Sunday, 12 February 2017
The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Reception of Faith,
Andrew F. Walls, T&T Clark, 2002
Chapter 2, "Christianity in the Non-Wstern World" (pp. 27-48), page 29
Having identified translation as a key issue, Walls goes on to compare Christianity with Islam:
Christian faith must go on being translated, must continuously enter into vernacular culture and interact with it, or it withers and fades. Islamic absolutes are fixed in a particular language, and in the conditions of a particular period of human history. The divine Word is the Qur'an, fixed in heaven forever in Arabic, the language of original revelation.
It seems churlish to point out that for many centuries, the church world operated exclusively and very fixedly in Latin and that many who attempted to produce vernacular translations paid fit it with their lives. During the Victorian era mission was very fixed in culture if not in language, with 'converts' expected to take on Victorian dress and behaviour. It is only in more recent times that both language and expression have had a freedom in translation.