Profile: Iona Hine

500 Reformations director Dr Iona Hine’s reformation expertise can be summed up as “bibles and language”. The team asked Iona some questions about how this knowledge connects with her research.

Tell us about your Reformation research:

My dedicated reformation research has focused on early modern bibles, in England and in Europe more broadly. I spent nearly five years comparing how people had translated the book of Ruth into different languages, including Latin. I was curious about how translators make decisions, especially where the original text is difficult to interpret (or where scholars today come to a different decision). I emerged with some interesting findings about authority, skill, and cross-fertilisation. (How one translation affects others.)

I also work on language change in the early modern period, from the beginning of English print (1470s) until around 1800. I’m hoping to increase my store of examples to show how Luther influenced how we speak today.

I’ve also done some work on biblical literacy, comparing how people talk about bible reading today and when the first English bible-in-print appeared (1535).

What question, or questions, are you aiming to answer in your 500 Reformations talk?

I’ll be asking “What did Luther ever do for the Bible?” — and similarly “for literacy” or “the English language” (though I know other colleagues will also be covering the latter territory).

Is this your main research area?
Broadly, yes. I wouldn’t say that Luther himself is a central focus for my research, though I’ve had a lot of fun(!) documenting his different attempts at bible translation. And of course my work on English language is not all reformation-based.

Find out more:
Iona blogs at
She contributed a chapter on biblical literacy and education to Katie Edwards’ Rethinking Biblical Literacy (T&T Clark, 2015), and co-wrote a free study guide to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Version in 2011.

Want to hear Iona speak?

Those in the South Peak can experience Iona’s introduction to early modern bibles and their impact in Bradbourne, Derbyshire in November.

Others in Sheffield and the surrounding area are encouraged to invite Iona as part of the 500 Reformations scheme. Information about hosting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *