Bible adaptation as linguistic, cultural, and socio-political appropriation: the case of the Black Bible Chronicles series

  • Paola Baseotto Insubria University
Keywords: Black Bible Chronicles;Rappin’ with Jesus; Intralingual translation; Bible adaptation; African American identity


The article examines the rewording by African American author P. K. McCary of part of the 1611 King James Bible. A great publishing success that has attracted considerable media attention, McCary’s 1993-1994 Black Bible in African American Vernacular English and urban street slang is a paradigmatic illustration of the culturally and ideologically marked character of Bible retranslation and adaptation to suit the cultural, cognitive, and sociolinguistic needs of specific communities of readers. Through her use of the sociolect of her target readers, and her updating of the linguistic and conceptual elements of her source text, McCary builds a mediating, transdialectal and transcultural bridge between the Bible and African American urban street youth. As my analysis of paratextual elements shows, the full linguistic and cultural intelligibility of McCary’s adaptation is designed to empower a community of readers situated in a cultural and socio-political periphery and, more broadly, to contribute to the process of demarginalization of African American identity.


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How to Cite
Baseotto, P. (2023). Bible adaptation as linguistic, cultural, and socio-political appropriation: the case of the Black Bible Chronicles series. Rhesis. International Journal of Linguistics, Philology and Literature, 14(2), 44-60.