Original Research

Bible translation and gender, challenges and opportunities – with specific reference to sub-Saharan Africa

Aloo O. Mojola
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 39, No 1 | a1820 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1820 | © 2018 Aloo O. Mojola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 October 2017 | Published: 13 August 2018

About the author(s)

Aloo O. Mojola, Faculty of Theology, St Paul’s University, Kenya; Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article focuses on issues of gender in Bible translation and looks at how the dominant patriarchal framework that underlies biblical cultures, including both traditional and contemporary cultures, influences biblical interpretation and ensuing Bible translations in diverse languages. This framework undermines gender-neutral or gender-sensitive interpretations and translations of the biblical text in favour of the dominant patriarchal tradition. Belief in biblical inerrancy and infallibility tends to buttress and lend solid unwavering support to the patriarchal standpoint in spite of the diversity and variety of numerous contested, differing and even opposing interpretations on many key biblical teachings. The article seeks to challenge the role of patriarchalism in biblical interpretation and translation drawing on insights from gender studies, translation studies, biblical studies and cultural studies. It seeks to interrogate the ways in which the Bible is used to defend patriarchalism and to propose a gender-sensitive approach rooted in the principles of justice, fairness and the equality of both male and female as created in the divine image.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article brings to question basic assumptions on issues of gender in the following disciplines – Biblical studies, translation studies and social-cultural studies – and propose a rethinking of these assumptions and if possible their abandonment and replacement by those that promote egalitarianism and justice across the sexes.


Bible Translation; Bible Versions and Translations; Biblical interpretation; Gender; Gender Sensitive; Gender Neutral; Justice; Patriarchal Framework; Patriarchy; Translators


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