When dealing with religious texts, the interrelationship of oral and written must be clearly articulated (see also Orality and translation). The oral and written cannot be absolutely separated, either chronologically or in terms of importance, as done, for example, in the oral formulaic theory of Milman Parry (1902–1935) and Albert B. Lord (1912–1991), which espoused an absolute and universal dichotomy between oral cultures and literate cultures. De Vries (2012: 68–98) describes oral cultures as involved in an oral-written interface with locally determined features; these features may vary with respect to time, place or genre within a single culture. Furthermore, the oral and written coevolve through many points of contact (De Vries 2012: 74–75). With respect to the ancient Near East, Walton and Sandy (2013: 18) contrast hearing-dominant cultures, where traditions were mainly transmitted by word of mouth, with text-dominant cultures, where traditions were transmitted primarily by texts. In hearing-dominant societies, cultural traditions were internalised while texts were written for archives and libraries to serve as reference points for memorisation and recitation of the tradition (Walton & Sandy 2013: 21). Dissemination of knowledge is typically done orally, though it is preserved in written documents by the transmitters of the tradition.
1993 “Buddhism.” In Our Religions, ed. by Arvind Sharma, 69–137. New York: HarperCollins.
(ed.)1997The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dennill, George B., and Jacobus A. Naudé
2009 “A Comparison of the Qumran Community and Hare Krishna Movement Regarding Ritual Impurity, Its Sources and Rectification.” Journal for Semitics 18 (1): 15–33.
De Vries, Lourens J.
2012 “Local oral-written interfaces and the nature, transmission, performance, and translation of biblical texts.” In Translating Scripture for Sound and Performance: New Directions in Biblical Studies, ed. by James A. Maxey and Ernst R. Wendland, 68–98. Biblical Performance Criticism 6. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
Flood, Gavin D.
1994 “Hinduism.” In Sacred Writings, ed. by Jean Holm and John Bowker, 71–100. London: Pinter.
1994 “Introduction: Raising the Issues.” In Sacred Writings, ed. by Jean Holm and John Bowker, 1–9. London: Pinter.
Naudé, Jacobus A.
2018 “History of translation knowledge of monotheistic religions with written tradition.” In A History of Modern Translation Knowledge, ed. by Lieven D’hulst and Yves Gambier, 389–395. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Naudé, Jacobus A. and Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé
2016 “The translation of biblion and biblos in the light of oral and scribal practice.” In Luce Verbi 50(3): 1–11.
1994 “Buddhism.” In Sacred Writings, ed. by Jean Holm and John Bowker, 10–43. London: Pinter.
Pew Research Center Forum
2012The Global Religious Landscape. A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Major Religious Groups as of 2010. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
Swearer, Donald K.
1977Buddhism. Niles, IL: Argus Communications.
Walton, John H., and D. Brent Sandy
2013The Lost World of Scripture. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic.
1993 “Taoism.” In Our Religions, ed. by Arvind Sharma, 229–290. New York: HarperCollins.
1966Hinduism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A.C.
, trans 1986Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is. Los Angeles: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
2002Bhagavad-Gïtā. Stepney: Axiom.
1982The Tao of Pooh. London: Penguin.
Hume, R. Ernest
1934The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lopez, Donald S.
(ed.)2004Buddhist Scriptures. London: Penguin.
1953The Principal Upanishads. London: Allen & Unwin.
1995Lao Tzu: The Book of Tao and Teh. Beijing: Peking University Press.
Further essential reading
Johnson, Will J.
2005 “Making Sanskritic or Making Strange? How Should we Translate Classical Hindu Texts?” In Translation and religion. Holy Untranslatable? ed. by Lynne Long, 65–74. Cleveland: Multilingual matters.
2018Memory, Memorization, and Memorizers. The Galilean Oral-Style Tradition and Its Traditionalists. Biblical Performance Criticism 15, Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
Makutoane, Tshokolo J., Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, and Jacobus A. Naudé
2015, “Similarity and alterity in translating the orality of the Old Testament in oral cultures.” Translation Studies 8: 156–174.
Naudé, Jacobus A. and Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé
2018 “Sacred writings.” In Routledge Handbook of Literary Translation, ed. by Kelly Washbourne, and Ben Van Wyke, 181–205. London: Routledge.
2016Translating Dao. “Cross-Cultural Translation as a Hermeneutic of Edification.” In Translating Religion, ed. by Michael DeJonge, and Christiane Tietz, 13–28. London: Routledge.