About the project

Due to previous Russian and Soviet influence in the region, millions of Central Asians now speak (and millions more read) Russian as their primary language [1].

Many members of smaller ethnic groups, which are still awaiting the complete Scriptures in their own language, also understand Russian and can read it.

It is interesting to note that the Qur’an frequently asserts that portions of the Holy Scriptures (in particular the Taurat, Zabur, and Injil) were sent down from heaven by Allah (see Qur’an 3.3, 4.161 [163], 5.50-51 [46-47]) and are therefore authoritative [2].
Despite this, and the fact that the Scriptures were long ago translated into Russian, most Central Asians are reluctant to read them in the traditional translations, largely because they carry a strong Slavic cultural and ecclesiastical flavor. The very name that the Russians (and many others) use for the Scriptures, «the Bible», typically gives Central Asians the impression that it is a book «for Europeans» and «not for us». The technical religious terminology employed by users of such translations is foreign to ethnic Central Asians, who use different religious terminology [3].

The truth is that the Holy Scriptures is a thoroughly oriental book written by Asians, and not Europeans. When one begins to look for it, it is amazing how much the Hebrew culture of the time of the Scriptures has in common with the traditional cultural of Central Asia.

With this background in mind, the CARS translation was undertaken with the goal of providing a special Russian language translation of the Holy Scriptures - the Taurat (Torah), the Book of the Prophets, the Zabur (Psalms), and the Injil (Gospel) which:

  1. avoids undue Slavic and ecclesiastical flavoring;
  2. emphasizes the oriental roots of the source text and its connections with life in traditional Central Asia;
  3. is reasonably easy to understand, even by common people;
  4. is translated in good Russian style;
  5. is accurate.

The main tool employed to accomplish the cultural goals was the careful attention given to the choice of religious terminology and forms of the names of central figures. In addition, many footnotes explain some of the cultural connections between aspects of the text and Central Asia.

It goes without saying that the translation team strove to communicate the true meaning of the original text without distortion.
In order to guarantee an accurate translation, the text was put through numerous different checks including final approval by a professional Holy Scriptures translation consultant who knows more than 20 languages including Greek, Hebrew, and Russian.

The translation is copyrighted by an organization representing the CARS project committee and by the consultant's organization, IBS (now IBS-STL). IBS has produced quality translations in many of the world's languages, the most famous of which is the English «New International Version».

Understandability was achieved by using the generally accepted principles of meaning based translations. This was checked with Central Asian readers themselves, especially first time readers of the Holy Scriptures. Stylists were employed to check the naturalness of the language. The results are available on this website.

The translation team prays that this edition of the Holy Scriptures will be used by God Most High, (known to many as “Allah”) to reveal His message to many Central Asians who would otherwise not have considered it.

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[1] - This number is estimated to be between twenty and thirty million, out of a total population of 67 million Muslims in the former USSR.
[2] - The accusation that is sometimes made that the texts of these ancient Scriptures have been systematically altered is without scientific or religious foundation. Learn more…
[3] - While we would not assert that Russian-speaking Central Asians speak a fully developed “dialect” of Russian, there is clear evidence that their usage of religious vocabulary differs from that of Russians, for example in the widespread preference for the word “Всевышний” (The Most High) or even “Аллах” (Allah) instead of “Бог” (God)