About JCBT

The Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators (JCBT) is a non-profit educational ministry which focuses on training mother-tongue Bible translators, consultants-in-training and consultants. This training, under the auspices of the Rothberg International School for Overseas Students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, serves to allow increasing numbers of people to access to the Biblical message in their mother-tongue created from a quality translation referencing the original Hebrew text.

whom we serve

The JCBT/Hebrew University program is designed specifically for Bible translators. JCBT has served translators and consultants from several Bible translation agencies, including Biblica, Bible League, IBT, NBTT, SIL, TSCO, UBS, Word for the World and Wycliffe, as well as sign language agencies like Deaf Missions and D.O.O.R. Students have come from 47 different countries.


JCBT offers several courses and programs to serve translators and consultants:

  • Spring Semester program which focuses on teaching the TEXT of the Bible in the CONTEXT of the living Hebrew language and in Israel as the land of the Bible.
  • Several two-week “LAND OF THE BIBLE” courses that introduce the physical and cultural context of the Biblical text. Additionally, one-month programs are available for advanced levels of HEBREW – like studying specifically the book of Psalms or the general structures of Hebrew Poetry.

Short term courses have been taught in English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Sign Language as we attempt to serve translators from a variety of cultures (including some instruction in Hebrew).

FOUNDERS & directors

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Halvor & Mirja Ronning

co-founders & co-directors

Brian (Baruch)  Kvasnica

Director of Short Term Programs

2021 Semester Program Lecturers

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Lénart de Regt


Reinier de Blois


Lynell Marchese ZOGBO


Ernst R. Wendland

updates & news

“Celebrating 20 Years in Ministry: Home of Bible Translators & Scholars”
Kehila News Israel, September 2015
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“Studying Bible Translation in Israel”

Bridges For Peace, November 26, 2014

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“The Whole Word for the Whole World”

Christianity Today

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“Found in Translation”

The Guardian, Saturday August 20, 2005: Found in translation

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A slide show by an alumnus of short-term consultants program, Stephen Payne (2014).
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Life at JCBT

Home-Like Accommodations

The Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators provides the use of four shared bedrooms (2 or 3 students to a room, maximum of 10 students), each room with its own private bathroom. In addition, JCBT volunteers provide daily meals and linens and bedding as needed. Three basic daily meals are provided for the duration of the course for students residing at the Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators.

Student life at JCBT is more like living with a family than living in dorm on a university campus. Students eat together, have devotions together and at times study together. They develop into a family of mutually supportive students and volunteer staff. Previous experience of living with a roommate is extremely important in terms of the humble adjustments that often need to be made!

Student Duties and Services

JCBT provides a quiet setting for study in an international community of serious students and scholars. It features a small basic library for Old Testament translators and a large common living room.

Students are required to clean their room weekly, wash their own clothes and to routinely give a helping hand to volunteer kitchen staff. Use of a washing machine, photocopier and fax are also available.

High-speed cable and wireless internet connections are available free of charge at both JCBT and at the HU University.

A phone is available for local calls. Long distance calls can be made using a locally purchased prepaid phone card or via internet phone systems, like Skype or Gtalk.

Student Life

It is important that students have the ability to work and live together in this social setting. With weekly study trips, Shabbat dinners, daily rides to the University and back there is no lack of good company. One will rarely, if ever, become lonely or bored. On the contrary, the program is exceedingly intensive, each day being packed with classes, homework and social time.

During what little free time is available–Saturdays and during the University vacation week–you can get involved with the local Christian community, take your own tours around Jerusalem, shop at the local stores or take a bus trip to Tel Aviv.

