Jákup Dahl

Jákup Dahl

Faroese stamps of 2007.
Born 5 June 1878
Vágur, Faroe Islands
Died 5 June 1944(1944-06-05) (aged 66)
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
Children Regin Dahl

Jákup Dahl (English and German Jacob Dahl) (5 June 1878 – 5 June 1944) was a Faroese Provost and Bible translator. In 1908 he became known as a linguist with the first Faroese grammar lessons for school students.

Life and work

Dahl was born on 5 June 1878 in Vágur on the island of Suðuroy in the Faroe Islands. He was the son of the merchant Peter Hans Dahl and Elisabeth Súsanna Vilhelm.

Dahl was a classmate of Janus Djurhuus at the high school in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes. Djurhuus described Dahl’s delivery of the nationalist hymn Nú er tann stundin komin til handa by Jóannes Patursson as his "linguistic baptism". While he was affiliated with Patursson's Party Sjálvstýrisflokkurin (Self-Government Party or Separatist Party), Jacob Dahl became famous during the Faroese language conflict, when he refused, as a teacher in Tórshavn 1909, to continue to teach in Danish. This matter back then was elevated to the Copenhagen ministry of instruction. One of his former students was William Heinesen, who reminisced about the time when Dahl still forced his students to use Danish.

In 1917 Dahl was elected Provost of the Faroes. In 1921 he published his translation of the Book of Psalms. The New Testament was published in 1937. Subsequently, he started the translation of the Old Testament, but was unable to finish it prior to his death in 1944. This task was then taken over by Kristian Osvald Viderø, to enable the Danske Folkekirke Church of Denmark (which immediately authorized Dahl’s translations) to finally present a Bible translation in Faroese language in 1961. Besides the Bible translation, Dahl also supplied a transliteration of the Catechism, a Bible story and a compilation of Faroese sermons for Layman Worships in remote villages. In addition Jákup Dahl translated dozens of church songs, including some by Martin Luther into his native language.

A Bible translation by Victor Danielsen already existed in 1948, but he based his on modern European editions, unlike Dahl’s translations from the older editions.

Jákup Dahl’s son Regin Dahl (1918–2007) is an important Faroese poet and composer.



See also


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