« PreviousContinue »
expedition. Nadir then convoked an assembly of the mullahs of both sects, at which the persons learned in the Pentateuch and Gospel assisted, in order to give testimony to the truth. After a long dispute, the Shiites were vanquished, and the Sonnites alone declared to be orthodox. An instrument was drawn up, to which all who assisted at the disputation affixed their seals; and copies of it were sent everywhere."66 The parts of the Scripture which are said to have been translated, are the Four GOSPELS, the Psalms, and the book of the prophet JEREMIAH.67 The vile manner in which this important work was executed, is thus stated by Mr. Hanway, in his Travels, as quoted by Dr. C. Buchanan: Mirza Mahadi “being vested with proper authority for the purpose, summoned several Armenian bishops, and priests, together with divers missionaries of the Romish church, and Persian mullahs, to meet him at Ispahan. As to the latter, the Mahomedan priests, many of them gave Mirza Mehdee large bribes to excuse their absence. Among the Christians summoned on this occasion, only one Romish priest, a native of Persia, was a sufficient master of the language to enter upon a work of so critical a nature. As to the Armenian Christians, although they are born subjects to Persia, and intermixed with the inhabitants, yet there are very few of them who understand the language fundamentally. It was natural to expect, that Mirza Mehdee, and the Persian mullahs, would be more solicitous to please Nadir, and to support the credit of Mahomedanism, than to divest themselves of prejudices, and become masters of so important a subject. This translation was dressed up with all the glosses which the fables of the Koran could warrant. Their chief guide was an ancient Arabic and Persian (66) J. Langlés, Voyages traduits de differentes langues Orientales, &c.
vol. I. Voyage de l' Iude a la Mekke, ch, vii. pp. 60-62. Hamb.
et Brunswik, 1799, 12mo. (67) Le Long, edit. Masch, pt. ü. rol, I. p. 164
translation. Father de Vignes, a Romish priest, was also employed in this work, in which he made use of the Vulgate edition. They were but six months in completing this translation, and transcribing several fair copies of it. In May following, Mirza Mehdee, with the Persian mullahs, and some of the Christian priests, set out from Ispahan for the Persian court. Nadir received them with some marks of civility, and had a cursory view of the performance. Some part of it was read to him; on which occasion he made several ludicrous remarks on the mysterious parts of the Christian religion; at the same time he laughed at the Jews, and turned Mahommed and Ali equally into ridicule.” And after some expressions of levity, intimating that he could himself make a better religion than any that had yet been produced, “he dismissed these churchmen and translators with some small presents, not equal in value to the expense of the journey." Dr. B. adds, “This version of the Gospels, prepared by command of Nadir Shah, is probably the same with that which is sometimes found in the hands of the Armenian priests in India. A copy was lately shown to an Oriental scholar, in Bengal, (Rev. H. Martyn,) who observed, that if this was the same, he did not wonder at Nadir's contempt of it."
Of the ARABIC versions of the Scriptures, to which we now direct our attention, several editions of the whole or parts of the Old and New Testament were printed in the course of the eighteenth century. Some of these have already been mentioned, but others still remain to be noticed. In 1700, the whole Bible, in folio, was printed at Ducharest, in Wallachia, under the inspection of the Melchite Patriarch of Antioch ; who also caused an edition of the church books to be published in the same tongue. An edition of the Four GOSPELS was likewise printed at the expense of ANASTASIUS, the Greek patriarch of Antioch, (68) Buchanan's Christian Researches, pp 171–173.
at Aleppo, 1706, fol. In 1752, RAPHAEL Tuki, bishop of Arzan el Rum, (commonly called Erzerum,) again undertook an edition of the Bible, under the patronage of the Congregation de propagandd fide. The first voluine of this work, which is in quarto, and printed at Rome, contains the Pentateuch, the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra with the Apocryphal addition, Nehemiah, and Tobit: but we have no knowledge that the second volume was ever completed The New TESTAMENT, in Syriac and Arabic, was printed at Rome, 1703, 2 vols.' folio, but whether at the press of the Congregation de propaganda fide may be doubted.* In 1706, Athanasius, the Greek patriarch of Antioch, caused the Psalms to be printed at Aleppo, in 4to. at his own expense. In 1732, ABDALLA BEN ZACHER, a Melchite clergyman, established a printing press at Aleppo, which he furnished with beautiful Arabic types. He appears to have subsequently removed the printing establishment to the monastery of John the Baptist de Soairo, on Mount Khesroan, in the diocese of Berytus on Mount Libanus, where editions of the Arabic PSALMS, in 8vo. were printed in 1735, 1739, and 1753. Editions of the PSALMS were printed also in the monastery of St. John the Baptist Ais choir Alcain, on Mount Chaswan, by the Romish monks of the canons of St. Basil, 1764, 8vo; and at Padua, in Italy, 1709, 8vo. The Psalms were likewise printed in Coptic and Arabic, at Rome, 1744, and 1749, 4to; the latter, or “Alexandrian Psalter," is said to have been printed with the types of the Congregation de propaganda fide. To which may be added some chapters and psalms published as specimens by others.69
The SYRIAC versions, and the principal editions of them,
* See Letter from Rome, p, 480 of this volume. (69) Le Long, edit. Masch, pt. ii. vol, I, sec. 5, pp. 116, 117. 124–133.
