Explain why the scriptures were translated into Welsh

The scriptures were translated into Welsh during the reign of Elizabeth I for several reasons. These include the Queen’s personal beliefs, the influence of Protestantism and the Lutheran Reformation, and the importance of the divide in language barriers.

Possibly the main reason is that Elizabeth was introducing Protestant change after the reign of Mary. William Salisbury was the chief translator of the first Welsh New Testament; he wanted to make the Holy Scriptures available to them in their own language which is an act that is Protestant in doctrine. It was part of the Europe-wide Protestant Reformation where scriptures were translated from Latin into the vernacular of the appropriate country. The translation of the Bible was at the heart of religious change and enabled the Welsh to eventually transform into a Protestant people. The forces of Protestantism and the Reformation were victorious in Wales because any established church tended to be looked upon in Wales as a symbol of English dominance and Protestantism allowed religion in their own language.

Another reason why the scriptures were translated into Welsh was because of the significance of language in everyday life. Predominantly, it was an attempt to make the Welsh learn English by placing Welsh and English bibles next to each other in church. However, in putting the scriptures in Welsh it gave their language a place of honour and could be argued that it was an attempt to save a British language following Elizabeth’s disgust at the slow progress the Welsh were making in learning English. The bible was the only book from which the majority of the people could learn to write making it a crucial item in the progress of a language.

A final reason as to why the scriptures were translated into Welsh were the queen’s personal aims. Elizabeth was a Protestant who believed the task of reforming the church would be made easier by the translation of the scriptures. She was determined to crush the Roman Catholic faith and it was part of her policy to reverse the religious changes of Mary I. A way in which to do this would be doctrinal change in eradicating their Bible; making the word of God understandable to the people was very important in the Protestant Reformation. Elizabeth supported the translation from a religious and political point of view. From a religious point of view she wished to establish a uniform Protestant religion throughout her realm, and politically, she hoped to bind the Welsh people.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why the Bible was translated but the main reason was to fully establish Protestantism in England and Wales. Essentially, the Welsh Bible saved the language from possible extinction and maybe that was the intention all along.

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