Bible Translations

The library has substantial holdings of titles produced by mission presses, including many biblical titles in non-Roman scripts. Many of these are from the collection of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).

 

Tamil

Bible. Tamil. 1840. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments in the Tamil Language = Cattiyavetam ... palaiya erpatum putiya erpatum atanakiyirukkinaran. Madras: Printed for the Madras Auxiliary Bible Society, at the American Mission Press, 1840. 10 pts., only part 2 paged; 22 cm. [OLD DIV 307 Tamil 1840]

Although the New Testament was first translated and published in Tamil (a major language of South India) in 1715 (parts of the Old Testament soon followed), this is the first edition of the Tamil Bible complete in one volume. It uses the Old Testament translation of J. P. Fabricius of the S.P.C.K. (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) mission in Madras and the New Testament translation prepared by C. T. E. Rhenius of the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society) mission in Madras and Tinnevelly.

Additional image:

Page 1Page 1

Source of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.

Mohawk

Bible. N.T. John. Mohawk. 1818. The Gospel According to Saint John: In the Mohawk Language = Nene karighyoston tsinihorighhoten ne Saint John. New York: Printed for the American Bible Society: D. Fanshaw, printer, 1818. 116, 116, [1] p.; 15 cm. [Safe 816.9 Am. Mohawk 1818]

The translator was John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen), a Cherokee by birth, who had lived from infancy among the Mohawk. This edition is a reprint of the edition first published in London in 1804. It is the first translation into Mohawk of a biblical book printed in the United States.

Additional image:

John 1:1-9 in Mohawk and EnglishJohn 1:1-9 in Mohawk and English

Source of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.

Chinese

Bible. N.T. Luke. Chinese. 1811. Sheng Lu-chia shih chuan fu yin shu. [Canton or Macao: s.n., 1811 (or 1812?)]. 80 double leaves ; 28 cm. [R.B.R. folio BS315.C57 L8 1812]

Robert MorrisonRobert MorrisonAlthough the Jesuits, who began missionary work in China in the sixteenth century, had translated portions of the Bible, it was not until 1810 that Protestant missionaries began to translate and publish systematically the Scriptures into Chinese. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), the first Protestant missionary to China, was a British Presbyterian appointed by the London Missionary Society. Because of the strict laws in China regulating foreigners, he was also appointed as a translator for the East India Company. This translation of the Gospel of Luke was published in late 1811 (or 1812?). Like his 1810 translation of the Book of Acts, it was printed from woodblocks rather than moveable metal type. Probably only 100 copies of Luke were printed. On receiving a copy of this Gospel, the British and Foreign Bible Society made a grant of £500 to Morrison as an incentive to continue his work.

The fine binding has been identified as the work of John Roulstone (1777 or 1778-1826), a Boston bookbinder.

Additional views:

Text, P. 1Text, P. 1

Presentation to the Andover Library from Dr. StoughtonPresentation to the Andover Library from Dr. Stoughton

Sources of information:
Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule. London: Bible House, 1903-11.
Memoirs of the Life and Labours Robert Morrison. Compiled by his widow; with critical notices of his Chinese works, by Samuel Kidd, and an appendix containing original documents. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, and Longmans, 1839.
French, Hannah D. Bookbinding in Early America: Seven Essays on Masters and Methods. With catalogues of bookbinding tools prepared by Willman Spawn. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1986.