, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 423–448 | Cite as

Translating Religious Texts

‘When we Learn to Speak, we are Learning to Translate’, Octavio Paz
  • Max Charlesworth


Certain philosophical problems occur in biblical interpretations where concepts that belong to the scriptural world – full of references to demonic forces and miraculous events including raisings from the dead – have to be translated into meaningful concepts in our twenty-first-century western world. A crucial issue that arises is that any interpretation of a text can, at best, be probable and can never be absolutely final and certain. This in turn has implications for the act of faith that any believer makes. Church traditions, the teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals, and papal dictates are also subject to interpretation and are equally problematic. Attempts by Kant and others to avoid these difficulties by arguing that biblical texts are not descriptive but quasi-performative are also considered and rejected.


Interpretation Translation Probability The Act of Faith Descriptive and Performative Texts 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SOPHIAThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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