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How was the Bible translated?

Atualizado: 12 de Set de 2019

In different countries and cultures, the Bible exerts huge influence on the social organization and cultural rites. This spiritual book presented theories for the origin of the Earth and man, became the foundation for several religions, taught us parables and its influence went as far as the art history like in Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo works.



This is one of the first books of mankind and still today it is a best-seller around the world. Precisely by being so old and crossing so many cultures, there are countless doubts on how the messages from papyri written more than two thousand years ago have reached us.


When the first translation of the Bible was made?


The first translation happened between Century I A.C. and III A.C; this was a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic to Greek and it is known as LXX (Seventy) or Septuaginta. Evidently this was a translation of the Old Testament only; the New Testament started being translated in large scale in the first centuries after Christ right after being written by the apostles.


With the expansion of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, Latin translations of the Old and New Testaments started being made; these informal translations were made so that the people who would not understand Greek or Hebrew could have access to the texts.


How was the first translation made?


The history of the first translation is quite vague; one of the most known versions is that King Ptolemy II Philadelphus requested it to the Jerusalem High Priest who sent 72 elders of the Israel tribes to translate from Hebrew and Aramaic to Greek. Other versions mention that the translations started individually and heterogeneously along the Centuries I A.C. and III A.C.


Another story is that the first translation of the Bible to a language accessible to the masses was made into Latin by Saint Jerome, which became known as the Vulgate (meaning Of the Common People) and was used for centuries to come; based on that, Saint Jerome became the Saint Patron of translators with celebration on September 30.


What was the Bible original language?


The Bible was not written in one language only, but in three different ones. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, as this was the language spoken in the area inhabited by Hebrews; a small part was written in Aramaic and only one Book of the Old Testament was written in Greek: The Book of Wisdom. The New Testament is believed to have been written entirely in Greek.


When was the Bible translated into Portuguese?


The Bible first translation into Portuguese was made by João Ferreira de Almeida and printed in 1753, fruit of his work started in 1645, when he was 17 years old. Knowledgeable in Hebrew and Greek, João Ferreira de Almeida used several manuscripts of these languages to compose the translation. His translation of the New Testament was first published in 1681 in Amsterdam. At the time of his death, João Ferreira de Almeida had already translated the Old Testament up to the Book of Ezekiel; his work was resumed by Jacobus op den Akker in 1748, being first printed five years later. The first edition in one single volume of a full Portuguese translation came to print only in 1819 in London.

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