Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


Religion and Culture: Jehovah’s Witnesses and Arab Christianity

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningfagfællebedømt

Jehovah’s Witnesses, earlier international Bible Students, have made their re- entry into contemporary in Arabic religious landscape in 2004 by their Arabic translation of the Bible to which the name New World translation of the Holy Scriptures was given. Through this translation this evangelising group breaks totally with the existing Arabic Bible translations that they were in the habit of using.
In this translation, the previously strenuous relationship between culture and religion is flattened in a binary sets of oppositions between an unaltered Devine message preserved in ancient Bible manuscripts and humanly failing translations. The New World translation of the Holy Scriptures is seen as a progressive work of restoring the translated text to its original message.
As a minority religious group that represents itself as an transnational community of faith, local cultures are often construed as non-biblical or profane adherence to which might constitute a pagan practice. Local cultures can also be construed pragmatically. Plurality of cultures and languages is seen as a post-original sin and post-deluge phenomenon that last as long as the New World is not restored.
It is the aim of this paper to shed some light on Jehovah’s Witnesses theological perception of religion and culture within the context of modern Arab Christianity; a subject that has not received the scholarly attention it deserves.
This paper shall also look into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Arabic Bible Translation New World translation of the Holy Scriptures, and address how an originally-American Christian group re-constructs the relationship of religion –universality of one truth and its embodiment in one community of faith – and culture; and specifically, Arabic culture. Culture, in its manifold forms -Jehovah’s witnesses’ world view is paradoxically conceived as an expression God’s gift to mankind, and a demonic site of truth confusing.
This paper shall argue that translating the Bible according to Jehovah’s witnesses consists of de-culturising the biblical message in order to restore its would-be-original meaning that is consonant with Jehovah’s ultimate design with mankind.
Before producing their own Arabic translation of the Bible New World translation of the Holy Scriptures – the translation of the New Testament appeared in 1998 and of the complete Bible in 2004 – Jehovah’s Witnesses used to use the other existing Bible translations in Arabic. Producing a Bible translation of their own means a re-introduction and popularisation of the Divine name Jehovah/Jahveh as a universal Deity in Arabic Biblical tradition, which in the history of Arabic Bible translation has been identified with the Jewish tradition.
Publikationsdatoaug. 2016
Antal sider19
StatusUnder udarbejdelse - aug. 2016
BegivenhedXII SYMPOSIUM SYRIACUM & X CONGRESS OF ARAB-CHRISTIAN STUDIES - Pontificio Instituto Orientale, Rome, Italien
Varighed: 19 aug. 201624 aug. 2016
Konferencens nummer: 10


LokationPontificio Instituto Orientale

ID: 156851488