Johann A Schürmann ~ Correspondence
The Bible in Hindustan
Summary of Bible translations in the Hindustani languages.
Hindostan.— The reports of the various Missionary Societies, and all other accounts, concur in their testimony to the rapid downfall of the influence of the various systems of idolatry in India, and the eagerness of the people to receive the Scriptures It seems indeed evident that 'the fields are white already to harvest' and that little more is required now than labourers to gather it in. The Scriptures are happily being presented in most of the dialects of India. The Baptist missionaries have been honourably distinguished in this work.
But other agencies more extended than those of the Baptist missions are engaged in placing the Word of God before the numerous tribes of this vast country in their native dialects. Amongst the most recent efforts of this description. in connection with the British and Foreign Bible Society. we may enumerate the following.
The missionaries of the Church Missionary Society at Kishnagur have translated into Bengali the Gospel of St John and the Epistle to the Galatians, which are being printed and circulated, together with Mr. Wenger's edition of Dr. Yates's version, in order to obtain the opinions of competent judges as to their fitness for circulation amongst the people.
An edition of the Gospel of St Luke in Mussulman Bengali has been completed by the Rev. J. Patterson and has been ordered to be printed at the Baptist Mission press. A version of the Acts of the Apostles, in the Nepalee language, by the Rev. W. Start in continuation of a version of St Luke's Gospel by the same gentleman, has also been sent to press. The Rev. W. Lewis of Cherraponjee has translated the Four Gospels and Acts into the Khassia language. The first volume of the Hindi Bible was completed last year. The Rev. Mr. Owen, the principal reviser of the work, states that the second volume is in progress, the book of Job being in the press. The Rev. Mr. Scheider, of the Church Mission at Agra, had been engaged in this work as one of the revisers of the translation. An edition of the Psalms in the Panjabi language is about to appear. A new edition of the Malayalim Bible having been called for, a revision has taken place, which has already extended to the Book of Genesis and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and the New Testament is being printed. A revision of the Canarese version has also taken place, and a large edition of the Gospels, as far as to the end of St Luke, has been prepared. The Telugu Old Testament, slightly revised as to the more prominent names and to orthography, has also been printed for the use of missionaries.
Revisions and new editions of the Bible in the Marathi, and the New Testament in the Guzerathi language, are also in progress.
These various works, which are at present in the course of completion or which have been recently brought to a close, indicate the extent of the agencies now in operation for the evangelization of Hindostan.
In connection with this subject the following summary of the chief translations into the languages of India since the days of Ziegenbwlg will be read with interest. It is comprised in 'The Bible in India' (Dalton)[ 1 ] and is taken from a report of the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society:—
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 Telugu Bible of Schultze were published. Then followod Dr Carey's Bengali Bible, his Marathi 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 Sanscrit Bibl; 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 Telugu Scriptures, prepared at Vizagapatam; the labours of Rhenius with the Tamil version; the Bombay translations of the Bible into Marathi and Guzerathi; 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 Sanscrit 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, Khasia, Scindee, and Cutchee.
It is of the extremest importance to direct in a right channel the growing taste of the Hindoos on literary subjects. Calcutta alone, it is said, sends out from native presses annually not less than 30,000 volumes in Bengali, amongst which are upwards of twelve papers and periodicals. There are upwards of forty native presses at work to supply intellectual food to the people, much of which is unfavourable to Christianity. The existing systems of heathenism however appear hastening to their doom.
Burgess, H, ed. 1853. The Journal of Sacred Literature. Vol. 5. London: Blackader. Page(s): 519-520.
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(Created: 16.11.2014. Last updated: 25.01.2015.)
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