The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Religion  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Religion

Edited By

Hephzibah Israel

ISBN 9781138215665
Published December 19, 2022 by Routledge
528 Pages 24 Color & 14 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $250.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Religion is the first to bring together an extensive interdisciplinary engagement with the multiple ways in which the concepts and practices of translation and religion intersect.

The book engages a number of scholarly disciplines in conversation with each other, including the study of translation and interpreting, religion, philosophy, anthropology, history, art history, and area studies. A range of leading and emerging international specialists critically engage with changing understandings of the key categories ‘translation’ and ‘religion’ as discursive constructs, thus contributing to the development of a new field of academic study, translation and religion. The 28 contributions, divided into six parts, analyze how translation constructs ideas, texts, or objects as ‘sacred’ or for ‘religious purposes’, often in competition with what is categorized as ‘non-religious.’ The part played by faith communities is treated as integral to analyses of the role of translation and religion. It investigates how or why translation functions in re-constructing and transforming religion(s) and for whom and examines a range of ‘sacred texts’ in translation— from the written to the spoken, manuscript to print, paper to digital, architectural form to objects of sacred art, intersemiotic scriptural texts, and where commentary, exegesis and translation interweave.

This Handbook is an indispensable scholarly resource for researchers in translation studies and the study of religions.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors 

Hephzibah Israel

PART I Disciplinary Frameworks 

1 Religion, Translation, Semantics 

Mark Q. Gardiner and Steven Engler

2 Untranslatability and the Canonical Text 
Theo Hermans

3 Translating the Sacred Books of the East: Friedrich Max Müller and the Orient 
Arie L. Molendijk

4 ‘An Equivocal Position’: Anthropology, Evans- Pritchard, and the Spirit of Translation 
Michael Edwards

5 The Religion of Translation 
Gil Anidjar

PART II Concepts, Approaches and Methods 

6 Interface of the Deep: Design Cues for Engaging New Media and Machine Translation with Religious Scriptures 
Timothy Beal

7 Interpreting and Religion 
Olgierda Furmanek

8 Collaborative Translation and the Transmission of Buddhism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 
Robert Neather

9 Women, Sacred Texts, Translation 
Rim Hassen and Adriana Şerban

10 Paratexts and Sacred Translation: The Noble Qur’an in English 
Yazid Haroun

11 On Mantras and Other 'Untranslatable' Forms of Religious Language 1
Robert A. Yelle

PART III Inter- semiotic Translation and Religion: Materiality, Performance and Experiencing the Sacred 

12 Bodies of Words: Translating Sacred Text into Sacred Architecture in East Asian Buddhism 
Halle O’Neal and Paul Harrison

13 Conceptional and Intersemiotic Transpositions: Between Autochthonous Latin American Religions 
Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo

14 Translating Sikh Scripture and Sikh Lifeworlds 
Arvind- Pal Singh Mandair and Puninder Singh

15 Materializing Jesus’ Nazareth: Translation as Imagineering 
James S. Bielo

PART IV Translation and Competing Religious Cultures 

16 From Sumerian into Akkadian: Translations, Sacred Texts and Canonicity in Ancient Mesopotamia 
Stefano Seminara

17 Greek Texts in Arabic Translations: Quranic Language, Christian Translators, and Muslim Audiences 
Elvira Wakelnig

18 Jesuit Translation: The Ciceronian Legacy 
Karen Bennett

19 Sacred Tongue, Translated People: Translation in the Jewish Tradition 
Naomi Seidman

20 Translation and the Construction of Conversion Narratives: Language Strategies of Russian Converts to Islam 
Gulnaz Sibgatullina

PART V Religions in New Contexts: Translation and Construction 

21 Straddling the Himalayas: Translating Buddhism into Chinese 
Daniel Boucher

22 Bahá’Í Translation in Early Twentieth- Century China: A Historical Survey and Critical Issues 
HE Quinghui and WAN Zhaoyuan

23 Translating Sacred Scriptures: The Śvetāmbara Jain Tradition 
Nalini Balbir

24 Grammar and Art of Translation as Expressions of Muslim Faith: Translational Practices in West Africa 
Dmitry Bondarev

PART VI Translating Sacred Texts: Critical Perspectives from Translators 

25 Simultaneous Interpreting in a Pentecostal Church: Encountering the Sacred 
Sari Hokkanen

26 Reflecting Infinities: Translating the Zohar’s Sacred Revelations 
David Solomon

27 The Ramayana in Translation 
Philip Lutgendorf

28 Translating Sikh Scripture: Rebounding Sound and Sense 
Nikky- Guninder Kaur Singh


View More



Hephzibah Israel is Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She is the author of Religious Transactions in Colonial South India: Language, Translation and the Making of Protestant Identity (2011).


'This Handbook marks a watershed in the study of translation and the sacred. Bringing together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines, the volume offers an unprecedented array of approaches to a field that has traditionally been dominated by the Christian Bible. The chapters treat various faith traditions, interpreting as well as translation, new technologies, intersemiotic translation, as well as previously unexplored contexts of translation. In its breadth and sophistication, the handbook makes an enormous and very welcome contribution to Translation Studies, Religious Studies, and a host of related disciplines.'

Brian James Baer, Professor of Russian and Translation Studies, Kent State University, USA   

'Finally, we have a much-needed single volume on the complexity and beauty of translating sacred texts. Written by the finest scholars in the field,…this volume will be required by anyone faced with the awesome task of sacred translation, and the …significance of translated materials.'

Mark JuergensmeyerDistinguished Professor Emeritus of Global Studies, Sociology, and affiliate of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, and co-translator of Songs of the Saints of India