Listen to her describe what the Sudanese prioritized for their theological training, and why:
A FEW YEARS AGO, when I asked the head of Renk Theological College in Southern Sudan to name his top priority for the school’s faculty and curriculum, he said without hesitation: “We need biblical language teachers.”
I work at persuading American students just to give Hebrew a try, so I was surprised to hear that it was the seminary’s first choice. Moreover, crossing the ocean to teach Hebrew in short spurts seemed like a pedagogical stretch.
The leaders of the college held firm, however, and they were unanimous in their reasoning: “We live in the Old Testament. Ours is a tribal culture, like Israel’s. We are pastoralists and farmers, like the Israelites. And like them, we have suffered terribly in war and exile, and from oppressive imperial regimes. The Bible is our story, and our people must have it in their own languages. Why should we read it in English and Arabic, the languages of colonialism? Why should we translate it from those languages and not from the original? We all speak several languages; we know how much difference a translation makes.”
Read her full article, “Hebrew Without Whining,” here.