Mediating culture through language: Contact-induced phenomena in the early translations of the Gospels

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The paper aims to show how translation can transfer certain culture-specific concepts into a different culture, possibly modifying it. It concentrates on the translation of the Greek preposition <i>epí </i>into Latin, Gothic, and Old Church Slavonic in Luke’s Gospel. We argue that, to various extents, translators incorporated results of theological discussion into their language (obviously, this is most clear for Latin, where constructions such as <i>confido in </i>‘trust in’ and <i>fleo super </i>‘cry over’ were created, that did not exist in Classical Latin and still survive in the Romance languages). Through carefull analysis of the various translations found, we show that even in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages cultural contact was a privileged vehicle for linguistic contact.


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