1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Religion

Edited By Hephzibah Israel Copyright 2023
    528 Pages 24 Color & 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    528 Pages 24 Color & 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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



    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