More Information
ISBN: 9781839732164
Imprint: Langham Academic
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 20
Publication Date: 30/11/2022
Pages: 374
Series: Studies in Bible Translation
Language: English

“Silence” in Translation

1 Corinthians 14:34–35 in Myanmar and the Development of a Critical Contextual Hermeneutic


The role of women in the church has long been a contentious topic for Christians. In this groundbreaking study, Dr. Anna Sui Hluan critically examines the understanding of “silence” within the Myanmar context, specifically as it impacts the church’s interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35. She offers a comparative study of the Judson Burmese Bible alongside versions of the Greek text, exploring the role of translation in reinforcing cultural assumptions and codifying the translator’s interpretive viewpoint. Analyzing the verses in question through the lens of three contemporary schools of interpretation – literal traditional, feminist, and egalitarian – she demonstrates the need for developing a satisfactory contextual hermeneutic for interpreting passages that concern women in Myanmar today.

This interdisciplinary study combines cultural and linguistic awareness, a critical analysis of hermeneutics, and a deep commitment to Scripture as the foundation for faith and life. Dr. Hluan offers the church a model of “believing criticism,” equipping believers to take responsibility for their own interpretations of Scripture and its application in their societies. This is a powerful resource for translators, scholars, church leaders, and all those seeking to faithfully apply the Bible in their contexts.

Author Bios

Anna Sui Hluan

ANNA SUI HLUAN holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Otago, New Zealand and is a lecturer at Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. She served for twelve years as an assistant pastor as well as women’s commission member of the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Fellowship, of which she later became president. Dr. Sui Hluan has written extensively on language, rights, female emancipation, and the difficulty of scriptural interpretation in the modern world.


Dr. Hluan’s believing, industrious, thorough, courageous, and inspiring book displays a formidable command of languages, a respect for history and culture, a detailed knowledge of the challenges of biblical translation, and a courteous engagement with a diversity of perspectives.

John Roxborogh, PhD
University of Otago, New Zealand

Anna Hluan brings both Western critical scholarship and a native Myanmar perspective to the table in this nuanced and respectful critique of the Judson Bible. In examining the multiple contexts of the Judson Bible, she provides a foundation for ongoing scholarship into this most signicant of Myanmar Bible translations.

John de Jong, PhD
Laidlaw College, New Zealand

“Silence” in Translation is a wonderfully helpful book when it comes to reading 1 Corinthians today, but it is also a model for how to reread biblical texts with critical eyes in a whole range of contemporary contexts in our complex world.

Paul Trebilco, PhD
University of Otago, New Zealand

Anna Hluan’s research stands at the nexus of translation studies, contextual theology, New Testament exegesis, and feminist studies. As such, it serves as a blueprint for similar studies in other cultural, religious, and linguistic contexts. Hluan leads the reader to a deeper understanding of our need to challenge hermeneutical assumptions in a robust critical dialogue with the text and with interpreters ancient and modern. A veritable tour de force.

Margaret Eaton
Retired Theological Educator and Translation Consultant, New Zealand

