- Bibles in Middle Eastern Languages
[Pentateuch in Arabic]. Kitab al-Tawrah, Arabic. [Egypt?], early eighteenth century.
Kitāb al-Tawrāh is an Arabic translation (from the Hebrew) of the Pentateuch
-the first five books of the Old Testament traditionally attributed to Moses:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Dated from the early
eighteenth century, this manuscript on paper (Reed MS 11) is written in Naskh
script with rubrics.
first edition of the Gospels in Arabic was printed at Rome in 1591 by
Typographia Medicea, a press established by Ferdinando de’ Medici for the
purpose of disseminating the Gospels in oriental languages. It contained
woodcut illustrations which may have hampered missionary efforts, as Muslims
were forbidden from contemplating religious imagery.
first complete Bible in Arabic – apart from the texts printed in the Paris and
London polyglots – occurred in 1671.
[Psalms in Syriac] Psalterium Syriace. Londoni: Impensis Societatis Biblicae, excudebat R. Watts, 1825.
was a dialect of the Aramaic language spoken in the north of Syria and in Upper
Mesopotamia. The Peshitta (‘simple’) version of the Syriac New Testament, based
on the second century “Old Syriac” translation, was used by the Syriac Church
from at least the fifth century. The Peshitta version of the Old Testament was
translated directly from the Hebrew.
The editio princeps of the Syriac New
Testament in the Peshitta version was printed in Vienna in 1555. The first
European editions of the Psalms in Syriac appeared in 1625 in Paris and Leiden.
The first complete Bible in Syriac formed part of the Paris polyglot of 1645.
is an 1825 edition of the Psalms in Ancient Syriac edited by Samuel Lee
(1783-1852) for the British and Foreign Bible Society. Modern Syriac editions
of the Scriptures were printed by missionaries from the 1840s.
[New Testament in Armenian]. [Constantinople: American Bible Society], 1895.
was one of the first languages into which the Bible was translated. In the
fifth century, St. Mesrop Mastoc (ca. 361-440) invented the Armenian alphabet
and translated the Bible from Syriac; later patriarchs revised the translation
utilising Greek sources. The earliest printing of the Bible in Armenian
occurred in Amsterdam in 1666.
Classical Armenian New Testament on display is one of several editions printed
by the American Bible Society in the nineteenth century and gives variants from
the Greek in Armenian at the foot of the page. Classical Armenian is still
often used in church services today.
in the eastern and western dialects of modern Armenian were also produced by
missionaries throughout the nineteenth century.