Al-Kitab al-Muqaddas, Ay Kutub al-’Ahd al-Qadim wa al ahd al Jadeed. The Holy Bible. Old and New Testaments. TWO VOLUMES IN ONE.
Book ID: 34982
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The most popular translation is the Van Dyck Version, funded by the Syrian Mission and the American Bible Society. The project was the brainchild of Eli Smith, and started around 1847, centred in Beirut. After Eli Smith’s death it was completed under the direction of Cornelius Van Allen Van Dyck. Others involved included Nasif al Yaziji, Boutros al Bustani, and Yusuf al-Asir. The New Testament was completed on March 9, 1860, followed by the Old Testament on March 10, 1865. The original manuscript is preserved in the Near East School of Theology Library in Beirut. About 10 million copies of this version have been distributed since 1865. It has been accepted by the Coptic Church and the Protestant churches. This translation was based mostly on the same Textus Receptus as the King James Version of the Bible, and follows a more literal style of translation. Most printings of the Van Dyck version use the same basic printing plates which have been employed for years (possibly the same plates that were made when the translation was first adopted). These plates employ the “stacking” version of writing Arabic, in which, for example, letters that precede other specified letters, such as jīm, are written vertical to rather than horizontal to that letter. This style of Arabic can be hard to read at times, especially for non-native students of Arabic. More recently, newer printings of the Van Dyck have been made which employ a more common, straightforward Arabic font.
The Van Dyck translation was done at the beginning of the revival of Modern Standard Arabic as a literary language, and consequently many of the terms coined did not enter into common use. One indication of this is a recent edition of the Van Dyck printed by the Bible Society in Egypt, which includes a glossary of little-understood vocabulary, with around 3000 entries. In addition to obsolete or archaic terms, this translation uses religious terminology that Muslim or other non-Christian readers may not understand Isḥāḥ, a Syriac borrowing meaning a chapter of the Bible; تجديف tajdīf, the word for blasphemy.) It should also be noted that an Arab Muslim reading the Bible in Arabic (especially if reading the New Testament) will find the style quite different from the style that is used in the Qur’an (this is more or less true of all Arabic translations of the Bible). Also of note is the fact that religious terminology familiar to Muslims was not used very much in this version of the Bible, as is the case in most Arabic versions of the Bible.