Bible translations into Albanian

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Albanian Bible Translations

The history of Bible translations into the Albanian language can be divided into early and modern translations.

Early Translations (Albanian Renaissance Translations)[edit]

The Buzuku Translations, 1554-1555[edit]

Albanian priest Gjon Buzuku translated selected Scripture portions into Albanian which were printed in the first known Albanian book, The Missal (Meshari), composed in the Gheg dialect of Albanian. The Apostolic Library in the Vatican holds the only known copy of the book. Dr. Thoma Qendro prepared the Biblical text from Buzuku's Missal for the Albanian Interconfessional Bible Society's reprint in 2010.[1]

Elbasan Gospel Manuscript, 1761[edit]

Earlier attempts have been recorded such as the 18th century Elbasan Gospel Manuscript.[2]

Meksi Translation, 1821-1827[edit]

Vangjel Meksi translated the New Testament in 1821 with the support of the British and Foreign Bible Society. This work was edited by bishop Gregory IV of Athens.[3] The book of Matthew was published in 1824 and the full New Testament in 1827, in both a full volume and a split two-volume set because "the Albanians had the custom of carrying their books with them near their heart."[4] An Albanian Translation of the Transcript was done by Dr. Thoma Qendro. The book was printed and published in spring of 2016 by SHBSHA.

Kristoforidhi Translations, 1868-1884[edit]

Kostandin Kristoforidhi[5] translated the New Testament into Albania's two dialects as well as portions of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, The Psalms, The Proverbs, and Isaiah). His work was also supported by the British and Foreign Bible Society.[6] These works are being reprinted by the Albanian Interconfessional Bible Society in a ten volume set which includes Kristoforidhi's Albanian Grammar (1882) and manuscript facsimiles.[citation needed]

Modern Translations[edit]

Filipaj Version, 1977[edit]

Don Simon Filipaj worked with the Belgrade office of the United Bible Societies (UBS) to produce a Bible translation in Albanian. The New Testament was published in 1977, which makes it the first New Testament in modern Albanian. One of the translation Consultants was Dayrell Oakley-Hill who had served in Albania with the Gendarmerie in the 1930s. In 1994, Drita re-produced Dom Simon Filipaj's Bible which includes the Apocrypha. The version is used by Albanian Roman Catholic churches.

ECM Version, 1993[edit]

In 1993, European Christian Mission produced the first bound copy of the entire Bible in Albanian, prepared by Stephen Etches.[7] Bible smuggler Brother Andrew came personally to Albania to present this Bible to the country's president and people.[8] This version which was a dynamic equivalent translation similar to the English Good News Bible or German Gute Nachricht translation is now out of print.[9] In 2003 this was reprinted by the Albanian Interconfessional Bible Society.[citation needed]

ABS Version, 1994[edit]

In 1993, the Albanian Bible Society finished work on a translation of the complete Old Testament and by 1994 they finished the entire Bible. The Society had been preparing literature with Biblical content since 1974 and originally published its Bible with the name "Lajmi i Mirë" (LIM). The work was translated from the Italian text of the Textus Receptus-based Nuova Diodati Revision 1991 and checked against the original languages and the English King James Version.[10] By 2002 the Society produced a revision of the New Testament which was "completely revised and compared in detail with the original text."[11] This version continues to circulate widely among evangelical churches and is presented in various formats including the "Bibla e Studimit" (The New Thompson Study Bible, Albanian version 2009). In websites and apps this version is accessed as "ALBB Albanian Bible." This text is copyright the Albanian Bible Society (ABS) although it is misleadingly labelled as public domain on various websites.

Lea Plumbi-Frenzcke Version 1996 (NT)[edit]

This translation was published by Botime Çabej MÇM. According to the version's foreword, the textual basis is the Textus Receptus but also makes use of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece for several passages. Lea Plumbi-Frenzcke translated it with the help of Biblical Greek scholars. The literary editing was done by Gjergj Zheji. The language is slightly Tosk and the proper names reflect that (Joani instead of Gjoni, etc.). The stated purpose of this translation was to make a faithful, word-for-word translation that is understandable for the Albanian people.[citation needed]

CHC Version, 2000 (NT)[edit]

In 2000, Albanian linguist Vladimir Dervishi (1958-2010) produced a New Testament translation called the CHC (Christian Heritage College) Version and is based on Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece with comparisons from the Textus Receptus.

New World Translation, 2000[edit]

In 2000, the Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was released in Albanian (Shkrimet e Shenjta Përkthimi Bota e Re);[12] the entire New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in Albanian was released in 2005.[13] This version is not accepted by Albanian Christians who do not belong to the Jehovah's Witness denomination, being viewed as "a distortion of the New Testament."[14]

SHIB Version, 2007 (NT)[edit]

In 2007, Shërbimi Informues Biblik (SHIB) produced a text of the New Testament reportedly based on the 1912 German Luther Bibel. It was translated into Albanian by Marcel Steiner and edited by Kujtim Drizari, and called Besëlidhja e Re, Zëri i Zotit.[15]

Interconfessional Version, 2007 (NT)[edit]

In 2007, the Albanian Interconfessional Bible Society (or "Shoqëria Biblike," a division of the United Bible Societies) produced a new translation of the New Testament based on The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition by the UBS. It was printed with a short concordance and names index. The Old Testament translated from Hebrew is now near completion. As reflected in its title, the introduction to the version states that it is "the fruit of the co-operative work of all the Christian confessions present in Albania" i.e. Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox. In websites and apps this version is accessed as "AL Së bashku". The Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania also engages in reproducing the earliest known Albanian versions or portions of the Bible.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Të Shkruomitë Shenjtë (Gjon Buzuku 1554-1555, përgatiti Thoma Qendro). Tiranë: Shoqëria Biblike Ndërkonfesionale e Shqipërisë, 2010. ISBN 978-1-84364-234-3.
  2. ^ Elsie, Robert (1995). "The Elbasan Gospel Manuscript ("Anonimi i Elbasanit"), 1761, and the Struggle for an Original Albanian Alphabet" (PDF). Südost-Forschungen. Regensburg, Germany: Südost-Institut. 54. ISSN 0081-9077.
  3. ^ Lloshi, Xhevat. Përkthimi i V. Meksit dhe redaktimi i G. Gjirokastritit 1819-1827. Tiranë: Onufri, 2012.
  4. ^ Vozga Ramazan. Libri Shqip 1555-1912 në fondet e Bibliotekës Kombëtare. Tiranë: Biblioteka Kombëtare / Onufri, 2010, p. 90-93.
  5. ^ Gillian Gloyer Albania - 2008 p100 "Kostandin Kristoforidhi was an illustrious figure in the Albanian renaissance, Rilindja Kombetare, the 19th-century ... he returned to Istanbul in 1865 as a translator for the London-based Bible Society, who retained him until 1874.
  6. ^ Stuart Edward Mann Albanian literature: an outline of prose, poetry, and drama 1955 p121 "With his earnings he came to England and studied at London University for three years, during which time the British and Foreign Bible Society persuaded him to undertake a translation of the Bible into Albanian."
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Bibla: Diodati i Ri. Tiranë: Lajmi i Mirë, 1991-94, p. V - "Hyrje për Biblën shqip"
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Highlights of the Past Year", 2001 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, © Watchtower, page 8
  13. ^ "Jehovah’s Word Soars in “the Land of the Eagle”", The Watchtower, October 15, 2005, page 20
  14. ^ Mantey, Julius (1980). Depth Exploration in The New Testament. New York: Vantage Press. p. 136–137.
  15. ^, accessed 2013