Jamaican New Testament launched

More than 100 people gathered at the Jamaican High Commission in London yesterday [Tuesday] for the launch of the Jamaican New Testament. It was the result of a 20-year-project.

The High Commissioner, Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, welcomed the publication saying it was ‘an important piece of work’.

The Revd Courtney Stewart, General Secretary of the Bible Society of the West Indies said, ‘This New Testament will achieve a kind of engagement of our people with the Word of God in a way that has never happened before.

‘There will be transformation in people’s lives. For the first time they will have an understanding of God’s Word.’

He revealed how controversial the translation had been both in Jamaica and in the UK, as critics claimed that Jamaican Patois was not a language in which the Bible could be written.

But he said, ‘At the Bible Society we believe that everyone has a right to have access to the Word of God in their own language.

‘The time has come for Jamaican people to have the Word of God in their own language, in their mother tongue,’ he said.

In the Jamaican New Testament when the Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she is pregnant with Jesus, he tells her that he has ‘nyuuz’ which will ‘mek yu wel api’.

The familiar Christmas reading ‘Behold a virgin shall be with child’, is translated as ‘Lisn op! Di uman we neehn sliip wid no man ago get biebi.’

And When the Wise Men come to give their gifts to the baby Jesus – or ‘Jiizas’ – they tell Herod that they want to give him ‘rispek’.

The New Testament is published both in print form, and, at the end of October, as an MP3 download. It will be published in Jamaica at the end of the month to coincide with celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. 

You can buy a copy of the Jamaican New Testament from our online shop: www.biblesociety.org.uk/shop

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