the Bible’s reaching those thirsting for its inspiring message and for the latter to survive in the present for each people. Through them, the Bible has continued to speak for more than a millennium. Leaving aside other aspects that could be taken into account in the difficult act of translating (criteria of a literary, hermeneutical, theological, liturgical or whatever kind), this article takes a historical approach to translation for the most widely spoken Western languages (French, Italian, German, English, Spanish, Portuguese), accompanying the circumstances in which each arose and influenced the religiosity of the peoples that produced and received it. A phenomenon that this adventure fell foul of was that of prohibitions on translating and reading. While, on the one hand, this would seem to be incomprehensible, on the other, it demonstrates the height of concern about preserving the Bible’s precious contents unaltered, trying to prevent its adulteration. If certain prohibitions were somewhat dramatic, others were tainted with persecution and blood, which reveals all too clearly the ardent desire to make it available for reading.
- Modern versions
- Prohibition on translation