Original Research

The translation of biblion and biblos in the light of oral and scribal practice

Jacobus A. Naudé, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 3 | a2060 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i3.2060 | © 2016 Jacobus A. Naudé, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2015 | Published: 31 August 2016

About the author(s)

Jacobus A. Naudé, Department of Hebrew, University of the Free State, South Africa
Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, Department of Hebrew, University of the Free State, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


The Bible was composed both by way of oral tradition and by scribal activity. Various descriptions exist of the development and relationship of the dominant forms of orality and scribal tradition throughout the history of media culture. Utilising the insights of, and debate on, the field of Biblical Performance Criticism, this article argues for an articulated description of the interrelationship of oral and written. The article argues that these two aspects cannot be absolutely separated, either chronologically or in terms of importance, neither can they be ignored as part of a coherent model to depict the media history of the Bible. In the light of this model the article discusses the interpretation and translation of the words βιβλίον and βίβλος, which are sometimes misunderstood and mistranslated, because of a failure to understand the process of committing the oral biblical tradition to a preferred writing medium.


Bible translation; Biblical Performance Criticism; orality; scroll; book; scribal practices; literacy; media history; Greek; New Testament


Total abstract views: 1269
Total article views: 2646

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.