In this groundbreaking work, Bible translation is presented as an expression of contextualization that explores the neglected riches of the verbal arts in the New Testament. Going beyond a historical study of media in antiquity, this book explores a renewed interest in oral performance that informs methods and goals of Bible translation today. Such exploration is concretized in the New Testament translation work in central Africa among the Vute people of Cameroon.
This study of contextualization appreciates the agency of local communities--particularly in Africa--who seek to express their Christian faith in response to anthropological pauperization. An extended analysis of African theologians demonstrates the ultimate goals of contextualization: liberation and identity.
Oral performance exploits all the senses in experiencing communication while performer, text, and audience negotiate meaning. Performance not only expresses but also shapes identity as communities express their faith in varied contexts. This book contends that the New Testament compositions were initially performed and not restricted to individualized, silent reading. This understanding encourages a reexamination of how Bible translation can be done. Performance is not a product but a process that infuses biblical studies with new insights, methods, and expressions.