19th Bible Translation Forum

Boe Johannes Hermansen
Bibelforskning Bibelmanuskripter Bibelen Teologi



19th Bible Translation Forum

19. Forum Bibelübersetzung 2024

Wednesday 15th – Thursday 16th May 2024

(Opportunity to join the celebration together of Norway’s National Day at 17th May at Fjellhaug and the city centre)


Norwegian Bible Society

Wycliff Germany

Wycliffe Norway

NFBO (Norwegian Forum of Bible Translation)

Forum Theology Wiedenest

Forschungsstiftung für Religion und Kultur

Fjellhaug International University College



Fjellhaug Internasjonale Høgskole (FIH)

Sinsenveien 15, 0572 Oslo

Phone: +47 23 23 24 00 E-Mail: post@fjellhaug.no

Registration Registration/booking no later than 6. May,

through Gunnar Johnstad: gunjohn@online.no


Program & Timetable

Wednesday 15th May 2024

10.00-10.30 Reception, coffee and tea

10-30-11.00 Welcoming addresses by Dr. Julian K. Lysvik, Senior Translation Consultant for Bible Translation, Norwegian Bible Society; Dr. Tianji Ma, leader of Forum Bible Translation and leader of Stiftung für Religion und Kultur; Knut Kåre Kirkholm, Assistant Professor and Dean of Studies at Fjellhaug International University College.

11.00-11.15 In memoriam Eberhard Werner

11.15-12.00 Dr. Karl Olav Sandnes, Professor emeritus of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. Member of SNTS, of Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and of the translation committee (OU) in the Norwegian Bible Society.


Paul’s ‘Doulology’: On Translating Doulos in Paul’s Letters



This paper takes its point of departure in the process and work done in the Norwegian Bible Society towards Bibel 2024, a revised version of Bibel 2011 recently released. It revolves around the translation of doulos and its cognates. Bibel 2011 had ‘tjener’, equivalent to ‘servant’ or ‘Diener’ in the letter introductions. Bibel 2024 has now ‘slave’ with footnotes saying “may also be translated ‘tjener’. This change will be discussed here.

The structure of the paper is the following: 1) The dictionaries 2) Against what backdrop: Social context or the Septuagint? Paul’s hesitancy with regard to doulos/douleuein 4) Participating in an ancient ‘Sklavereidiskurs’ 5) Paul - Christ’s doulos 6) Slavery and present-day society (very short) 7) My own development in this case, as a member of the translation committee (OU) in the Norwegian Bible Society.

12.00-12.45 Lunch

13.00-13.30 Follow up questions and discussion of Prof. Sandnes’ lecture

13.30-14.45 Dr. Paul Lawrence. Read archaeology at the University of Liverpool, England. Currently a SIL translation consultant who checks translations in a couple of Central Asian languages. He is particularly interested in how archaeological evidence can illuminate Bible translation. His book Egg Whites or Turnips - Archaeology and Bible Translation was published in 2020.


Praise Him with the strings! Ps 150:4

Lecture and discussion


Stringed instruments, most notably the harp and lyre, figure quite frequently in the Old Testament. But what was the difference between a harp and a lyre? Does archaeological evidence - depictions and reconstruction of instruments - help us to differentiate the two?

Can we make some sense of Hebrew musical terminology such as sheminth and alamot (1Chr 15:20-21)?

The presentation concludes with a brief look at how stringed instruments have been handled in Bible translation into the three main languages oft he modern Middle East – Arabic, Persian and Turkish.

14.45-15.15 Coffee Break

15.15-15.45 ‘Show and Tell’: News, Publications or Presentations around the topic of Bible translation (please be prepared to present)

16.00-16.45 Dinner

17.00-18.15 Linguist Hillebrand Dijkstra, Wycliffe Norway. Started 1990 together with his wife Bible translation into Saafi-Saafi, a language in Senegal. The translation of the New Testament is now practically completed and will, together with the translation of Genesis and Exodus, soon be published.


How sharply defined is meaning?

Lecture and discussion


Various linguistic theories suggest a certain vagueness in the concept of meaning. The suggestion seems tb be that the speaker gives clues and the listener makes guesses as to what the speaker might have meant.’

This talk will explore the idea that speakers may well have a lot more control than some of these theories suggest. These theories normally assume the existence of two phases: a formal parse-like procedure, entirely under control of the speaker’s uttrerance of course, followed by further processing by the hearer’s own free intelligence. Here we will explore the possibiity of a phase in between, which is already intelligent, but yet under the speaker’s considerable control.

18.15-19.00 Evening Snack (Sandwich with Coffee and Tea) on request

19.00-20.30 Workshop.Hans-Olav Mörk, former Head of Translation Norwegian Bible Society and Dr. Julian K. Lysvik, Senior Translation Consultant for Bible Translation


Body metaphors and inclusive terms – possibilities and impossibilities


The Norwegian Bible Society has revised its Standard Translation, Bible 2011. The revised text, Bible 2024, was published in March. The focus has been on the New Testament. In this workshop two revision themes will be presented for discussion: the gender inclusive translation of gr. adelfos/adelfoi and the translation of gr. sarx when connoting the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

In Bible 2011 the gr. m. pl. adelfoi, “brothers” (Norw. “brødre”), was rendered with an inclusive term, “søsken”, where the textual context makes the inclusive meaning plausible. Bible 2024 has gone one step further by translating the m. sg. adelfos, consistently represented by “brother” in Bible 2011, with “brother and/or sister” where it is used inclusively, as in Matt 5‒7. However, “brother” alone is kept where the texts otherwise would be stylistically cluttered.

