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Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment

In: International Journal of Public Theology
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Abstract

This article argues that Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment represents a breakthrough of grace as it re-enacts, for Jamaica as a nation, the divine miracle and humility of the incarnation: God speaking to Jamaicans in their own language, Patwa, just as Jesus Christ chose to be with a peasant family, Joseph and Mary. Jamaicans have always prayed and worshipped in Patwa, intuitively believing that God understands Patwa; yet, the translation of the New Testament into Patwa suggests that, as well as listening to and understanding God’s children when they speak to God in Patwa, God also speaks Patwa, not as a foreigner but as one who embraces and understands the nuances of Jamaican language and culture. The article looks at the formation of Jamaican Patwa in the nexus between Africa and Europe and questions in what ways Di Jamiekan Nyuu Testiment may serve as a source of liberation. Questions raised in the article include whether the translation of the New Testament in Patwa will reverse notions, among Jamaicans, of an inherent superiority of the English language; whether it is possible that Jamaicans will now begin to understand that no language or culture is excluded from being the bearer of Scripture or divine truth, and that no language or culture has an exclusive access to divine truth. The article also considers what this translation into the language of the masses of Jamaicans teaches concerning the nature of God and the missio Dei.

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