Theoretical Foundations of Translation of Religious Texts: An Argument


  • Mehrzad Mansouri


In view of the significance of accuracy in translation of religious texts, this paper briefly discusses the theoretical foundations of translation. Then two approaches toward translatability or untranslatability of religious texts are introduced. According to the first approach, based on a belief that there exists a relationship between religious texts and the divine revelation and that it is out of the reach and authority of humans to determine and manipulate the linguistic form of revelation, it is deemed impossible to translate religious texts. Conversely, according to the second approach, as it is deemed necessary for all humans to understand the message of divine revelation and as the message of the divine revelation does not exclusively belong to the speakers of a certain language, it is inevitable to translate religious texts. Relying on the arguments set forth by these two approaches, a third approach is proposed in this paper, trying to observe the requirements and limitations prescribed by these two contradictory approaches. According to this view, the so-called 'conditional translatability of religious texts', new definitions are provided for the 'translator' of religious texts, 'readership' of translated religious texts, 'religious text' and its varieties.



How to Cite

Mansouri, M. (2004). Theoretical Foundations of Translation of Religious Texts: An Argument. Translation Studies Quarterly, 2(6). Retrieved from



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