Historical reflection on the Armenian translation of the Bible

Historical reflection on the Armenian translation of the Bible

Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashian lectures in CyprusThe Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashian delivers a lecture in Cyprus

The Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashian of Montreal, Canada, delivered lecture in Nicosia, Cyprus, entitled, ?The Bible: Historical reflection on the Armenian translation and its role in building the Armenian national identity?.

The lecture took place on Monday, May 5, 2008, in the Armenian Prelacy?s Utujian Hall. The lecture was initiated and organized by the Armenian Evangelical Church in Cyprus. His Eminence, Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, Primate of the Armenian community in Cyprus, Mr. Vartkes Mahdessian, the Armenian representative in the Cyprus parliament, the Holy fathers of the Larnaca and Nicosia parishes, together with members of the Armenian community in Cyprus were among the attendees.

Mr. Hrayr Jebejian made the opening word. He welcomed all on behalf of the Armenian Evangelical Church in Cyprus. He briefed the Armenian nation?s historical development from the 7th century BC (the formation of the Armenian nation) up to the turning era in 301 AD (the Christianization of the Armenian nation). ?The Christian faith since then has become the identity of the Armenian nation and in all aspects of life,? said Mr. Jebejian. ?The need to preserve the Christian faith bore the necessity to invent the Armenian alphabet and the translation of the Bible into the Armenian language,? he continued. ?Language and culture modifications and changes urge communities to reconsider the translation of the Bible in their own language, including Armenian,? he added.

He then presented Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashian as the master mind behind the recent Bible translations into Western and Eastern Armenian.

Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashain gave a brief overview on the Christianization of Armenia and the need to have our own alphabet to preserve the Faith. Church masses were held in Assyrian and Greek and the leadership, then, were very concerned as to how long the Christian faith can be preserved without their own mother language. ?The Armenian nation owes a lot to Mesrob Mashdotz, Sahag Bartev and Vramshabouh, who invented the Armenian alphabet and translated the Bible into Armenian. It is through the Bible that the Armenian nation is surviving up till today,? said Rev. Jinbashian. He highlighted the strength and the beauty of the first translation of the Armenian Bible, ?Takouhi Tarkmanoutian?. He critically and with the use of Scriptural examples showed the power of the first translation in the areas of cultural adaptation and linguistic analysis. ?The First Armenian Bible was the translation of the concept and not of the word,? Rev. Jinbashian added.

Rev. Jinbashian spoke also on the ongoing Bible translation work of the Western and Eastern Armenian and the need to finish the process that had started with the late Archbishop Zareh Aznavourian. He concluded his speech by saying, ?Those Christian nations and communities who do not have the Bible in their own language are destined to die. The survival of the Armenian nation owes a lot to the translation of the Bible into Armenian?.

The lecture created interest among the attendees who asked many questions to Rev. Jinbashian after the presentation. The concluding remarks were made by Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, who also offered the ?Bahbanitch?.

Source: Newsletter by Mr. Hrayr Jebejian, May 2008

Photo: From left to right: Rev. Dr. Manuel Jinbashain and Hrayr Jebejian