Category Archives: Nida Eugene

RIP: Eugene Nida, 1914-2011

He was not literally my teacher.  I never met him, and I certainly never sat in a class that he taught.  But I have learned from colleagues who had learned from him.  Two of his great books are on my shelf and I still refer to them from time to time:  God’s Word in Man’s Language (1952), and Bible Translating (1961).  Despite the fact that I have never had a direct interest in Bible translating, these books had a lot to teach me and indeed all social scientists.  Nida, together with a few others, was a giant in the social science of linguistics.  (Those were the days when linguistics was still a social science and not the speculative game it became later). Now he died, aged 96.

Here is a rare video of Nida as an old man, still teaching:

and here, a bit of comic relief, is an attack on Nida’s scholarly approach to translation by a fundamentalist who thinks that the Bible needs to be translated one word at a time:

Of course the Chomskyans, who do not believe that language should be studied empirically any more than this misguided religious fundamentalist, could no doubt make an equally ludicrous anti-Nida video.  Maybe they already have.

Not to be missed:  the fine obit in the NYT by Margalit Fox.