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It is remarkable that, among all the branches of history, religious, political, social, literary, and scientific, which have from time to time obtained such numerous and such able exponents, the history of the Oracles of God has hitherto, in the form at least of a complete and unbroken narrative, remained unwritten. The materials for such a work have, however, been accumulating from century to century; fragmentary portions of this history enter into the composition of many profound and learned treatises, while facts and incidents connected with or illustrative of the subject have been supplied even to profusion by writers of almost every age, creed, and nation. To collect from all sources, ancient and modern, the multitudinous details bearing on that history which above all others involves the temporal and eternal interests of mankind, and thus to produce a clear and condensed account of the means by which the Scriptures were transmitted from generation to generation,—of the circumstances under which they have been translated into the predominant languages of every land,—and of the agencies by which copies of the inspired writings in these divers languages have been multiplied and dispersed among the nations and tribes and kindreds of the earth. is the object of the present work.
The arrangement of the whole work is in strict conformity with the latest discoveries in ethnology; for, although the one grand object of displaying the history of the Scriptures has never been departed from in these pages, the origin and condition of the nations to whom special versions have been vouchsafed, and the distinguishing characteristics of the languages into which have been transferred the words of Him who “ spake as never man spake," have passed under careful review.
The elements of these languages, the stock or stocks from which they sprang, and their affiliation with other languages, have been examined more or less in detail; and the singular precision with which all languages range themselves, according to the order of their mutual affinities, into classes, families, and subdivisions, is exhibited by means of our Tables of Classification, perhaps the first of the kind compiled in our language.
The work has thus in some degree assumed the character of an ethnological manual, and as such it may possibly prove a stepping-stone to those who desire to pass from
the study of two or three isolated languages to the enlarged consideration of language in general, and of the laws upon which all languages are constructed. Such investigations, if laboriously, patiently, and honestly conducted, can lead but to one result, the affinities by which families and even classes of languages are linked together being so close and intimate, that the more deeply they are examined, the more profound becomes the conviction of the truth of the theory respecting the original unity of language.
This volume is illustrated by specimen portions of all the extant and attainable versions of the Scriptures, printed in their own proper characters.
The maps appertaining to the several sections of the work exhibit the geographical location and extent of each language, and likewise show how far the divine light of the Holy Scriptures, in the vernacular languages of the natives, shines over the world.
It has been attempted, also, from the mass of missionary and epistolary evidence existing, to draw conclusions respecting the effects which may have followed the perusal of special versions of the Scriptures. All reasonings on this subject, however, even with the most ample opportunities of forming as far as possible a correct judgment, can at best be but approximations towards the truth. Known only to God is the number of His spiritual worshippers. The Word of God is still quick and powerful, in every tongue and among every nation, and it cannot return unto Him void: therefore let us “in the morning sow our seed, and in the evening withhold not our hand.” The question which shall prosper, this or that, or whether they shall both alike be good, is one of the secret things which belong unto the Lord most High.
The Publishers would fain express their deep obligation, individually, to the numerous friends who have taken part in the preparation of this laborious work, were such an enumeration suitable ; but they cannot refrain from recording the particular value of the aid afforded by the British and Foreign Bible Society, the American Bible Society, the Missionary Societies of this country and of America. They would also render a becoming tribute to the munificence of the Emperor of Austria, who has been pleased to supply, for the due completion of this work, the entire series of Native Alphabets with which it is enriched.
London, 15, Paternoster Row, 1851.
A LIST OF THE LANGUAGES
INTO WHICH THE SCRIPTURES, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, HAVE BEEN
NOTE, THE NAMES OF LANGUAGES IN WHICH VERSIONS OF SCRIPTURE HAVE BEEN CONTEMPLATED OR PROJECTED, BUT NEVER COMPLETED
OR CIRCULATED, ARX PRINTED IN ITALICS.
