Re: most widely translated book?

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sat Aug 23 1997 - 11:41:04 EDT

David McKay <> wrote:

>Mari, I visited the International Bible Society yesterday,
>and asked for information, as it wasn't easy to find it when I looked
>around. Heaps of stuff about what they are doing now, how many Scriptures
>they distribute, but not the number of translations, etc.
>Still no answer on other books that have been widely translated, but they
>sent me this:
> 1997
>A. Translations Completed
>Of All People
> 1. Bibles 355 languages
> 2. New Testaments 880 additional languages
> 3. Portions 932 additional
>languages 5%
> 2,167 languages

        _Guinness Book of World Records_ - I have an older edition - classes
the Bible as "the most widely distributed book" and gives the then-current
number of languages into which it had been translated. Also mentioned in
the same section are _The Sayings of Chairman Mao_; this book, however, was
mainly distributed in China, and so probably not translated very
extensively. The only other book mentioned in reference to number of
translations is _The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life_ published by the
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses), but the number of
languages cited for it are less than a tenth of those for the Bible.

        _Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible_, s.v. "Bible" says the
following: "The Bible has now [i.e. ca. 1962] been translated into more than
a thousand languages, and the work of translation into other languages and
dialects is still going on. No other literature has ever been rendered into
any remotely comparable number of versions, and no book has ever approached
the Bible in world-wide circulation." With just a little digging, one could
probably find a similar quote in a more up-to-date source.

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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