IBT’s list of Scripture texts published in the Evenki language of Siberia has a new addition – the book of Jonah, the Old Testament prophet who tried to run away from God and spent three days and nights in the belly of a giant fish. This book was prepared as a diglot edition, with the Scripture text given in both Evenki and Russian (Synodal version). The publication also includes 13 illustrations that were originally drawn for the Chukchi edition of Jonah, which came out earlier this year.
The primarily nomadic Evenki people migrate around a very large part of Siberia and China. Within Russia they are intermingled among Russians, Yakuts, Buryats, and other ethnic groups. There are quite a few dialects and sub-dialects of the Evenki language, and the standard dialect is taught to Evenki children in schools where there is a large proportion of Evenkis.
An audio version of Jonah in Evenki was recently recorded by the book’s translator, Evenki scholar Nadezhda Bulatova, and this recording will soon be made available on the IBT website. IBT’s earlier Scripture publications include Stories about God (1995), Jesus – Friend of Children (1999), the Gospel of Luke (2002, revised 2013 + audio), and the Children’s Bible + audio (2011). Evenki Luke and the Children’s Bible are also available as Android apps. As field testing has shown, for many Evenkis these mother-tongue publications provide the first opportunity to get acquainted with the text of Scripture, since the Russian Bible translation is either too hard to understand or simply is not of much interest to them.