Semester Course Instructors

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  • Natali Akun, Ph.D. Biblical Hebrew. (Ph.D. Hebrew University) Researcher, Hebrew Language Academy and Lecturer, Efrata College. Published author.
  • Cyril Aslanov, Ph.D. Biblical Hebrew (Ph.D, Sorbonne, Paris and HDR) Professor of Hebrew and Romantic Languages, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Extensive Publications.
  • Amnon Bruck, Ph.D. Biblical Hebrew (PhD. in Hebrew and Semitic Languages, Bar-Ilan University with certification to teach Hebrew as a second language. He founded an Ulpan at the Sofaer International MBA program at Tel Aviv University. Published author.
  • Aaron Hornkohl. Ph.D. Discourse Analysis, Hebrew Tutoring and Hebrew Langauge Lectures. (BA, Biola University, M.A., Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Language Teaching Officer in Hebrew, Cambridge University. Instructor, Biblical Language Center. Published author, e.g in  Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (Brill, 2013).
  • Randall Buth, Ph.D. Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Analysis (Ph.D.in Semitic Studies, UCLA) Director of the Biblical Language Center. Extensive publications.
  • Danny Herman, MA. “Texts in Context” Historical Geography and Context of the Bible. (M.A. Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Instructor in Archaeology at Hebrew University and at the Israel School of Tourism.
  • Glenn Kerr, Ph.D. Discourse Analysis. Chief Translation Consultant for Bibles International. Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at Northland International University; Bible translation Consultant working primarily with in Francophone West and Central Africa.
  • B. Brian Kvasnica, M.A. (Hebrew University of Jerusalem).  “Texts in Context” —Historical Geography and Context of the Bible.   JCBT Director of Short-Term Programs; Assistant Biblical Hebrew teacher at the Biblical Language Center; Director, Jerusalem Biblical Studies Society. Published “Parable of the Vineyard Tenants and Son” (in Jesus’ Last Week, Brill 2006) and “Early Jewish Historiography and Ethics of Plundering” in Writing and Reading War (SBL, 2008).
  • Tania Notarius, Ph.D. Biblical Hebrew. Biblical Hebrew instructor at Rothberg International School, Hebrew University. Published author.
  • Brian Schultz Ph.D. Historical Geography and Context of the Hebrew Bible. (BA. Briercrest Bible College, MA Jerusalem University College, Ph.D. Bar-Ilan University). Professor of Bible at Fresno University, California. Published author.
  • Halvor Ronning, D.D. h.c. JCBT Co-Founder and Co-Director and  instructor for Historical Geography and Context of the Bible. (B.A., St. Olaf College; B.D. Luther Seminary; M.A. from Yale University, D.D. h.c. University of California). Founding member of the Jerusalem School for Synoptic Research, Lecturer at Rothberg International School, Hebrew University, Published author.
  • Smadar Barak, MA. Biblical Hebrew. Hebrew language instructor at Hebrew University. Former director of the Mazye Institute for the History of the Hebrew Language Revival.

