Chukchi is an endangered language spoken by about 5,000 people on the eastern fringe of the Russian Federation. 2018 is a special year for the Chukchi Bible translation project because it has seen not one, but two Scripture portions within months of each other. The first was the revised translation of Luke’s Gospel, published as a diglot with Russian earlier this year. Now IBT has printed an edition of the book of the prophet Jonah, the first Old Testament book translated into Chukchi.
For many centuries, the Chukchi people have led a lifestyle that is inextricably tied to the sea, since their homeland is on the northeastern Pacific coast of Russia. They are consummate sailors, fishermen, and whalers. This is why we hope that the book of Jonah, which involves a sea voyage and an encounter with a very large sea creature, will be of special interest to Chukchi readers. Its message of God’s grace and love for humankind that extends beyond ethnic and national boundaries may be a stepping stone for Chukchi readers to become interested in the Bible as a whole.
The Chukchi edition of Jonah is illustrated beautifully by a professional artist from Khabarovsk who had previous experience illustrating books about Chukchi folklore. The PDF version of the text is already available among IBT’s electronic editions.
The Chukchi translation team is continuing its work on an edition of IBT’s illustrated Bible Stories. IBT is very glad that the project has caught its second wind.