Pan-African Theology Roundtable: "Spirit or Wind? The Septuagint as an Exemplar for Decolonising Bible Translation"

08 March 2024

Speaker: Tyler Horton

Location: Zoom (register at

Date: Tuesday 19 March 2024, 19.00 GMT

In Numbers 11, God solves two problems by means of ruah. First, he tells Moses that he will take from the ruah that is upon him and distribute it to others who will help lead the people (v. 17, 25, 26, 29). The second problem is food, and so God sends a ruah out over the sea which blows birds into the camp so that the people can catch and cook them (v. 31). What is interesting is that most translations use two different words for both of these uses of ruah; something like "spirit" in the first part and something like "wind" in the second. However, the ancient Greek translation (known as the Septuagint), uses the same for both: pneuma. By exploring the relationship between Hebrew ruah and Greek pneuma (to understand how they relate to each other and how they are both distinct from modern English), Tyler will be leading the roundtable into a discussion of how African translations handle these uses of ruah and of the Bible translation tradition more generally. We would ask that you have a look at Numbers 11 in whatever language(s) you have so that we can have as broad a view of the African translation tradition as possible.

The Pan-African Theology Roundtable is a project of Missio Africanus and African Theology Worldwide.

For any enquiries, email Paul at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PTHU Master of Theology



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