A 100-year leap in biblical interpretation and understanding has been made with the publication of a new Persian translation of the Bible, say those involved in the project.'Today's Persian Version' of the Bible has been officially dedicated in Istanbul, Turkey.
The new translation enables Persian-speaking people around the world to have a present-day translation of the Old and New Testaments. The version is significant, say scholars, because the last Persian translation of the Bible was done in the 1890s.
"This means that we now have a translation that is easy to understand and is in contemporary modern Persian language," said the Rev. Kenneth Thomas, translation consultant for the new Bible and a former Presbyterian Church (USA) mission co-worker in Iran.
Persian is the language of more than 100 million people worldwide, with the majority of them living in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The Bible translation was a project of United Bible Societies, a world fellowship of Bible societies, with broad ecumenical help at the national, regional and congregational levels in the USA and other partner countries.
The first half of the project - the New Testament translation - was completed in 1975, and work then began on the Old Testament. The project was interrupted in 1980 and didn't resume again until 1991.
The new translation includes 12 full-colour maps. It is "very, very easy to preach and understand for my congregation," said project volunteer Mansour Khajehpour, the pastor of Persian Church of Philadelphia and former pastor of Persian Church of the Good Shepherd in Seattle. He is also a Master of Divinity student at Princeton Theological Seminary.