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Art and practice of translating the Bible. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, with scattered passages of Aramaic. It was first translated in its entirety into Aramaic and then, in the 3rd century AD, into Greek (the Septuagint). Hebrew scholars created the authoritative Masoretic text (6th–10th century) from Aramaic Targums, the original Hebrew scrolls having been lost. The New Testament was originally in Greek or Aramaic. Christians translated both Testaments into Coptic, Ethiopian, Gothic, and Latin. St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate (405) was the standard Christian translation for 1,000 years. New learning in the 15th–16th century generated new translations. Martin Luther translated the entire Bible into German (1522–34). The first complete English translation, credited to John Wycliffe, appeared in 1382, but it was the King James version (1611) that became the standard for more than three centuries. By the late 20th century the entire Bible had been translated into 250 languages and portions of it into more than 1,300.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on biblical translation, visit Britannica.com.
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