The history of the Danish Bible
The history of the Danish Bible and its translation is a century-long story. Up until the Reformation, translators were persecuted as heretics, resulting in no official translation until the late middle ages. This first complete version came about under the reign of King Christian III, for which reason it bears his name. Afterwards, the translation history of the Danish Bible may be divided into three phases:
The Danish Luther Bibles (1500s -1600s)
The German translation by Martin Luther is the basis for The Bible Of Christian III. His translation style of focusing on meaning rather than form, and target language rather than source language, affected the Danish translation practice for decades.
The Resen-Svaneian tradition (1600s -1800s)
In the early 1600s, the Bible was translated anew, but with the Greek and Hebrew texts as its foundation, unlike the Luther Bibles which had Luther’s German translation as its foundation. The work was done by Bishop Resen, who was much more focused on source language and literal translation, resulting at times in some unidiomatic renderings. Consequently, this bible received a number of revisions, first undertaken by Bishop Svane.
Three new translations (1900s)
As a result of higher/lower biblical criticism and historical criticism of the 1800s, a new translation of The Old Testament was done in 1931 and The New Testament followed in 1948. In 1992, a new translation of both The Old and New Testament was released. This version is the one used by the state church of Denmark, although other authorized versions are also eligible.
Current translation practice
The history the Danish Bible illustrates how differently the art of translation can be pursued. In the beginning, the reader was confronted not only with the biblical texts, but was also given the key to interpreting them through prefaces, summaries and notes accompanying the biblical text. In more recent Bibles, however, these guiding tools have steadily disappeared, forcing the individual reader to make his own judgment and interpretation.
The Bible is originally written in Hebrew and Greek - The Old Testament in Hebrew and The New Testament in Greek. These two languages are known as the source languages of the Bible.
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