The Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania held a successful event in celebration of the 400th anniversary King James Version (KJV) of the Bible at Tirana University earlier this month.
Photo: Zefjan Nikolla, one of the translators of the Interconfessional Albanian Bible, addresses the audience at Tirana University.
The aim of the event was not to promote the King James Version, however – but to promote the Bible itself to an audience who know of it rather than having taken its message to heart.
“In Albania, professors of language would know the KJV,” said Altin Hysi, the Bible Secretary General Secretary. He cited Kostandin Kristoforidhi, the scholar, Bible translator and key figure of the nineteenth century ‘Albanian Renaissance’, as having been influenced by it, for example.
“But students today would not be familiar with it,” he added. “The Bible [in general] is not part of the curriculum.”
For two-and-a-half hours, about 100 people, from students to older people, packed a lecture theatre in the university to listen to a range of talks by ten speakers extolling not only the theology of the Bible but its influence on culture, language, politics and the arts.
Thrilled and privileged
Catholic Bishop George Frendo, Auxiliary Bishop of Tiranë-Durrës, gave his ‘Reflections on the Beatitudes’ in the KJV, Professor Nathan Hope, a theologian at the Theological Faculty of the Orthodox Church, gave a talk entitled ‘A Reflection on Language and Translation’ and Gregory Morris spoke about ‘Language and Literature in the Authorised Version’.
Other speakers included two translators who worked on the Albanian Interconfessional New Testament and are now translating the Old Testament, Zefjan Nikolla and Marian Paloka, the first an Albanian Protestant, the second a Catholic translator, and Professor Xhevat Lloshi, a linguist at the Academy of Sciences of Albania.
Another was Neil Rees, who works for the British and Foreign Bible Society, specialising in the compilation of concordances for new Bible translations, including the Interconfessional New Testament that the Bible Society published in 2007.
The gathering also heard readings from the King James Version, watched a short video about it and sang two hymns.
“It was all well received and there was a good atmosphere,” said Mr Hysi afterwards. “The university staff there said they felt thrilled and privileged to have taken part.”