Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'Let us go down, and there confound their language': The Bible in Translation

A one-day conference at Birkbeck College
When? Saturday, 28 May 2011, 9:00 - 19:00
Where? Rm B36, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Keynote speaker: Professor Stephen Prickett (Kent)

2011 marks the fourth centenary of the publication of the King James Bible, now widely recognised as the landmark work in the history of English scriptural translation. It is an appropriate time, then, for a retrospective glance at the Bible's place in the English language, from its earliest incarnations in Aelfric and other Old English writers, through the manifold late medieval and early modern versions of Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale and others, to the present day, when the Bible is still being adapted to the idioms of modern speech, as in Rob Lacey's Street Bible (2002). More than any other work, the Bible has participated bilaterally in the development and enrichment of the language, and of the cultures which that language has underpinned.

This conference seeks to explore the relationship between Bible and bibles, Logos (John 1.1) and logoi, message and words. To what extent can the Bible communicate in its English translations? To what extent is it, as a text, already translation: as John closes his Gospel, if all the works of Jesus should be put down in words, 'I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written'.

9:00 - 9:30: Registration

9:30 - 11:00 Panel 1: The Middle Ages
Lucy Allen (York): 'In latyn he nuste what heo songe': Romanticizing Translation Debates in the Manuscripts of Robert of Sicily
Hannah Bailey (Oxford): An Obscuring Sign: The Tempter as Intermediary in the Old English Genesis B
Zach Stone (Oxford): 'Dauid sang þysne tƿa and tƿenteogeþan sealm, þa he ƿitegode be israela folces freodome': Historical Exegesis and Reading the Psalms in Anglo Saxon England.

11:00 - 11:30: Coffee

11:30 - 13:00: Panel 2: The Modern Period
Sophie Gray (Liverpool): Tyndale and the Text in the Heart
Anthony Ossa-Richardson (Warburg Institute): Edward Harwood and the Enlightenment Bible

Rhiannon Grant (Leeds): Inclusive Language: Feminist Re-Writing of the Bible

13:00 - 14:00: Lunch (own arrangements)

14:00 - 15:30: Panel 3: Modern, Postmodern and Beyond
Naomi Dyer (Aberystwyth): 'There is no new thing under the sun': An Exploration of Biblical Frameworks and Phraseology in 20th Century Literature
Lyn Poole (Roehampton): Douglas Coupland's Task as Translator: Postmodern Re-workings of the eschaton
Dennis Duncan (Birkbeck): Translating for 10,000 Years: The Bible and the Atomic Priesthood

15:30 - 16:00: Coffee

16:00 - 17:00: Keynote: Prof. Stephen Prickett (Kent): Robert Lowth and the Role of the Biblical Translator

17:00 - 19:00: Wine Reception

For more information, please contact Dennis Duncan (d.duncan@english.bbk.ac.uk) or Anthony Ossa-Richardson (anthony.richardson@postgrad.sas.ac.uk)


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