La Bible Africaine – A review (PE nr. 1088 – 2018/02)

La Bible Africaine.
Texte biblique de la TOB comprenant l’Ancien et le Nouveau Testament traduits sur les textes originaux,
ISBN 978-2-37360-006-3,
Editions Paulines, Kinshasa, 2015, 2240 pages


Each year we have new Bibles in French which goes to show that this book remains the most important best seller in the world. However, one has to say that not all the Bibles have the same quality. However, this time, I want to present this Bible not only because of its links with Africa but for its exceptional quality (and its modest price).

This is not a new translation; it uses the translation which, to my mind, is the best one available in French: the 2010 edition of the TOB (Traduction œcuménique de la Bible).

The link to the English edition is noted on page two, but what makes this edition stand out is the big difference in the quality of the introductions and the notes. Many, I think, were disappointed by the The African Bible not only because of the English translation employed, (The New American Bible), but also by the quality of the introductions and footnotes. Of course, links with African cultures were made but remained very traditional and old fashioned even in the second edition published in 2011.

Therefore it is to the credit of the 14 translators, editors and collaborators of the French edition, from what I have been able to gather from the introductions and notes that I have consulted, that we now have a Bible which is up to date regarding current biblical research.

Here is an example taken from the introduction to the Book of Genesis: “Researchers who have carefully analysed the books of the Pentateuch have identified different sources or traditions called the Yahwist (J), Elohist (E), Priestly (P) and Deuteronomistic (D). This documentary theory is no longer unanimously held because it does not answer all the questions concerning the formation of the Pentateuch in general and that of Genesis in particular. The researchers are continuing their search for a better explanation. Some are proposing that the major narrative and legislative collections should be considered as being originally independent.” (p.22).

Other elements are taken from the English edition and they have contributed to making this a quality Bible: cover, general presentation, parallels, maps, illustrations and a thematic index (p 2194-2240).

Guy Theunis, M.Afr.

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