MONO SYLLABIC. Chinese
Peguese, Talain, or Mon Burmese
Karen Arakanese or Rukheng
Khassee Laos or Law
Mogrebin or African Chaldee
Tigré Modern Syriac
Bundelcundee Pushtoo or Affghan
Bughelcundee Belochee or Bulochee Oojein or Oujjuyunee Ancient Armenian
Harrotee Modern Armenian
Bikaneera B. SANSCRIT FAMILY.
Magadha Hindustani or Urdu
Tirhitiya or Mithili Hinduwee
Uriya or Orissa
E. Greco-Latin FAMILY. Cashmerian
Ancient Greek Nepalese or Khaspoora
Modern Greek Palpa
French Gurwhal or Schreenagur
Daco-Romana or WalRommany or Gipsy
lachian Tamul or Tamil
Provencal or Romaunt Telinga or Teloogoo
Vaudois Karnata or Canarese
Romanese or Upper and Malayalim
Lower Enghadine Cingalese
Dialect of Toulouse. C. Celtic FAMILY. F. THRACO-ILLYRIAN Welsh
G. SCLAVONIC Family. Manks
Sclavonic Breton or Armorican.
Lettish or Livonian D. TEUTONIC FAMILY.
Lithuanian Ancient Low Saxon
Wendish, Upper English
Wendish, Lower Flemish
Wendish, Hungarian Dutch
Bohemian Alemannic or Old High Carniolan German
Croatian or DalmatianGerman
Servian Norse or Icelandic
A. EUSKARIAN FAMILY.
D. MONGOLIAN FAMILY.
E. TURKISH FAMILY.
Ashantee or Odji Berber
Caffre Yarriba or Yoruba
B. Finnish FAMILY.
F. CAUCASIAN FAMILY. Georgian.
G. SAMOIEDE FAMILY. Samoiede.
H. DIALECTS OF THE Is
LANDS OF EASTERN Asia,
C. TUNGUSIAN FAMILY.
Dacota or Sioux Greenlandish
Pawnee Massachusett Indian Mexican Mohegan
Misteco Chippeway or Ojibway Zapoteca Ottawa
Peruvian or Quichua Abenaqui
Karif or Carib Cherokee
Arawack. · Chocktaw
Negro Dialect of Judeo-Spanish
Negro Dialect of Judeo-Polish
LIST OF TYPOGRAPHICAL SPECIMENS.
HAKARI plate iv
character . .
PAGE ACCRA . . 342 Chippeway. . 371 Fernandian . . 346 Adiyah . . 346 | Chocktaw . , 379 Finnish . . . 264 Affghan. . . 58 Cingalese plate vi 126 Flemish . . 165 Aimara . . 389 Coptic . . . 326 French . . . 214 Albanian . . 239 Cree . . . 369 Le Frevre's Version 216 Alemannic . 171 Creolese . . 402 Olivetan's
216 Amharic . . 48 Curacoa . . 404 Geneva Ancient Greek .
Cutchee or Catchee . 99 De Sacy's
Wallachian plate v1 229 French Basque : 261
Dacota or Sioux . 381
Danish . . . 180 Galla. . : 355
Civil character . 293
Ecclesiastical , 293
Luther, Leipsic, 1825 173 „ Spanish 263
Van Ess, Sulbach,
1842 . . 173
1836 . : 174
Munster, 1848. 174
Ghadamsi . . 333
Geneva, 1557 158 Buriat plate vir 280
Gipsy . . . 112
Bishops', 1568, 158
Gothic . . . 147
Grebo . . . 341
Douay, 1847 . 159 CAFFRE . . 351
Authorised, 1611. 159
Textus Receptus. 189
Griesbach, with va-
rious readings • 194
Septuagint . 197
45 Catalan or Catalonian 237
Maximus CalliopoliChaldee .
FAROESE . . 188 tan's Version, 1638 201 Chinese . . 1 | Feejeean . . . 323 | Hilarion's „ . 201
ICELANDIC . . 177
In Irish character 137
In Roman . 137
Malermi's Version 227
JAPANESE plate x 296
Hebrew Original 396