Last Saturdary the Thames Valley Regional Group of ITI met at South Hinksey Village Hall. Disappointingly there were only 9 of us present. Perhaps the heavy rain had something to do with it. We all agreed that the village of South Hinksey was delightful and the village hall was quite charming. We were most fortunate to have Dr Elizabeth Solopova as our speaker on the subject of Medieval Translations of the Bible. The subject of the talk was specifically chosen to coincide with the Manifold Greatness exhibition at the Bodleian Library comemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. It was fascinating to consider that attempts to translate the Bible into English had been going on for hundreds of years before the King James Bible. It was very interesting to discover that despite the great extent of religious devotion in the Middle Ages very few people had ever seen a Bible. Not only did the early translators have to think about the relative merits of word for word translation (often in the form of interlineal glosses) or sense for sense translation, but they were deeply concerned about the effect of their translations on a readership that had not been clerically trained, and naturally they had to find strategies to deal with this problem, much as modern translators do. At this time the translators were themselves working from a translation, the Vulgate, with the resulting problem, as translators of other ancient texts have found, that the various manuscripts of these texts vary from one to another. One significant difference from the modern commercial translator, apart from the obvious differences in technology and subject matter, is the fact that medieval translations of the Bible were done by committee. This is not at all a bad idea.
Thames Valley Regional Group meeting