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Abbreviations
    1. Chapter 1 Introduction
      1. 1.1 Statement of the Problem
      2. 1.2 Research Methodology
      3. 1.3 Limitations of the Study
      4. 1.4 Significance of the Study
      5. 1.5 Literature Review
        1. 1.5.1 Literature on Interpretation in Myanmar
        2. 1.5.2 Literature on Contextual Theology in Myanmar
        3. 1.5.3 Three Western Hermeneutical Approaches
        4. 1.5.4 Literature on Contextual Hermeneutics
  4. Part One: The Myanmar Context
    1. Chapter 2 Silence in Myanmar
      1. 2.1 The Historical Background of Silence in Myanmar
        1. 2.1.1 The Precolonial Period
        2. 2.1.2 The Colonial Period
        3. 2.1.3 The Postcolonial Period
      2. 2.2 The Impact of Missionaries on Myanmar Interpreters and Their Understanding of Silence
        1. 2.2.1 Overview of Christian Missionaries in Myanmar
        2. 2.2.2 The Influence of Adoniram Judson
        3. 2.2.3 The Influence of Women Missionaries on the Role of Women
        4. 2.2.4 Myanmar Women’s Reflections on the Role of Women Missionaries
        5. 2.2.5 The Impact of Missionaries and Culture on Biblical Interpretation in Myanmar
      3. 2.3 Conclusion
    2. Chapter 3 A Textual Analysis of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 in Myanmar Bibles
      1. 3.1 The Judson Burmese Bible and the Myanmar Common Language Bible
        1. 3.1.1 The Judson Burmese Bible
        2. 3.1.2 The Myanmar Common Language Bible
      2. 3.2 Textual Analysis of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35
        1. 3.2.1 Variances in the Judson Burmese Bible (JB)
        2. 3.2.2 Analysis of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 in the Judson Burmese Bible
        3. 3.2.3 The Translation of Silence in the Judson Burmese Bible and the Myanmar Common Language Bible
      3. 3.3 Historical Influences Affecting Judson’s Translation
      4. 3.4 Conclusion
    3. Part Two: Hermeneutics and Context
      1. Chapter 4 Silence in Contemporary Scholarship
        1. 4.1 The Hermeneutics of Contemporary Scholarship
        2. 4.2 Points of Comparison
          1. 4.2.1 Pauline Authorship
          2. 4.2.2 The Corinthian Context
          3. 4.2.3 Silence: Women and the Church
          4. 4.2.4 Speaking
          5. 4.2.5 Silence and Submission
          6. 4.2.6 Silence and the Law
          7. 4.2.7 Paul’s Expectations
        3. 4.3 Hermeneutical Keys of Contemporary Interpreters
          1. 4.3.1 Hermeneutical Methodology
          2. 4.3.2 Hermeneutical Presuppositions
          3. 4.3.3 Hermeneutical Processes Relating to 1 Corinthians 14:34–35
        4. 4.4 Conclusion
      2. Chapter 5 A Critical Contextual Hermeneutic for Myanmar
        1. 5.1 Hermeneutical Schools
          1. 5.1.1 Evaluation of Three Hermeneutical Schools
          2. 5.1.2 Evaluation of Contextual Theology
        2. 5.2 Toward a Satisfactory Contextual Hermeneutic
          1. 5.2.1 The “Critical Contextualization” of Paul Hiebert
          2. 5.2.2 The Components of a Critical Contextual Hermeneutic
          3. 5.2.3 The Presuppositions of a Critical Contextual Hermeneutic
          4. 5.2.4 Criteria for a Satisfactory Hermeneutic for Myanmar
        3. 5.3 Conclusion
    4. Part Three: Revisiting the Context and the Text
      1. Chapter 6 Revisiting the Context
        1. 6.1 An Interplay of Contexts
        2. 6.2 Cultural Obstacles to Developing a Myanmar Contextual Hermeneutic
          1. 6.2.1 Problems with the Culture of Obedience
          2. 6.2.2 Problems with the Virtue of Submission
          3. 6.2.3 Problems with the Passive Acceptance of Biblical Texts
        3. 6.3 Rethinking Our Approaches to Interpretation
          1. 6.3.1 Rethinking the Culture of Respect in Interpretation
          2. 6.3.2 Rethinking Language Study
          3. 6.3.3 Rethinking Comparative Studies
          4. 6.3.4 Rethinking Hermeneutical Methods
          5. 6.3.5 Rethinking Leadership
        4. 6.4 Obstacles to a Critical Contextual Myanmar Hermeneutic
          1. 6.4.1 Need for Increased Exposure to the World
          2. 6.4.2 Rethinking Judson’s Translation
          3. 6.4.3 Rereading the Text in Light of the Historical Context
          4. 6.4.4 The Need to Embrace Servant Leadership
        5. 6.5 Conclusion
      2. Chapter 7 Revisiting the Text through Critical Contextual Hermeneutics
        1. 7.1 Interpretive Keys in Revisiting the Text
          1. 7.1.1 Women in Corinth
          2. 7.1.2 Paul’s Attitude on Women in the Church
        2. 7.2 Revisiting 1 Corinthians 14:34–35
          1. 7.2.1 Pauline Authorship
          2. 7.2.2 Silence: The Context
          3. 7.2.3 Silence: The Women
          4. 7.2.4 Silence: The Speaking
          5. 7.2.5 Silence: Submission
          6. 7.2.6 Silence: The Law
        3. 7.3 Contextual Application of the Text
        4. 7.4 Conclusion
      3. Chapter 8 Summary and Conclusion
        1. 8.1 Culture and Hermeneutics
        2. 8.2 Hermeneutics and Translation
        3. 8.3 Schools of Interpretation
        4. 8.4 Critical Tools for a Contextual Hermeneutic
        5. 8.5 The Example of Katharine Bushnell
    5. Bibliography