Jiizus: The Jamaican Patois Bible

Screen shot 2011-12-24 at 9.03.46 PMRobert Pigott reports on the controversial new Bible translation into Jamaican patois for BBC News Magazine:

The Bible is, for the first time, being translated into Jamaican patois. It’s a move welcomed by those Jamaicans want their mother tongue enshrined as the national language – but opposed by others, who think learning and speaking English should be the priority.

In the Spanish Town Tabernacle near the capital, Kingston, the congregation is hearing the word of God in the language of the street.

At the front of the concrete-block church, a young man and woman read alternate lines from the Bible.

This is the Gospel of St Luke in Jamaican patois – or more precisely, “Jiizas – di buk we Luuk rait bout im”.

The sound of the creole, developed from English by West African slaves in Jamaica’s sugar plantations 400 years ago, has an electrifying effect on those listening.

Several women rise to testify, in patois, to what it means to hear the Bible in their mother tongue.

“It’s almost as if you are seeing it,” says a woman, referring to the moment when Jesus is tempted by the Devil.

“In the blink of an eye, you get the whole notion. It’s as though you are watching a movie… it brings excitement to the word of God.”…

[continues at BBC News Magazine]

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  • Bmwillits

    bahahahaha!!! Go figure that the English speaking traditionalists say that they shouldn’t be translating the Bible into the Jamaican language. Apparently translating English to Creole is too hard.  Are you kidding me!? Well did you English Christians ever think about how difficult it was to translate ancient Hebrew?  

    • chris

      To be accurate, the New Testament (the part of the Bible supposedly about Christ)  was written in Greek, not Hebrew.

  • Bmwillits

    bahahahaha!!! Go figure that the English speaking traditionalists say that they shouldn’t be translating the Bible into the Jamaican language. Apparently translating English to Creole is too hard.  Are you kidding me!? Well did you English Christians ever think about how difficult it was to translate ancient Hebrew?  

  • Jin (仁)

    it’s total paternalistic bullshit to oppose translation into local languages. patois is just as valid as any dialect or language bible already extant. let’s face it, we never have moved past ‘the queen’s english’ and the colonial/post-colonial effects, sensebilities, and racial hierarchies that implies.

  • Jin The Ninja

    it’s total paternalistic bullshit to oppose translation into local languages. patois is just as valid as any dialect or language bible already extant. let’s face it, we never have moved past ‘the queen’s english’ and the colonial/post-colonial effects, sensebilities, and racial hierarchies that implies.

  • chris

    To be accurate, the New Testament (the part of the Bible supposedly about Christ)  was written in Greek, not Hebrew.

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