Translating Confession

Call for papers RES 1/2018


Language is the depository for the identity of a community: from the simplest oral, daily formulas, to the scriptural spiritual legacy preserved in literary and cultic texts, language encompasses the defining conceptions and discursive resources of a given confessional group. Alongside religion, it is a core element for social and cultural identification, and often a subtle mark for delineations of religious denominations: we speak of a Greek Church, of Russian Church, and then, again, of a Latin Church, and by switching from one language to another we seem to be also implying a movement from one confession to another.

Such a transition from one language to another occurs primarily within translation processes, especially in spaces where communities speaking different languages coexist or different languages are used for different areas of life. Here, the manners in which various types of translations are made from one language to another are suggestive for the relationship these communities have to one another, and raises questions about the extent to which linguistic identity overrides particular confessional denominations.

The Review of Ecumenical Studies welcomes contributions analyzing the ethics and politics of translations in building, and also in connecting, religious communities. What role do translations of Biblical texts and worship texts – from the Septuagint, the Vulgate, or Luther’s Bible, to contemporary adaptations of liturgical hymns in diaspora communities – play for mission and religious practices? How does the issue of “sacred languages” interfere with translation practices? Consequently, how are translations used as tools for questioning canonicity or, on the contrary, for consolidating and transferring the authority and tradition of extant religious confessions? As translation concretely facilitates a better understanding of others, how does this process enable inter-confessional dialogue? Can it be that through translation one brings about a commonality of expression, a linguistic oikumene, which might give hope for a commonality of faith as well?


Deadline: November 1, 2017



Contributions will be published in English or German and are to follow RES editorial guidelines .


Call for papers RES 3/2017

Reformation and Orthodoxy 

500 years of the Reformation: depending on country and church, the commemoration of this Jubilee takes rather different shapes. For some, it bears  a particularly festive character, for others it is an opportunity for looking (back) at one’s own identity, and then again for others to reflect especially on missed opportunities: instead of the hoped-for reform  of the one Church it got to be the creation of confessions that each underwent their own different reforms: Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, Reformed.

In spite of particular outstanding  initiatives for dialogue, such as the 16th century correspondence between Tübingen theologians and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople, and the 17th century correspondence between the Archbishop of Canterbury and patriarch Cyril Lucaris,  Orthodox Churches apparently remained, at the time, untouched by the Reformation. From an Orthodox stand, the Reformation has been perceived up to the present mainly as a division of the Western Church, which has not directly concerned it. However, due to migration movements, the points of contact have considerably grown in the recent past. Different Orthodox churches have also faced the challenge of addressing Reformation theology in official dialogues. Issue no 3 for 2017 of RES aims to voice, on the one hand, the Orthodox perspective on the Reformation and its defining topics, and, on the other, reformatory influences that the Reformation might have had on Orthodox Churches and theology.

Where are such contacts to be located in history? How could Orthodox Churches today learn from the Reformation, and to what extent do Orthodox Churches continue to fence themselves up from the Reformation as before, or even more than before? Are there efforts towards reforms within Orthodox Churches, or does the term “reform” echo a negative meaning? Have the official dialogues between these churches brought them closer together? Are there other levels of encounter and mutual influence that play a role in this respect?

Deadline: July 1, 2017


Contributions will be published in English or German and are to follow RES editorial guidelines.