Bible Society launches new Gaelic Gospel
At the Royal National Mod in Thurso the Scottish Bible Society launched a fresh translation of John's Gospel aimed at younger Gealic speakers and other readers who may have difficulty understanding the Bible.
The Scottish Bible Society has published this revised transation in response to requests from within the Gaelic-speaking community. The announcement was made at the Royal National Mòd in Thurso on 13 October 2010.
In 1993 the eminent Gaelic scholar Professor Donald Meek wrote that "the distinction between 'Bible Gaelic' and 'everyday Gaelic' has become more marked with time, especially among younger Gaelic speakers, who tend to be less familiar with 'pulpit Gaelic' than their forebears."
In announcing the initiative, Elaine Duncan, the SBS Chief Executive has commented: "We want to make the Gospel message as clear today as when it was first written, so we accepted it was time for a new version in language spoken today."
Soisgeul Eòin (Gospel of John) is the first book of a new Gaelic translation of the New Testament and it appears at a time when the role of Gaelic in education and public life is receiving much attention. Contributions to the project costs and other support have been obtained from Spring Harvest, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, An Comunn Gàidhealach and the Gaelic Books Council.
The Bible Society, which has been the principal publisher of Gaelic Scriptures for 150 years, first consulted church representatives and scholars before enlisting a small inter-denominational team to undertake the task.
“We are aiming to express John’s original Greek text as accurately as possible, using words and idioms normally used by Gaelic speakers,” explains Dr Paul Ellingworth of Aberdeen, a former United Bible Societies’ translation consultant who is advising the team.
The first copies of John's Gospel were made available at the Mòd and it will be on sale elsewhere from November 5.
Translation of the other Gospels and the book of Acts is ongoing. According to the Bible Society publicity material the new translation combines faithfulness to the Greek original with vocabulary in normal use, and clarity with dignity. This publication – the first part of a proposed New Testament – comes at a time of opportunity in the development of Gaelic. Ideal for private Bible study and for use in education, it will also be helpful to those learning the language.
The A6-sized publication (£0.95 + p&p) is designed for pocket or handbag; the 108 pages include a foreword and a list of key terms and names. Orders for the new Gospel can be placed on the SBS web site. Alternatively those wishing to place an order can telephone 0131 347 9813.
The Translation Team comprised:
Rev John Lincoln – Church of Scotland, Killin
Very Rev John Macdonald – Roman Catholic, formerly of Newtonmore
Rev Ruairidh Maclean – Free Church of Scotland, Harris
Rev John Urquhart – Church of Scotland, Skye
Rev Dr Paul Ellingworth – former United Bible Societies translation consultant, Aberdeen
The Scottish Bible Society is a fully independent charity, registered in Scotland, and a founder member of the United Bible Societies, which sees 147 Bible Societies at work in some 200 countries worldwide.
The Scottish Bible Society distributes Bibles, New Testaments and other Scripture-based materials, in a range of media, in Scotland and throughout the world.
‘The Scottish Bible Society seeks, under God, to put the Bible into people’s hands and hearts:
- in a language they can understand
- in a form they can access
- at an affordable price.