Publishing Releases for Reformation Celebration

2017. december 13., szerda

Three books were presented by the Hungarian Bible Society Foundation (HBSF) and the John Calvin Publishing House of RCH on October 24th in Budapest, at the publisher’s headquarters.

One of book presentations happened at Béla Bartók Primary Art School in the 17th district, with the students who provided illustrations for the book, the presentation included the singing of Psalms and zither music.

A newly translated Bible with bilingual New Testament and a revised concordance were presented for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Rev. Ottó Pecsuk, the general secretary of HBSF, said that the memorial events of the anniversary of the Reformation are slowly coming to an end, but the Bible Society – as well as the memorial events – have put the emphasis on the actuality of the Scriptures. As the Reformation placed the Bible as the center of attention, today it is still relevant to keep the Bible at the center.

“The Bible Society is cautious of any other approach to the reality of the Reformation, cautious of any claim that the Reformation can be seen only a cultural or a historical phenomenon. In fact, the Bible links the two ages, the Reformation and our day” said the general secretary. 

Biblical Concordance

“There is a long-standing need for readers to wait for a concordance until a newly translated Bible is revised,” said Árpád Galsi, director of John Calvin Publishing, who believes it is an important task to make the Bible, as the word of the creator, available to everyone in every possible form.

“Many people have asked us about how we are preparing for the memorial of the Reformation. For the most part, I have told them that we did not make anything especially for the Anniversary, but we did and continue to do our job. In the year of the Reformation we want to continue our mission and to continue to provide literary releases in the future” emphasized the publishing director.

As has been mentioned, in the revised edition of the New Bible translation from 2014 we find a concordance, a name and object index with 1086 entries with which Bible readers can find all the examples of a word or phrase in the Scripture. 

Revised Károli Translation

Judit P. Vásárhelyi, literary historian, employee of Széchényi National Library, and member of the board of trustees for HBSF updated and modernized the spelling for the New Testament and Book of Psalms textbook from the 1908 revised Károli translation. This book features short summaries and studies on the texts from famous literary historians, including essays on the role of the Bible in the Hungarian Reformation, the translation of the Hungarian Bible, and about Gáspár Károli.

Reverend Otto Pecsuk emphasized in the book that we cannot speak of the reformation without talking about the Károli Bible, but as a translation the Károli translation is not the same as the original Vizsoly Bible. However, the 1908 edition was used by the readers for more than hundred years, which legitimized the use of the translation in church and cultural life. “The constant task of the Bible Society is to bring the Bible closer to readers by translating the Bible into a form that makes the hebraic and greek text speak in today’s language. This is the aim of the new translation Bible. On the other hand, however, the Károli Bible cannot be ignored, it should be preserved in its own right. This revision can still be understood by everyone who reads it carefully. We have attempted to change the text, but to pass it on to today’ generations by adapting it with current spelling. Those who open it will not face the strangeness of 19th century spelling, and therefore they can pay attention to the wording” said the secretary general.

The New Testament in Two Languages

Viktória Lebovics, a lecturer at the Institute of Ukraine Philology department at the Eötvös Loránd University talked about the reasoning for the Ukrainian translation in the Ukrainian-Hungarian New Testament translation and the wider historical background of Ukrainian Bible translations.

Imre D. Szebik, the president of HBSF, said that the Ukrainian-Hungarian New Testament was part of a bilingual series that started decades ago.

“It was the dual destination of the release. Partly, our Hungarian counterparts, who are living beyond the borders and who are a minority there, can have the New Testament in the language of the country in which they live and in their native tongue, and on the other hand, in a Hungarian-Ukrainian marriage, both spouses can read the Word together in their native language. This is an initiative that goes beyond the nations involved, because the Bible itself is beyond the nations, as God is the God of all people, and Jesus Christ died for all” pointed out the president.

He said that the HBSF had handed over the volume to Beregoro (Beregszász) in Transcarpathia a few days ago and was very pleased to hear that there are thousands of Ukrainians who are currently studying in Hungarian, so the bilingual New Testament can also serve as a grammar book.

“In the year of the Reformation we have made these three editions available for those who want to study Scripture or learn the language, and to express that not only material wealth is important, not just the elevation of learning, but the spiritual values that the Bible proclaims” Imre D. Szebik said in closing. 

Originally published in the Reformátusok Lapja

Translated by Csenge Blaschek

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