Seven syllable words give me hives.  Possibly this is because I spend many of my working hours attempting to redefine translation issues in plain English.

So when I came on the agenda for a planned conference where every speaker’s topic included the word “contextualization”  I started ransacking the cupboard for an antihistamine. But then I thought that perhaps I was just being stubbornly out-of-date so I went on line for a definition.

Turns out that this is a current buzzword specific to the field of Bible Translation, and missiology- at least that’s what Wikipedia thinks.

“The term contextualization includes all that is implied in indigenization or inculturation, but also seeks also to include the realities of contemporary, secularity, technology, and the struggle for human justice… Contextualization both extends and corrects the older terminology. While indigenization tends to focus on the purely cultural dimension of human experience, contextualization broadens the understanding of culture to include social, political, and economic questions. In this way, culture is understood in more dynamic and flexible ways, and is seen not as closed and self-contained, but as open and able to be enriched by an encounter with other cultures and movements.”- Regunta Yesurathnam

I think I’m glad that the Bible was written in Greek and Hebrew and not English.


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