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Former UFS Dean awarded SAAWK medal for contribution to Bible translation work
2016-05-09

Description: Prof Hermie van Zyl Tags: Prof Hermie van Zyl

Prof Hermie van Zyl
Photo: Eugene Seegers

Prof Hermie van Zyl, former Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS), was recently awarded the Ds Pieter van Drimmelen medal by the South African Academy of Science and Arts (SAAWK) for his contribution to Afrikaans Bible translation and other translation work.

Prof Van Zyl was part of the team that published the Interlinear translation of the Bible (New Testament) in Greek and Afrikaans. This translation takes the reader from the original text (Greek), to an almost verbatim version, to a rough translation, and, ultimately, to a more polished, finished translation in the target language of Afrikaans.

Other translations Prof Van Zyl has been involved in include the Afrikaans Bible for the Deaf (published in 2008), the direct translation of the Bible (of which the New Testament and the Psalms have already been published), the New Living Translation, the Parallel New Testament, and the Reference Bible. He is the first lecturer from the Faculty of Theology at the UFS to receive an award from the SAAWK.

“It is a wonderful privilege and an honour and really came out of nowhere,” said Prof Van Zyl. He added that he is grateful that, amongst all the wonderfully talented people at the UFS, he could make a modest contribution. He mentioned that the collegial conversations, seminars, and other discussions in the faculty over the years, were very stimulating. He singled out Prof Jan du Rand and Prof Francois Tolmie (another former Dean of the Faculty and long-time colleague in the department of New Testament Studies) as inspiration.

The official presentation of the medal will take place in the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria on 29 June 2016.

Prof Van Zyl was employed in the Faculty of Theology at the UFS for 29 years until his retirement in 2013. He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of New Testament, and still lectures on occasion.

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