New experts drawn into trial of Bible


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 10 August 2017


On 9 August 2017, the hearing in the case about banning the Bible in a Vyborg city court went on for eleven hours! The case is being heard by Judge Dmitry Grishin.


The trial attracted a multitude of observers, including journalists and foreign diplomats. The courtroom could accommodate only a small portion of those who came, but the judge permitted the door into the hall to remain open so that listeners standing in the corridor were able to follow the trial. Participants as interested parties included the organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses from Germany (the publisher and producer of the Bible), from the United States of America (the owner of the copyright on the translation), and from Finland (the carrier from whom the batch of Bibles was seized).


Since the issue is regarding such a respected and culture-forming book as the Bible, an authoritative scholar in the sphere of expert analysis of a text, Professor Anatoly Nikolaevich Baranov, Ph.D., was summoned in the capacity of a specialist. He is head of the department of experimental lexicology of the Institute of the Russian Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences and author of the textbook "Linguistic Expert Analysis of a Text." In the course of almost two hours, the scholar answered questions of the parties and the judge. Among other things, he explained for the court the nuances associated with a translation. For example, what is understood by the concept of "Bible"? Can its Russian translation be considered the "Bible"? Can one establish the identity of a translation by comparing it with another translation? Although the answers to these questions seem to be self-evident, they are very important for establishing all facts in the current case, in light of the fact that in Russia the Bible possesses a special immunity against anti-extremist legislation.


The continuation of the hearing is scheduled for 9:30 on 16 August 2017. The judge scheduled the questioning of a religious studies specialist. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 August 2017)

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