Original Research - Special Collection: Septuagint

Translation hermeneutics of the 1933/1953, 1983 and 2020 Afrikaans Bibles

Morné Joubert
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7602 | © 2022 Morné Joubert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2022 | Published: 07 September 2022

About the author(s)

Morné Joubert, Department of Hebrew, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


The official Afrikaans Bible translations, published in 1933/1953, 1983 and 2020, influenced Reformed theology, sociopolitical perceptions and the role of the church in society. These issues bled through in the translations via the hermeneutical scope of the different eras. This study focuses on the influence of the hermeneutic foundations of the translators on the content, style and linguistic choices in these translations. The differences between the translations are quite obvious to the reader and a reflection of the fact that different translation strategies were followed. There were vastly different sociopolitical and religious contexts prevailing during the different translation projects. Not only did the sociohistorical setting in South Africa undergo dramatic changes, but internationally there were historic events, such as the two World Wars, the rise and fall of communism, globalisation and the rapid development of technology and the Internet. No official hermeneutic strategies were documented or self-reflectively employed by the translators of the Afrikaans Bibles and therefore this study will approach the hermeneutics of the translations from a descriptive point of view. Sociocultural and sociopolitical contexts together with developments in theological reflection will provide the background for understanding the prevailing hermeneutics of the translations.

Contribution: A new Afrikaans Bible was released in 2020, and a need arose to put the Afrikaans translations in applicable hermeneutical contexts. This discussion provides insights into the hermeneutical backgrounds of the three official Afrikaans translations. This contributes to the knowledge base of Afrikaans Bible translations and provides new insights into the hermeneutics of these translations.


translation theory; Afrikaans Bible; direct translation; narrative frame analysis; history of Bible translation; metatexts; subtexts


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