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Patois Bible comes to the UK

LAUNCH: The Bible in Jamaican Patois

THE HOLY book now has a Jamaican flavour as several chapters have been translated into Jamaican patois and will be made available in the UK.

The Bible Society will launch the first Jamaican New Testament Bible at the Jamaican High Commission in London on October 9, to bring God’s message to a new generation in a fresh and distinctly Jamaican way.

This version of the New Testament includes the four Gospels and the Book of Revelation. A team of translators from the Bible Society of the West Indies worked with the Department of Linguistics at the University of the West Indies and leading theological institutions in Jamaica over a 10 year period to translate the bible into patois, Jamaica’s local language.

Reverend Courtney Stewart, general secretary of the Bible Society of the West Indies, said having the Bible in Jamaican means the language has ‘come of age’.

"It’s a time of tremendous rejoicing and celebration," he said. "It is a recognition that our language is a bona fide language and it is worthy enough to convey the Word of God to us."

At the launch Reverend Stewart and other special guests are expected to explain the scale of such an achievement in getting patois into Bible form.

The event, supported by Aloun Ndombet Assamba, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK, will also be attended by prominent members of the Jamaican community in Britain.

Matt Parkes, head of fundraising for the Bible Society said: “A person’s mother tongue is integral to their sense of identity. For 85 percent of Jamaicans who speak Patois as their first language, this project will open up the scriptures like never before. This new translation (is) set to surprise, challenge and stimulate Jamaican Patois speakers everywhere.”

Through a series of events in Jamaican churches and communities around the country, people will experience the vibrancy of the new translation, read aloud in written form and set alongside the King James Version, verse by verse, organisers said.

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