2019 French Semester Course Instructors

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  • Eyal Nahum, linguist & language instructor  Specializing in teaching Biblical Hebrew. Age: 40. M.A. in General Linguistics, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, summa cum laude. Master theme: The relative article. A study of relative pronoun attraction in Herodotean Greek.
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  • Rafi Kassimov (Ph.D., Rabbi) “Texts in Context” – Historical Geography and Context of the Bible. Lecturer, Instructor of French Language and Literature, Hebrew University; Lecturer, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies; Israeli Tour guide.
  • Rev. Dr Paul M. Mpindi, PhD – PhD in Biblical (OT) Hermeneutics from Calvin Theological Seminary (USA). Dissertation's title: Calvin Hermeneutics of the Imprecation of the Psalms. 
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  • Lynell Zogbo, Ph.D. (3x) UBS Translations Consultant; Lecturer, Faculte de Theologie Evangelique Alliance Chretienne (FATEAC); Adjunct Lecturer & Research Associate, University of the Free State; Editor UBS Handbook Series and Sycamore, a journal for Francophone translators. Published author.
  • Samy Ikoa Tioyé, Global Translation Advisor with the United Bible Societies. Ph.D. in Bible Translation Studies, Africa International University, 2013. Topic: 'Eating Blood' in the Old Testament: Interpretation and Translation into Lobiri.
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  • Anne Garber Kompaoré – Born February 8, 1955 in East York, Ontario, Canada. Citizenship of Canada and Burkina. Married to Pastor Daniel Kompaoré January 2, 1993 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
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  • Gabriel Barkay, Ph.D. Archaeology of Jerusalem. B.A., M.A., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ph.D., Tel Aviv University. Excavations in Lachish, Jerusalem, Megiddo, Tel Zayit, Susa (Iran) Faculty of Bar-Ilan University. Directed excavations at Ramat Rachel, Ketef Hinnom and currently director of the Temple Mount sifting project. Recipient of the Jerusalem Prize. Extensive publications.
  • Petra Heldt, Ph.D. Historic Christianity. B.A., Frei Universitat, Berlin; M.Th., Kirchliche Hochschule, Berlin; Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Executive Secretary of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel. Director, The Thomas Oden Patristic Study Center. Ordained minister. Published author.
  • Wayne Horowitz, Ph.D. Israel and Assyria. (PhD. Birmingham University) Archaeologist. Senior Lecturer at Hebrew University in Assyriology. Specializing in Sumerian and Akkadian writings to do with the structure of the cosmos.
  • Ronit Maoz, MA. Biblical Agriculture. (MA, Bar Ilan University) Expert tour guide specializing in biblical agriculture.
  • Ray Pritz, PhD. Lecturer on Realia and the Bible. (Ph.D. Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Former assignments include work at the Caspari Center for Biblical and Jewish Studies, director of the Bible Society in Israel, researcher in the Translations Department of the United Bible Societies preparing resource material for Bible translators. Doctoral dissertation was published jointly by Magnes Press and E.J. Brill under the title Nazarene Jewish Christianity(1988)
  • Mirja Ronning, MA. JCBT Co-Founder and Co-Director and Director of Biblical Hebrew. Mirja (Miriam), a Finnish citizen by birth, became a resident of Israel in 1949 and was educated in Hebrew since childhood. (BA from Concordia College, USA; graduate degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Scientific Translation, Clinical Psychology, and an MA in The Bible and Its World. Mirja conducts an ongoing Bible translation project from Hebrew to Finnish and has published Genesis, Joel, Obadiah, and Ruth and recently completed Isaiah. She has taught Biblical Hebrew and Bible translation in academic settings in Jerusalem since the 1970’s.
  • Emmanuel Tov, Ph.D. Masoretic Text and Bible Translation. Professor at the Hebrew University Bible Department. One of the editors of the Hebrew University Bible Project. On the editorial board of Dead Sea Discoveries. Won the Israel Prize in 2009 for Biblical Studies.  Extensive publications.
  • Inge Verschoor, M.A. Historical Geography – ‘Texts in Context’ (French) (MA, University of Texas, Arlington; MA, University of Leiden). Linguistic work in Africa and Israeli tour guide.
  • Murray Salisbury, MA. Biblical Hebrew Poetry in its Contexts. Lecturer, Training Workshops and Seminars for Bible Translators and Consultants in many parts of the world; Adjunct Professor of Hebrew and OT Exegesis at the Handong Global University, Pohang, South Korea.

Instructors for Bible Translation Exegesis Seminar

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  • Katharine Barnwell, Ph.D. (1x). (Ph.D., Linguistics, School of Oriental and African Studies and University College, University of London). Advisor to the Senior Vice President, The Seed Company (TSC), 2013– and Certified Senior Translation Consultant, SIL International, 2012–. Extensive Publications.
  • Julie Bentinck, MA (3x) Translation Consultant in Africa, SIL – Summer Institute of Linguistics. Published Author.
  • Bob Carter, MA (2x). (M.A., Hebrew Bible Translation, Jerusalem University College). Senior Translation Consultant, Seed Company 2010-, and Certified Senior Translation Consultant, SIL International, 2012–.
  • Noah Lee, Ph.D. (2x) Published Author.
  • Dr. Krijn van der Jagt (1x) Senior Emeritus UBS Translation Consultant, United Bible Societies. Extensive Publications.
  • Hanni Kuhn, MA (2x) Published Author.
  • Murray Salisbury, MA (2x) Lecturer, Training Workshops and Seminars for Bible Translators and Consultants in many parts of the world; Adjunct Professor of Hebrew and OT Exegesis at the Handong Global University, Pohang, South Korea.
  • Tim Wilt, Ph.D. (1x) (Ph.D. Michigan State University in Linguistics) Former Wycliffe Consultant in Africa and Assistant Professor, Middle Tennessee State University. Published author.
  • Lynell Zogbo, Ph.D. (3x) UBS Translations Consultant; Lecturer, Faculte de Theologie Evangelique Alliance Chretienne (FATEAC); Adjunct Lecturer & Research Associate, University of the Free State; Editor UBS Handbook Series and Sycamore, a journal for Francophone translators. Published author.

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