NIDA School of Translation Studies

This is the first day of the 2014 NIDA School of Translation Studies here in Misano Adriatica, near Rimini in Italy. I am very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this very diverse group of scholars. This morning I had a conversation with Gerald West about academics who resisted Apartheid in the 80s, many losing their liberty and some their lives, and then met Jonadob Nathaniel, who is involved in a project to translate the Bible into India's hundreds of indigenous languages.

Towner, Translating Alterity

The first paper this morning was from Phil Towner of the NIDA Institute, a lecture titled "Translating Alterity: Reflections on Bible Translation in Light of Psychoanalytic Theory." Phil is working on ways to integrate psychoanalytic theory with the study of translation of sacred texts. The idea is that since the unconscious functions like language, and is shaped by language, then the tools of psychoanalysis can be used to understand language, especially in those cases where the unconscious reveals itself in the written word.

One major type of unconscious manifestation is the "pun." Phil's paper explored the textual echoes between 2 Timothy 1:7 ("God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.") and Romans 8:15 ("God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.") There is a pun in which δουλειας---"slavery"--- in Romans becomes δειλιας---"fear"--- in 2 Timothy. He connected this back to the LXX's use of δειλιας in the instructions to (new leader) Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:8 and Joshua 1:9.

It was a very interesting paper exploring the interface of theory and exegesis, and an excellent start to the conference.