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Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919


TOGARASEI, Lovemore. The prophet and divine manifestation: on the translation of the word "prophet" in the Shona Union Bible. Old testam. essays [online]. 2017, vol.30, n.3, pp.821-834. ISSN 2312-3621.

The translators of the Shona Union Bible of 1950, which happens to be the commonly used version of the Bible among the Shona of Zimbabwe, did not translate the word "prophet". Instead, they chose to transliterate it. This choice is rather strange, considering the key role of this office in any religion. Other recent translations have offered Shona translations of this term. The reception of the new translations has been mixed, and many Shona Bible readers still prefer the 1950 Shona Union Bible. What were the possible reasons for the early missionaries' decision to leave the term untranslated? How could this term best be translated? This paper attempts to answer these questions. It takes seriously the politics of Bible translation as has already been observed by scholars in the sphere of Bible translation. The paper considers the Hebrew world of the term, and then explores the Shona (African) religious worldview to seek possible offices that could be compared to the Hebrew prophet. The paper concludes that svikiro was the right term to translate the term prophet.

Palavras-chave : Prophet; Divine Manifestation; Translation; Shona; Svikiro; Missionaries; African Traditional Religion.

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