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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Translating the Sacred: Concepts, Texts and Transmission of Religions (CLLC11132)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to engage in a comparative study of translation practices and methods across religious traditions, with particular attention to examining how key translation issues are played out in the context of translating the 'sacred'. This course will explore how religions have adopted various strategies to negotiate a place for themselves amidst competing notions of the sacred in new cultures they enter.
Course description The course is structured around some broad questions: what counts as a sacred text? How can different forms of the sacred be 'translated' across languages and cultures? How is the authority of a sacred text constructed through or maintained despite translation? How are religious concepts translated across vastly different language pairs? How do competing agendas/political, social, literary/direct the translation of religions? Students will be encouraged to investigate how religions define themselves in adopting specific sets of translation practices and interact with 'rival' religions through their choice of translation strategies. The course will promote critical thinking on how principal categories (often binaries) such as, 'sacred'/'secular', 'holy'/'profane' 'scripture'/ 'orality' or 'original'/'translation' dissolve and are exposed as historical constructs in the context of translation.

The course will also encourage students as far as possible to undertake a comparative examination of 'Western' and 'non-Western' translation practices including notions of 'translatability' and 'commensurability' in the religious context, and questions of agency and power in the construction of religious canons and identities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Other Study Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 4,000 Word Essay (100%)
Feedback The course is assessed by an essay of 4,000 words submitted at the end of the semester. The students will produce a reflective essay critically examining existing translations of sacred texts and how they have been received by their faith communities. Students will be expected to independently choose a topic and texts to focus on. The texts chosen may belong to any faith tradition. Students are expected to meet the course organizer mid-semester for approval of topic when the course organizer will offer feedback on the topic. Full written feedback will be provided when the coursework is marked.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically understand and examine how conceptual categories of the sacred travel across languages and cultures and engage in comparative study of how different religious traditions have conceptualised and practice translation
  2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the diversity of approaches to translating religious texts/concepts
  3. Identify, analyse and evaluate case studies of translations from different religious contexts in the light of wider ┐secular┐ social and political issues
  4. Carry out in-depth research on how translation functions in different religious contexts and develop the capacity to formulate suitable research questions and critical arguments
  5. Apply and test translation theories with reflective insight in relation to the translation of religious texts
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Hephzibah Israel
Tel: (0131 6)50 4467
Course secretaryMiss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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