Contemporary Theory and Practice of Bible Translation

Interconfessional seminar at the Pontifical Urbaniana University
September 27 - October 1, 2021



Seminar description
This annual seminar aims to engage students in an exploration of the contemporary theory and practice of Bible translation, through focus on a particular topic or problematic within the field. The theme focus of this year’s seminar will be “Translating the Bible as literature: translating narrative and rhetorical discourse”.
Throughout history, countless scholars and writers have recognized the literary richness of the biblical text, replete with vivid passages in a full range of genres, styles and poetic forms. In the course of their work, translators of the Bible need also strive to produce translations that reflect this richness and variety in the voices and cadences of the receptor language.
The seminar will guide the students into the narrative and rhetorical genres to examine the unique issues they pose for the translation process, where the goal is to produce translated texts that are aesthetically expressive and communicate naturally.

Seminar objectives
By the end of the seminar, a successful student will:
• Identify and analyze some of the more prevalent literary properties of biblical narrative and rhetorical discourse, as exemplified in specified texts from both the Old and New Testaments.
• Demonstrate appreciation for the expressive potential of vernacular language, highlighting specific examples from the language(s) of their own cultural context.
• Produce draft translations that demonstrate attention to literary structure and expression, as well as exegetical care.

Seminar requirements
This seminar is designed for those students of Teologia Biblica who are pursuing either their second year of Licenza, or their doctoral degree.
It is intended to be a hybrid seminar, incorporating both in-class and online learning; however, Covid-19 contingencies may necessitate an exclusively online learning experience. The university’s Covid-19 protocols will apply to all participating students and professors.
The course will utilize synchronous (in-class and at the same time live-streamed) large group lectures, small group discussions, and one-on-one consultations, as well as asynchronous online assignments, discussions, and quizzes.

Prior to the September 27 - October 1 gathering in Rome, students will be required to complete and submit two pre-seminar assignments, as well as review all preparatory readings. During the five days of the course, morning and afternoon lectures will be followed by time spent in groups working on relevant practical exercises. A final project for the course, which will be introduced in Rome, will also be required and should be submitted on line before the end of the calendar year.

Passive knowledge of English is required as English will be the principal language of instruction for most of the course while Italian will be the other language of instruction.
Lectures online will be accompanied by simultaneous translation by subtitle or by English translations of Italian lectures in hardcopy.
Written assignments may be submitted in English, Spanish, French or Italian, depending upon the student’s preference.


Prof. Pasquale BASTA
Pontificia Università Urbaniana / Pontificio Istituto Biblico

Dr. Simon CRISP
United Bible Societies (retired)

American Bible Society

Prof. Andrzej M. GIENIUSZ
Pontificia Università Urbaniana

Dr. Lénart DE REGT
United Bible Societies

Prof. Giovanni RIZZI
Pontificia Università Urbaniana

Prof. Philip H. TOWNER
Pontificia Università Urbaniana



The grade that the student earns on the Final Project will serve as the student’s final grade for the Seminar.  (5 CREDITS)
Lastly, the Seminar final grade will be possibly part of the grades necessary to obtain the forthcoming Urbaniana Diploma Interconfessionale sulla Teoria e la Prassi per la Traduzione della Bibbia.


Contacts for further information
General questions
Dr. Valdo Bertalot –

Questions regarding matriculation
Prof. Andrzej M. Gieniusz –

Questions regarding seminar website(s)
Dr. Daniel Fitzgerald –