Bible 2011 introduced the Norwegian word “kjøtt” as a tr of gr. sarx where Paul uses this metaphor to designate the body as a source of self-centered and destructive desires. However, in Norwegian there are no separate terms corresponding to “flesh” and “meat” in English. Thus, the term “kjøtt” must be interpreted from context in each instance. In addition, Bible 2024 has expanded the metaphoric use of “kjøtt” to include the incarnation, eg. in John 1,14. For, how could Christ “condemned sin in the flesh” (“i kjøttet”, Rom 8:3) without becoming “kjøtt” himself?

Out of 20.30 Day out in Cafeteria


Thursday 16th of May

08.00-08.45 Breakfast

08.45-09.00 Devotion

09.00-10.15 Dr. Gert J. Steyn, Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Theology at the Theologische Hochschule Ewersbach in Germany and Professor Extraordinarius in Old Testament at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria. He completed doctorates in New Testament (DD, Pretoria 1994) and Biblical Languages (DLitt, Stellenbosch 2008). He has published more than 200 articles, worked on three Afrikaans-language Bible translations, and is now writing a commentary on Book IV of the Greek Psalter (SBL SCS). He is, among other things, a member of the international SNTS and an Alexander von Humboldt and DAAD alumnus.

Christ as εἰκών in the New Testament – Image or Likeness?

Lecture and discussion


Bible translations differ in passages such as 2 Cor 4:4 and Col 1:15 on their translation of Christ as εἰκών of God. Some go the “Image of God” route, others go the “Likeness of God” route. Many German translations simply translate the word εἰκών as “image” (Bild). Most other translations take “likeness” (Ebenbild) as a translation. But there are also some who translate it in the sense of “copy” (Abbild), or in Dutch "afbeelding van God". An image, in the sense of a copy or “Abbild”, is an imprint or projection of something and is intended to represent something faithfully. Illustrations never fully capture the original, but only partially - as Kant, for example, illustrates the difference between a thing in itself and a captured version of it. This latter meaning corresponds more to the Platonic idea of shadows. The translation has fundamental theological consequences in relation to the divinity of Christ. So how should one translate εἰκών in relation to Christ in the New Testament? With image, likeness, or another term?

10.15-10.45 Coffee Break

11.00-12.00 Dr. Mikael Winninge, Associate Professor and Director of Translation,

Swedish Bible Society Terminological Coherence in the Swedish NT 2026 Translation Project



The ongoing Swedish translation project works with a number of guiding principles, which to a certain extent are hierarchically organised. In addition, the translation is guided by a hermeneutical approach, where the communication between implied authour and implied audience is considered as more important to take into account in the translation process than the environment of the narrated events and their supposed historical background. One of the guiding principles is to avoid to much variation when translating significant Greek words. A strictly concordant translation is of course neither possible nor desirable, but terminological coherence is achievable to a high degree. This paper demonstrates how this can be done by presenting a number of concrete examples.

12.00-12.45 Lunch

13.15-13.35 Follow up questions and discussion of Prof. Winninge’s lecture

13.35 -14.50 Dr. Harald Aarbakke, Associate Professor in the New Testament at Fjellhaug International University College. He received his Ph.D. in theology from the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo. Aarbakke is a former missionary to Indonesia.

Tracing different trajectories in the translation of Ephesians 4:28 in a select group of languages

Lecture and discussion

Abstract Who must no longer steal? Is it the one who has stolen, who stole, who steals or the thief. The first part of Ephesians 4:28 is translated with a great deal of variety. The various translations can be categorized into four (broad) groups: present prefect tense, past tense, present tense and using a noun. In this presentation I will give an overview of how this part of the verse has been translated in the three Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish from the time of the reformation to the present and notice which category/-ies are dominant in these languages. What patterns can we discern within each language and across them? I will then compare the Scandinavian translations with a select group of English and German translations. Finally, I will discuss the Greek text, arguing for my own preferred translation choice and offer some suggestions as to why we have ended up with the different translation choices.

Lecture and discussion.

15.00-15.20 Outlook 20th Bible Translation Forum/20. Forum Bibelübersetzung

15.30-15.45 Closing

16.00 Dinner


Friday 17th of May

07.45 Everybody meets outside the main entrance. The Norwegian flag is hoisted while the national anthem is sung. Afterwards those who want, walk around the campus in a short parade (20-25 minutes),

Ca. 08.00 A good 17th May breakfast is served in the dining room.

N.B.: There is no serving of dinner on May 17. For those who stay the weekend, breakfast (included) and dinner (120 NOK) are served every day, but no lunch.


COSTS Prices in Norwegian kroner (NOK)


Ordinary room with shower and WC, incl. breakfast: 850 (Euro 75) per night

Double room (two persons) with shower and WC, incl. breakfast: 1150 (Euro 102) per night


Meals set in the program (lunch and dinner) will amount to 440 (Euro 38) per person (lunch 80, dinner 140)

On request: Evening snack 70 (Euro 6)

Participants may come Tuesday 14th and they may stay to Friday 17th or even Saturday 18th.

If any of the participants have some kind of allergy concerning food, please give us information.