Historiskt presens i nordiska bibelöversättningar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


In the narrative parts of the Greek New Testament, we find instances of historical present. This article aims to show how this is reflected in the Nordic translation history. In Swedish translations of the New Testament, historical present is altogether absent, be it the early translations in the 16th century or the modern translations. The same holds true for some Danish and Faroese translations. However, in the early Danish and Icelandic translations from the Reformation era, there are some instances of historical present (except in one Danish translation), but these are much fewer than in the Greek source text and also somewhat fewer than in the translation by Luther. In Icelandic and Danish translations from the first part of the 20th century, as well as in a contemporary Faroese translation, the strategy is clear: wherever the Greek text has historical present, so do the translations (with only a few exceptions). In the Norwegian translations, the use of historical present is more temperate and furthermore concentrated to specific chapters, where it is even a bit more generous than in
the source text. This strategy is also applied in a later Danish translation. In a later Icelandic translation, there are also fewer instances than in earlier translations, but there is not this tendency of concentration in particular chapters. Thus, two traditions exist in the Nordic bible translations regarding historical present – one where it is totally unknown, and one where it is used more or less frequently, although always inspired by instances in the source text and never as an independent stylistic device.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Specific Literatures


  • present tense, preterite, historical present, Nordic Bible translation, narrative
Original languageSwedish
Title of host publicationStudier i svensk språkhistoria 13
Subtitle of host publicationHistoria och språkhistoria
EditorsDaniel Andersson, Lars-Erik Edlund, Susanne Haugen, Asbjörg Westum
Place of PublicationUmeå
PublisherInstitutionen för språkstudier, Umeå universitet
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-91-88466-90-7, 978-91-86438-57-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

PublisherInstitutionen för språkstudier, Umeå universitet
ISSN (Print)0282-7182
NameKungl. Skytteanska Samfundets handlingar
PublisherKungl. Skytteanska Samfundet
ISSN (Print)0560-2416