Book Review: Biblio (IKUE-KELI Version)

Biblio, with the Old Testament translated by Ludoviko Lazaro Zamenhof, the Deuterocanonical Books translated by Gerrit Berveling, and the New Testament translated by the British Committee (John Cyprian Rust, B. John Beveridge, and C.G. Wilkinson)

In case you ever wondered what a Bible would look like if was in Esperanto, translated in part by the creator of the language himself (who translated the Tanakh), and authorized by both the Catholic (IKUE) and non-Catholic Christian (KELI) Esperanto associations, this is a remarkable translation.  It should be freely admitted that I review many translations of the Bible as an avid book reviewer [1], and it is also worthwhile to ponder where among the various translations of the Bible this one happens to rest.  In stark contrast to many recent translations, this one is a no frills edition–there are no lengthy introductions to the book, no maps, no indices, no footnotes, no extra material of any kind except for a very short set of remarks at the end of the Bible and, as is customary in Esperanto books, the Table of Contents at the end.  In contrast to the NIrV Bible, this is not a Bible in a simplified English for international readers, but a Bible in a rich and beautiful Esperanto style for international readers in an international language.  Also in stark contrast to the Bibles I tend to read and review, this Bible contains the Apocryphal books intermixed into the Old Testament, largely for Catholic readers as hardly anyone else these days is familiar with these works of largely Hellenistic Judaism.

So, what are the contents of this book?  We have already noticed that this Bible includes quite a few unfamiliar books, but the order of the books is otherwise in an order that is familiar to most English readers of the Bible, aside from the aforementioned apocryphal works being included.  When I read a Bible, there are at least a few qualities I look for, especially in a Bible like this one which places its value squarely on its text and not any kind of supporting apparatus or extras.  The following comments are meant to give a sort of impressionistic sketch of what one will find:  no Johanine pericope in 1 John 5:7-8, the longer ending of the Gospel of Mark, the material of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery in John 8, but marked in brackets because of its disputed status, a beautiful translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that includes a great deal of often neglected poetry as well as the biblical waw (and) construction of the Creation account, and a generally elegant style throughout.  The Bible is small enough to be reasonably portable and contains enough contents to keep someone reading for a while.  I know I plan on using this Bible as a resource for learning the vocabulary and style of Esperanto while appreciating the scriptures.

More than most books, the audience for this book is striking and distinctive.  Perhaps most obviously, this book is meant for Esperanto-literate Christians, or Christian Esperantists, however one wants to place the emphasis.  Additionally, this book is a striking piece of evidence in favor of a large degree of ecumenical spirit in the Esperanto-speaking world.  In the United States, where Bible versions proliferate and where there is a fierce degree of hostility between those who favor one version of the Bible over another, and where outside of Catholics and those people odd enough to acquire and read the books on their own, few people are even familiar with the non-inspired but historically interesting works composed between Malachi and the Gospels, such an ecumenical spirit is unheard of.  It would appear that this Bible represents an attempt to ground a common Word of God in which religious communication can exist, rather than seek to fill the world with slightly different translations.  If so, this is a good book to serve as that common ground of authority for which believers in scripture like myself can cite, and makes for a book that I plan on citing and quoting in any Bible studies I write in Esperanto in the foreseeable future, and I can think of little more praise that it would be possible to give than that.  Reading this, I can imagine many who would feel the same way.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Book Review: Biblio (IKUE-KELI Version)

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The American Esperanto Book | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Lingvistikaj Aspectoj De Esperanto | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The October Testament | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: Esperanto And The EU’s Unusual Revenge | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: Book Review: Questioning Evangelism | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s