Author Topic: Is reading the Bible in another language helpful to learning that language?  (Read 563 times)

Offline Livenotonevil

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Hello everyone in this forum,

I'm thinking about buying a Bible in a language that I'm learning, and I was wondering - for those who have done so in the past - do you think this is helpful for learning the language?

On the one hand, I think it would help me appreciate the Bible in a deeper way, and understand the connotations of words that are used to a much greater degree and to get an overall better understanding of it - provided it's from a reputable translator. On the other hand, I don't want to allow archaic words to corrupt my lexicon.

For example, if I visited that country one day, I wouldn't want to say to a guest who is hosting me "Hey, do you know where your shower-room is? I need to wash myself of my iniquities" or say something along the lines of "Thine dog went thither."

What are your thoughts?
May God forgive me for my consistent sins of the flesh and any blasphemous and carnal desire, as well as forgive me whenever I act prideful, against the desire of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
 

Offline Philomena

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Reading the Vulgate definitely helped me learn Latin. And it gave me a deeper understanding of Scripture. But of course, since Latin is a classical language, there were no issues of archaic vocabulary, so I canít address that point, sorry.

Which language are you learning?
 

Offline Livenotonevil

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Russian.
May God forgive me for my consistent sins of the flesh and any blasphemous and carnal desire, as well as forgive me whenever I act prideful, against the desire of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
 

Offline Philomena

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Do the Eastern Orthodox read the Bible in the vernacular? I thought the Russians used Old Slavonic?

Sorry for the derail. I know your question was about learning Russian, not finding an Orthodox Bible, but I am curious, if you donít mind.
 

Offline Livenotonevil

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In terms of liturgical expression, Church Slavonic is to the Eastern Slavs as Latin was to Western Europe - it serves as the official language of the Church and for the Liturgy - and for the longest time, the Bible only existed in Slavonic, but in the 19th century, the Bible was eventually translated into Russian by the Church, so those who were poor could be able to read the Bible on their own - as not everyone could learn Slavonic. Even then, this was obviously a very controversial decision at the time for the more conservative clergy.

It parallels the experience of having the Bible only in Latin in Western Europe for the longest time, but eventually - I think by force of the Protestant Reformation - the Bible began to be translated into different languages, and the Roman Catholic Church began producing versions of the Bible in native tongues. So, we had the Douay Rheims Bible and the Knox to read, but still - the Roman Catholic Church up until Vatican II used Latin. Likewise in Russia, there exists Russian translations, but the official language of the Church is still Church Slavonic.

So yeah, the clerics and the monastics - and the laypeople who know it - in Russia and other Eastern European countries will liturgically read the Bible in Church Slavonic, but for those who want easy access and to be able to read it in their own native tongue, it's an option.

There exists a few versions of the Bible in Russian - the most popular one, the Russian Synodal Version, is published by the scholarship of the Russian Orthodox Church and is the one most in circulation, and used by Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants in Russia. There also exists the New Russian Translation (the NIV of Russian - translated by Protestants who want to "make the Bible more informal and contemporary" and to "apply a meaning-based translation approach to the Bible"). These two versions are the most common I could find, and I'll probably buy the former if I buy one.

Interestingly enough, the Russian Synodal version was translated from the original Hebrew in the Old Testament and the Greek (which is interesting, because the Hebrew Old Testament is more foreign to Christian Tradition compared to the Septuagint) - and more interestingly, because of how the Russian language has changed, much like the King James version uses older grammar and has impacted the English language, there are some historical linguistic usages that have impacted the contemporary Russian language.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 11:18:07 PM by Livenotonevil »
May God forgive me for my consistent sins of the flesh and any blasphemous and carnal desire, as well as forgive me whenever I act prideful, against the desire of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
 
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Offline Philomena

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Wow, thatís more of an answer than I was hoping for! Thank you, Livenotonevil. Your knowledge is impressive.
 

Offline Livenotonevil

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Thanks!  :)
May God forgive me for my consistent sins of the flesh and any blasphemous and carnal desire, as well as forgive me whenever I act prideful, against the desire of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit.