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2016 | 5 | 167-180

Article title

Lexical-Semantic Dynamics in Romanian Biblical Versions. Case Study: The “Parable of the Prodigal Son”



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The focus of this study is the lexical-semantic dynamics in Romanian biblical versions. We have selected a number of ten texts that are representative for a comparative analysis of the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” from Gospel according to Luke, chapter 15, verses 11–32: Coresi’s Tetraevangelion (Coresi 1561), The New Testament from Bălgrad (NT 1648), The Bible from Bucharest (Bible 1688), The Vulgata from Blaj (Bible 1760), The Bible from Blaj (Bible 1795), The Șaguna Bible (Bible 1858), The Synodical Bible (Bible 1914), The Cornilescu Bible (Bible 1921), The Radu-Galaction Bible (Bible 1938), The Anania Bible (Bible 2001). We shall only discuss the lexical-semantic dynamics from a diachronic perspective, observing that the church language (the biblical language, in this case) is characterized mainly by simplicity, accessibility and conservatism, and this is why the dynamics of the vocabulary does not know the amplitude that is common to other fields. We note the presence of lexical coincidences in successive versions of the Bible: a word that has not been replaced at all, resisting during several centuries. The stability of a word is usually proof of its framing within the basic vocabulary of the language and an index concerning the genealogy of texts. The lexical substitutions from the biblical versions have different explanations: (i) the use of different sources (especially, the Slavonic, Greek or Latin sources); (ii) the passage from the principle of literal rendering to the literary translation; (iii) language variation (diachronic, stylistic and dialectal variation).


  • University of Bucharest, Romania


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