Marsh's Hist. of the Translations, &c. pp. 78, 79.
having been already noticed, it is unnecessary to add much more. It may be observed, however, that Leusden and Schaaf's editions of 1708, and 1717, are in quarto ; and that by new title-pages, and in some cases new prefaces, they have been represented as editions of other and more recent dates. The Philoxenian version, of which the Four GOSPELS were published in 1778, 2 vols. 4to, and the Acts and Epistles since, in 2 vols. 4to, by Professor White, from a MS. belonging to the Rev. Gloster Ridley, has already been noticed, in vol. I. p. 201. Separate portions of the Scriptures were also published at various times, by Dr. Callenberg and others, chiefly to assist the Biblical student.
We now proceed to the more modern Asiatic translations, undertaken chiefly by Europeans. Of these, the first in order were the Tamil, the TELUGIAN, and the HinDOOSTANEE,executed by the German missionaries employed conjointly by the Danish government and the English "Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.” The TaMUL (sometimes called the Malabaric) version was commenced by BARTHOLOMEW ZIEGENBALG, who began to translate the New TESTAMENT in 1708, and finished it in 1711. After being revised by JOHN ERNEST GRUNDLER, it was printed in 1714,1715,4to, at Tranquebar, at the press and on the paper provided by the "Society for promoting Christian Knowledge": the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, with large types; and the rest of the New Testament with smaller types, for want of a sufficiency of paper. In 1717, Ziegenbalg began to translate the Old Testament into Tamul, and had proceeded to the end of the book of Judges, when he was called to his eternal reward, in 1719. BENJAMIN SCHULTZE, another distinguished missionary, translated other books of the Old Testament, and the Apocrypha, and superintended the printing of the whole at the mission-press, at Tranquebar. The Pentateuch, with the books of Joshua and
Judges, were printed in 1723, 4to; Ruth, to Solomon's Song inclusive, 1726, 4to; the whole of the Prophetical books, 1727, 4to. and the Apocrypha, 1728, 4to. A second edition of the Tamul New Testament, revised by B. Schultze, was begun to be printed in 1722, and finished in 1724, at Tranquebar, in 8vo. Another edition revised by the missionaries, WORMIUS, PRESSIER, WIEDERBROCK, and OBUCH, was printed at Tranquebar, 1758, 8vo. A second and more correct edition of the Old Testament was printed at Tranquebar, at the mission-press, 1777, 1782, 2 vols. 4to. An edition of the Tamul New Testament was also printed at Columbo, in Ceylon, 1741, and again 1743, 4to. under the auspices of the governor, Gustavus William Van Imhoff, at the press established by him in that island.
In 1777, another and a more classical and elegant Tamul version of the New Testament was published at Madras, in 4to, by John Philip FABRICIUS, one of the Danish missionaries in India, who is said to have been “an unparalleled Tamul scholar,” as well as “an excellent Portuguese scholar and poet."
To the above may be added the PSALMS by B. Schultze, Tranquebar, 1724, 8vo; reprinted 1746. ECCLESIASTICUS, by B. Schultze, Tranquebar, 1727, and also 1761. The GOSPEL according to St. MATTHEW, Tranquebar, 1739, 8vo; and Columbo, in the island of Ceylon, 1740. The History of the Passion of Jesus Christ, selected from the Four Gospels, by B. Schultze, Tranquebar, 1723, 8vo; and 1766, 12mo.78
(70) Niecampii Historia Missionis Evangelicæ in Ind. Oriental. pp. 141.,
153, 172. 177. 183. 221. 234, 255. 311, et al.
Adleri Biblioth, Biblica, pt. i, Plat. 16, p. 147, et Supp. p. 144: (71) Seventh Report of Brit. and For. Bible Society, App. p. 23.
Brown's Hist. of the Propagation of Christianity, II. p. 648.
Lond. 1814, 8vo. (72) Le Long, edit. Masch, pt. ii. vol. I, sec. 11, pp. 199–201,
Adleri, Biblioth. Biblica, pt, i. Plut. 16, pp. 148, 149.