Romania is situated in southeastern Europe. By area it is slightly smaller than the United Kingdom, but its population is considerably less at just under twenty million. Romanian is a Romance language, stemming from Latin but also having many loan words from several other languages. Christianity in Romania Although Romania has no official state religion, most would identify as Christian. Nearly 81% would say that they are Eastern Orthodox, a religion which has profoundly shaped the life of the country. The impact of the Protestant
Reformation was mostly felt indirectly through the transmission of the Scriptures in the Romanian language. Evangelical Christianity emerged in the nineteenth century, with the strong desire to see God’s Word placed in the hands of the Romanian people in their mother tongue.
History of the Bible in Romania
The first Romanian Scriptures appeared in 1552, when the four Gospels were published. These were based on the Byzantine Greek text and written in the Cyrillic script. However, the entire Bible was not published until the end of the seventeenth century. A number of editions followed, culminating in the Iasi (pronounced yash) Bible in 1874. This quickly became the most widely-used Bible, but due to significant changes in the Romanian language in the fifty years that followed, by 1920 a new Bible was needed. In 1920/1921 a young priest named Cornilescu, who converted from Orthodoxy to Protestantism, was commissioned to produce a new Bible in modern Romanian. The Cornilescu Bible, first published in 1924, was of immense help to believers in the difficult years that followed, particularly during the Second World War and then the subsequent harsh period of Communist rule which eventually ended in 1989. The Cornilescu Bible continues to be the preferred version today, but it suffers from textual, translational and linguistic problems, being based on the Critical Greek Text and too dynamically translated in places. Thus the need for a better Bible was taken up by TBS in the 1990s.
TBS Romanian Bible
The Society published the first and second editions of our new Romanian Bible in 2002/2003, but it became clear after publication that improvements were needed to bring it into closer conformity to the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Received Texts. In 2006 a revision was begun by native Romanians primarily using the Hebrew and Greek texts and the 2002/2003 TBS editions, but also referencing other Romanian Bible translations (such as the Iasi and Cornilescu). The TBS revision team sought to bring the text into closer conformity to the Biblical languages, and to ensure that the Romanian language adhered to current standards of orthography and syntax. After many years of work we rejoiced greatly in early 2018 when the new TBS Romanian Bible was published. We look forward to its wide acceptance in Romania and beyond over the coming years.