Ukrainian Bible Society Discusses Possible Modernization of Ivan Ohienko's Translation of the Bible
KYIV – On March 10, 2010, the Ukrainian Bible Society held this year's first meeting of the central management board to analyze the achievements of the society in 2009, the current status of the organization, and plan of action for the nearest future. According to its president, Hryhorii Comendant, 18 churches and religious organizations are currently members of the society. The organization includes four regional departments, in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Kherson.
The participants in particular discussed the finalization of the translation of the Bible by Fr. Rafail Turkoniak of the Ukrainian Geek Catholic Church.
A lively discussion was provoked by the project of "modernization" of the translation of the Bible by Ivan Ohienko aimed to replace archaisms with modern words. The corrections do not change the meaning of the translation. According to the supporters of the project, it will help the population, especially the younger generations, receive this most popular Ukrainian translation.
At the same time, a long-term member of the management board of the society, Professor Dmytro Stepovyk, a Doctor of Theology and Art Criticism, warned against the modernization of the existing translations of the Bible: "Translation of the Bible is not only a spiritual phenomenon and Divine revelation but also a phenomenon of the culture. The culture of the language in the broadest possible sense. There is a notion of ‘preservation of identity’ of any monument of language study, terminology study, or any other. Take for example the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution. It contains a lot of archaisms which were used in the colonies in the 18th century. Not a single word or coma has been changed in the document. In that way the respect for that time, those people, that language is expressed. It is my proposal not to touch Ivan Ohienko’s translation. The translation of the Bible made by Ivan Ohienko is a monument of the biblical translation literature of Ukraine of the 30-40s of the last century. It has been aprobated by the United Bible Societies. Ivan Ohienko is a unique representative of the Ukrainian hierarchs, he wrote about a thousand works. No one, not even our classics of the polemical literature of the 16th-18th centuries, has left such a heritage."