J A Shurman ~ Bible Translator ("Benares Version")

Summary of Bible translations effected for the benefit of India by Protestant Missionaries

1859 | Summary | George Brown.

The following is a brief summary of the translations effected for the benefit of India, by Protestant Missionaries and others, since the time when the apostolic Ziegenbalg, the first Protestant Missionary, entered that field of labour.

[174] “At that time, the Bible had not been translated into any language of India, and many years passed before the Tamil Bible of Fabricius, and the Teloogoo Bible of Schultze, were published. Then followed Dr. Carey’s Bengali Bible, his Mahratta Bible, and his Uriya Bible; Hunter’s Hindustani, and Colebrooke’s Persian Gospels; Henry Martyn’s Hindustani, and Persian New Testament; the other versions from Serampore, including the Sanskrit Bible; the labours of Dr. Buchanan and Professor Lee, with the Syriac Scriptures; Mr. Thomason’s commencement of the Hindustani Bible; Mr. Bowley’s Hindui Bible; Archdeacon Robinson’s Persian Pentateuch; the Malayalim Bible; the Teloogoo Scriptures prepared at Vizagapatam; the labours of Rhenius with the Tamil version; the Bombay translations of the Bible into Mahratta, and Gujerattee; the Canarese Bible completed at Bellary; the publication of the entire Hindustani Old Testament by Mr. Schurman and Mr. Hawkins; the labours of Dr. Yates and Mr. Wenger in a new version of the Sanskrit and of the Bengali Bible; Dr. Glen’s Persian Bible; the Punjabee Scriptures, and the Burmese Scriptures, prepared by the American  Missionaries; Dr. Sutton’s Uriya Bible; and all the various  labours of other Missionaries in preparing new editions of some of these works; and the translation of separate portions for minor tribes or nations, as the Nepalee, Lepcha, Khassia, Sindhi, and Cutchee.”)1 ]


[153-154] “In the work of translation and revision, that most difficult department of biblical labour, encouraging progress was also made. A thorough revision of the Urdu New Testament was finished. For this improved version, the Society was indebted to the joint labours of Missionaries of the London and of the Church Missionary Societies, who had devoted all their spare time, for five years, to this important work.


Measures were likewise taken to revise all the portions of the Urdu Old Testament already translated, and to proceed with the whole in the order of the books as they stand. This work was committed to the Revs. Messrs. Schurman and Kennedy, Missionaries at Benares, assisted by the Rev. J. Wilson, of Allahabad; it afterwards passed under the revision of a Sub-Committee, specially appointed for this purpose at Calcutta.

While Dr. Haeberlin was absent [1844], an important work was completed at Calcutta — the Urdu translation of the entire Scriptures. This work was first undertaken by the Society in 1819. In the course of its progress, the Rev. Henry Martyn, the Rev. Messrs. Corrie, Thomason, and others, took part in it . It was now brought to its conclusion, and revised by Messrs. Schurman and Kennedy, of Benares, assisted by the Rev. J. Wilson, of Allahabad, and J. A. F. Hawkins, Esq. The London Missionary Society received a grant of £1000, for time and services rendered by their Missionaries in carrying it on.


The first Marathi translation was made by Vaidyanath Sarma under the supervision of the Serampore missionaries and William Carey at Fort William College.


Published in:
George Brown. 1859. The History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, from its Institution in 1804 to the Close of its Jubilee in 1854. Volume II. London.

Online: Google Books.

  1. See “Bible in India,” a valuable document, originally appended to the Forty-eighth Report of the Calcutta Auxiliary, and afterwards published in a separate form in this country, containing a carefully prepared and deeply-interesting collection of facts, in proof that Bible Societies were greatly needed, and have been greatly blessed in India. [ ▲ ]

For reference:

Administrator. J A Shurman ~ Bible Translator ("Benares Version") :: Summary of Bible translations in India, in: Pirltawardli Research Website. Adelaide 2020.
(Created: 14.11.2014. Last updated: 23.03.2016.)
Direct URL: <www.grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/detail.php?nr=423&rubric=30>. Viewed 07.08.2020.