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The Translator

It is a daunting task to take on the translation of Scripture into the English language. With the weight of a great tradition of translation, going back centuries, and the sheer dominance of the major translations; it requires skill, courage and great conviction.

Add to this the obvious challenge of translating manuscripts from an ancient language, and then the fact that these words form the foundation of faith for millions of people across the world. These words are loved, sung, recited and passed on, with enormous reverence and deep conviction, from generation to generation.

Then consider the art and science of translation itself; it takes a very special type of person, with incredibly unique skills, to do it well.

It requires the sharp, critical intellect of a scholar, and the wisdom, empathy and creative insight of the artist. It assumes rigorous, disciplined research into the history and usage of a language within a culture. It then needs a deep emotional engagement with the human reality behind the words, and a writer’s ability to articulate all of this in text that feels transparent and credible.

Perhaps Elizabeth Edwards has restored the originality, simplicity and power of these unique texts.

paul w. barnett
prominent theologian, historian and popular author

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is a wonderful translator. She is that very unusual blend of scholarly, sceptical academic and creative, passionate artist.

She is a simple, humble woman who is devoted to her husband, her family and friends, and her small local church. For almost her entire life, she has felt a deep connection with, and love for the Gospels of Jesus, through the Koine Greek texts.

Her translations reflect all of this, resulting in text that is intellectually satisfying, viscerally engaging and very human.

She is a kindred spirit with the translators of the King James Version, their intention being to make a version of Scripture that spoke directly to any listener, with a true sense of the force and immediacy of the original.

philip harvey
carmelite library, melbourne, australia

Some history

Inspired as a child by a teacher who would translate directly from the Greek text as he read, Elizabeth has studied the Koine Testament for the last 60 years. From Melbourne University, where she also studied French and Latin, she went on to concentrate on the Greek New Testament at the Melbourne College of Divinity.

There have been a number of milestones leading to the publication of this translation. One of these was a period of four years, working as part of a team under Dr Greg Horsley, on a revision of Moulton and Milligan’s “Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament”. Another was the publication of a commentary on the Beatitudes and the book of James, entitled “Brothers”. She has also run non-academic courses, studying the Koine texts, for lay ministers and parishioners.

Chronically dissatisfied with the available translations of scripture, she became renowned, at her various local churches, for her passionate bible readings. These readings entered a “golden age” at Montrose Uniting Church in Victoria, Australia - a community that nurtured her talent to such an extent that this full translation of the Gospels became possible.

Humble origins

It is hard to imagine a more modest setting for the production of such an impressive and important piece of work.

This is a translation that has greatly impressed prominent New Testament scholars with its deep and multi-layered understanding of the original text, and the distillation of all of this in disarmingly simple and direct words.

And yet it comes from a humble, unassuming woman, in an old house in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Until the launch of the publication, the translation was only ever heard in their church and Bible Studies.

This translation is all gift. It is the result of a lifetime of yearning, research, and love for the message embedded in the Gospels. It is given so that the people around her might also experience something of the depth, passion and earthy humanity of the original texts, and the opportunity afforded to refresh and deepen their relationship with Jesus.

The Gospels for Hearers is published by Dianggellia Press

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