For a six-week period from early October to mid-November 2011, Dr. Phil Towner taught courses at two Pontifical universities as part of the UBS-ABS collaboration with the Vatican for training and research in Biblical studies and Translation studies.
At the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PBI), he taught 25 postgraduate students in the Greek text of 2 Timothy, and at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, he taught A History of Bible Translation and Translation Theories to another 28 postgraduate students.
The commitment to cooperate with the Vatican in biblical and translation scholarship goes back to Eugene A Nida, who lectured at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PBI) in 1971. In 2009, Dr. Phil Towner was appointed to continue this relationship for ABS and UBS.
Through the offices of Valdo Bertalot (General Secretary of the Italian Bible Society), we will add a third university to the relationship in 2013.
The addition of the Urbaniana University to the former relationship with PBI reflects the growing influence and presence of the Nida Institute (for ABS) in the context of Roman Catholic Church (RCC) biblical and translation scholarship.
In addition, we are planning to create for the Apostolic commission a complete training program for Roman Catholic priests who will be assigned to translation projects in various Catholic contexts throughout the world. The present relationship (as also the future expansion) is supported by the Nida School of Translation Studies, within the San Pellegrino University Foundation, based in Misano Adriatico, Italy.
The impact of the Nida presence in this scholarly collaboration can be anticipated by imagining where this year’s 50 postgraduate students, who are destined for key leadership roles in the Roman Catholic Church, will be 10-15 years from now. The strategic value of this Nida activity for ABS (and for the UBS) interconfessional relations and for the strengthening of our partnership in the Bible cause is immense.
Please note: the teaching in the two universities in Rome, while supported by our Nida School of Translation Studies in Misano Adriatico, is separate from the Misano initiative. The Nida Institute is bringing the two initiatives into close alignment.