Station: [930] foreign – home – Bible

  • Bibelhaus Erlebnis Museum

foreign – home – Bible

The Bible in my language – since when has it existed? Even in ancient times, extracts from the Bible were available not only in Hebrew but also in Greek and later in Latin. There were translations into other languages quite early on around the Mediterranean.

Today, the Bible has been translated into more than 2000 languages and is at home in all corners of the world, even in very remote areas. As different as people, cultures and languages are, many stories in the Bible are familiar across all boundaries and borders.

This part of the exhibition attempts to explain how the Bible came to be disseminated throughout the world. In contrast to other belief systems, the biblical religions attach great importance to people being able to hear the stories of the Bible in their own native languages.

But be aware! Language is not just a means of understanding – it is also a means of wielding power. The story of how the Bible was disseminated is both. Over and over, the Bible has been an instrument of power in the hands of the powerful: they try to dominate people through religion and mission. The dissemination of the Bible is also a global story of understanding that goes beyond cultural borders – now and then, the biblical message has served to free people from old and new powers.

To translate the Bible into your own language is one thing. Finding your way into the Bible is another. Approaches to the Bible can be quite different. They differ according to age or experience. It can be helpful to read the Bible in various translations or languages in order to understand better. It can also be helpful to have others show you how they understand the Bible in order to find your own way.

We begin around 600 years ago, as the first reformative attempts were made to make the Holy Scripture accessible by all. We go back in large steps of centuries through the history of books, in which the Bible has played an important role as a defining medium. The dissemination of the Bible has led continuously to inventions and renovations in the book business. Today we have the opportunity of travelling the world in our own neighbourhoods – all cultures are now at home just next door. And they have their Bibles with them. Let’s listen in.