When I lived in Romania, I wanted a Romanian Bible, and the only one I could find was at the little Bible store close to the Orthodox Cathedral in Sibiu, across the street from the Orthodox Seminary where I taught English to girls becoming Orthodox nuns. I enjoyed reading it, and it taught me a lot of Romanian. However, I found a lot of discrepancies in the translation. There were places where I knew enough Bible to compare it to English and Spanish translations of the Bible I had when I wondered if it was right, and there were mistakes, and some places where the priest who translated it purposefully changed what what written. For Example, in Matthew 12, when Jesus was in a house full of people teaching, and his mother and brothers came to talk to him, the Orthodox priest actually put in parenthesis, “These were not really his brothers, but his cousins.” You ask, “Why he would do something like that?”. Well, according to the Orthodox church, Mary was forever a virgin which means she couldn’t have had any more kids, so if he left it as “brothers,” he would be going against the Orthodox doctrine. However, I know if we look in other places in the Bible, they were Jesus brothers, and we are even given their names. If we look in Matthew chapter 1, at the end of the chapter, we find that Mary did, indeed, sleep with Joseph after Jesus was born because that is what it says, and the Orthodox priest who translated the version I was using didn’t realize that was there and change it.
You wonder why the English and Spanish translations of the Bible I have would be the translations I compared it to. Well, to begin with, I don’t understand Greek, but I understand English and Spanish very well. The translations of the Bible I have in English and Spanish were done by a group of translators from different religions. That means that they checked one another while the were translating. If one mistranslated, the others would find it and not let it be mistranslated. However, the Romanian version of the Bible I was using was made by one Orthodox priest. If he made a mistake or changed anything, no one would know, and it would be published that way. I wanted another version of the Bible in Romanian, but that was all I had, so I used it and was just careful about checking it. Since it was the only one I could find, I thought maybe it was the only translation. After all, when I bought it, I was living in Romania, and there were no computers to do an internet search. I have found out recently that I was wrong. There are other translations, and one that looks really good.
The Romanians have always been serious about Christianity, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are more translations. The first translations of the Bible into Romanian were made by Hungarians in Transylvania in the 1500’s, but it was just the Old Testament. There were also several other partial translations of parts of the Bible into Romanian. The first complete translation of the Bible into Romanian was done in 1688, close to the time period that the King James Version was translated into English, so you know the language has changed since it was translated like it has in the King James Version which was translated in 1611 using Shakespearean language. The Romanian version was called in English, “The Bible of Bucharest,” and it was done by a team of translators.
If these guys didn’t have any any other agenda beside translating it correctly from Greek and Hebrew, it is probably a decent translation, but I haven’t seen it and had a chance to compare it to other Bibles. However, what I read about it says that the objective was to make it as close to the original as possible, and it was translated from the Septuagint. About a century later, an Orthodox bishop made a translation called “The Bible of Blaj.” In the 1850’s another Orthodox Bishop made a translation called “The Bible of Buzau.”
In 1928, an Orthodox Bishop turned Protestant named Cornilescu translated a Bible from the Greek and Hebrew into Romanian funded by a British Bible society. From everything I have looked at, this Bible translation is considered very reliable. The Protestants in Romania really like it. It is the version that my daughter found here in Korea in a second hand bookstore. From what I have learned about it, there are two main translations used in Romania today, and this is one of the translations. I checked out some of the passages that people have a tendency to mistranslate, and until now, I haven’t found any discrepancies. I understand why it is a popular translation.
There are several good maps in the back.
There have been several updates on the Bible translated in 1928, and the version we have is an update from 2006. It seems to be a study Bible which is great for the Romanians! There is an introduction to each book telling things like when it was written, who wrote it, major themes, things that set it apart, and outlines of each book. There is a Bible dictionary as well as a concordance in the Back. There is a long list of words that the original translation had misspelled or written according to usage when it was first translated, and the correct spelling is written beside it. You can also find a chart of the miracles of Jesus as well as a chart of the stories of Jesus. It looks like a very useful Bible for a Romanian Christian whether he is Prodestant (Pocaiti), Orthodox, or just a Christian. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of problems, and it has a lot of helps.
There is another Bible translation that should be noted here. It is a modern translation done lately in America in January 2008. It is done by an organization called “Bible in My Language” or BIML based in Baltimore, Maryland I don’t know anything about it except it is the newest translation. Christianity has long been very important in Romania, and it is very fitting for them to have good translations of the Bible.
According to the Romanians I talked to, Christianity was originally brought to Romania by the Apostle Thomas. The Romanian people have known about God since the beginning of Christianity. The destruction of church buildings and the arrest of a Romanian preacher is part of what brought about the Romanian revolution. They are serious about wanting Christianity. I am glad there is more than one translation for them to choose from. I really like the Bible translation my daughter found. She only understands a little of it, but I can read it like it is English and know what is there, and it is not only a good translation, but the study helps are great too!