J A Shurman ~ Bible Translator ("Benares Version")
Hindustani Version Of The Scriptures
Overview about the Hindustani versions of the Bible translations.
Hindustani (or Urdu), the language of "Hindu-stan," or "country of Hind," is a mixed language, and owes its formation to the intercourse of the Mohammedan invaders with the conquered natives of India. At the time of the first Mohammedan invasions, which date from the 10th century, Hinduwi, or Hindi, was the prevailing dialect in Northern India.
On their permanent settlement in India the Mohammedans adopted this dialect as the medium of communication with the natives, but they greatly altered it by the introduction of words and idioms from the Persian and Arabic, their own vernacular and liturgic languages. The new dialect thence arising was called Urdu (camp), or Urdu Zaban (camp language), because the language of the Mohammedan camp and court; it was also called "Hindustani," from the geographical region through which it ultimately became diffused.
The first translation of any portion of Scripture into Hindustani seems to have been made by B. Schulze, a Danish missionary. His version of the Psalms was published by Callenberg at Halle in 1746, and the New Test. in 1758. But the most important translation that has been made into this language is that of the New Test. by the Reverend Henry Martyn, which appeared, after much delay, at Serampore in 1814. This version soon obtained such a high reputation that it led to a demand for an edition in the Devanagari (or regular Sanscrit) character, for the benefit of the Hindus in the upper provinces. Au edition in this character was published in 1817 by the Calcutta Bible Society. No subsequent editions of the Hindustani Scriptures were, however, issued in this dress, for it was found by experience that the Scriptures in the Hinduwi dialect (q.v.) were far more acceptable than in the Hindustani to the numerous class of natives who employ the Devanagari characters. For their use, as we shall have occasion to mention, SEE HINDUWI VERSION, Martyn's New Test. was eventually divested of its Persian and Arabic terms, and transferred into the Hinduwi idiom by Mr. Bowley.
While these editions were issued by the Calcutta Auxiliary, the publication of an edition in London had been contemplated by the British and Foreign Bible Society since, the year 1815, and was published in 1819, under the superintendence of professor Lee. Four thousand copies of this edition were sent to Calcutta. The committee at the latter place now turned their attention to the publication of a Hindustani version of the Old Test. The first portion of the work published was the Pentateuch, which appeared in 1823, and in 1844 the Old Test. was completed, and editions, both in Arabic and Roman characters, were distributed. The Hindustani version of the Scriptures has undergone subsequent revision at the hands of a committee appointed for the purpose, and later editions, both of the Old and New Tests., have appeared. Some of these have been printed in the Arabic, and others in the Roman character. At present there exist four different versions in Hindustani, one by Martyn, the second by Thomasen and others, the third Yates's version, and the fourth the Benares version, so called from the place where it was made. (See Bible of Every Land, page 94.)
Linguistic Helps. — Garcin de Tassy, Rudiments de la Langue Hindoustanie, avec Appendiae (Paris, 1829-33; 12th ed. 1863); Vinson, Elements de la Grammaire Generale Hindoustanie (ibid. 1884); Craven, The Popular Dictionary in English and Hindustani and Hindustani and English (London, 1882); Dowson, A Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language; A Hindustani Exercise Book; Fallon, A New Hindustani- English Dictionary (Benares, 1879); English-Hindustani Dictionary (1880). (B.P.)
James Strong and John McClintock. 1880. The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. New York: Haper and Brothers
Online: Biblical Cyclopedia. Viewed: 16.1.2015.
(Created: 18.01.2015. Last updated: 23.03.2016.)
Direct URL: <www.grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/detail.php?rubric=other_ShurmanJA_BibleTranslator&nr=735>. Viewed 06.07.2020.