The Biebel in ‘t Zeêuws

17 June 2024

Genesis is published by ‘t Kerkje van Ellesdiek and Het Paard van Troje. The book costs €15 and is on sale in bookshops, and via the foundation’s website. Foundation ‘t Kerkje van Ellesdiek has made two free copies available for fund members. If you are interested in this, please contact the secretariat. First come, first served.

With its 400 inhabitants, Ellewoutsdijk, Ellesdiek in Zeelandic, is the smallest village in the Zeeland municipality of Borsele. In the middle of the village, as you might expect from a village in the Dutch bible belt, stands a small church. However, since a merger of congregations in 2001, the church is no longer used for church services. A foundation bought the building and started a socio-cultural centre with a philosophy the rest of the world could learn from. Indeed, the Ellesdiekers are proud of their roots but accept everyone in their circle and are happy to roll up their sleeves for others. “Me gelôve nie zo in muren en verdeêld’eid.” (We don’t believe in walls and segregation.)

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The aim of the ‘t Kerkje van Ellesdiek Foundation is to organise activities in the field of philosophy of life and culture in an atmosphere of friendship, with Zeelandic dialects as the language of communication. A number of working groups have been formed to organise activities, including culture, philosophy of life/oecumenism and a translation group.

This translation group has taken on an ambitious project of translating the Bible into contemporary Zeelandic. It is fairly widely believed that “the” Zeelandic does not exist. It comprises a number of regional languages whose distribution broadly coincides with the former islands of Zeeland. It was therefore decided to form a number of working groups within the translation group consisting of people from the various regions. In this way, everyone can learn about the message of the Bible in his or her own language.

For the translation, the material made by the translators of the Nederlands Bijbelgenootschap (NBG) to produce the Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling (NBV) is used. In addition, the Statenvertaling, the Naardense Bijbel and the Bible in Ordinary Language (BGT) are used for a deeper understanding of what it says.

Meanwhile, the translation group has already translated and published many parts of the Bible. On May 26, their most recent work, the translation of the book of Genesis, was presented. The presentation naturally took place in the Kerkje van Ellesdiek.

At the presentation, members of the Walcheren translation group read parts of the stories and illustrations by Jopie Minnaard-Verheijke were displayed. Fellow translator Leuny de Kam provided connecting text and explanations, and the duo Da Capo, consisting of Renske Breeman (harp) and Cisca Zuurveld (flute) provided the musical accompaniment. The first copy was presented to Rev Arie van der Maas, classis pastor of Zeeland.

Voorbeeld bladzijde uit De Biebel in ‘t Zeêuws
Sample page from The Biebel in ‘t Zeêuws

The Hurgronje Family Fund has made a financial contribution to the publication of this book.

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