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Washington Adventist University Leads Russian Bible Translation Project

Story by Visitor Staff
Published 3/7/2012


Mikhail Kulakov, DPhil, is director and editor-in-chief of the Bible Translation Institute, which is based at Washington Adventist University.

In 2010 Mikhail Kulakov, DPhil, became director and editor-in-chief of the Bible Translation Institute, which is based at Washington Adventist University. While Kulakov is based at the Takoma Park, Md.-campus, he is partnering with the Zaosky Adventist Seminary and Institute in Russia.

Recently, the entire Sabbath service at Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., was devoted to raising awareness of the project. Kulakov preached for both worship services and Elena Rudoy, a Russian soloist, sang at a fundraising concert that evening. Kulakov shares his thoughts on this work below:

Q: Isn’t there already a Russian translation of the Bible?
A: The most recent translation of the complete Bible authorized by the Russian Orthodox Church, the Synodal translation, was published in 1875. For most Russians today, it is practically unreadable. The WAU institute is leading in the translation of the Bible into contemporary Russian language.

In his address to the 1917 Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, I. Yevseyev, chairman of the Russian Bible Commission, said this translation, “does not follow consistently the original text. A much more serious problem is its literary backwardness. The language of the translation is heavy, outdated …”

Q: What is the Bible being translated from to what?
A: The current project involves the translation of the entire Bible into the Russian language. The Old Testament is being translated from the ancient Hebrew and the New Testament from the biblical Greek.

Q: Who are the participants in this project?
A: The WAU Bible Translation Institute is an exciting initiative in international and inter-denominational scholarly collaboration. Together with the team of biblical scholars from various universities across Russia, the WAU institute is leading in the project of the translation of the Bible into contemporary Russian language.

We value the privilege to enlist the help of many distinguished scholars in Russia and the assistance of the United Bible Societies with the preparation of the electronic text. We are enjoying a very close and profitable collaboration with the leading philologists and Biblical scholars in Russia.

Q: When will this new translation be ready?
A: The New Testament, the Psalms and the Pentateuch have already been completed and published and the institute plans to publish the new translation of the entire Bible by 2015.