The Gospel of Matthew in the Lak language
June 23, 2016

A new book has been published in the Lak language of Dagestan. This is the Gospel of Matthew, released together with its audio recording on CD. The PDF version of the book is available for download from the e-book section of IBT website.

The Lak language is spoken by about 179,000 native speakers.The historical center of Lak society is in the town of Kumukh in the highlands of Dagestan, but today most Laks live in the city of Makhachkala near the Caspian Sea and other lowland parts of Dagestan and Russia. The Laks were one of the first peoples of Dagestan to convert to Islam in the 8th century. Thus, it is no wonder that the Lak translation team frequently compares the two sacred texts of the Bible and the Koran: “There are certain parallels between these books, and certain differences. When one reads the Koran, one gets the distinct feeling that it is meant for people who already know the biblical narratives. These narratives are what our people are not very familiar with.”

Previous publications in Lak include Mark (1996) and Luke (2002, reprinted in 2012). After the early 2000s, the Lak Bible translation project was put on hold for a decade because of a lack of key translation team members. Then, in 2011, a talented new Lak writer/translator joined the team, as did a young exegete who was willing to move to Dagestan with his family in order to learn the Lak language and work in the translation project. Translation work began anew with this new team. The team is now completing a revision of the previously published Gospels and is preparing to publish the entire Four Gospels, with work on Luke and John due to be completed by the end of 2016.