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VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTU
FOR THE JEWS.
IN THE ORIENTAL LANGUAGES.
SINCE writing the above, the Author has received the following communication from the Rev. David Brown, dated Calcutta, March 15, 1810:
“ Dr. Leyden, of the College of Fort William, in a letter communicated to me yesterday, has offered to conduct Translations of the Scriptures in the following Languages; viz.”
6 The Jaghatai is the original Turcoman Language, as spoken in the central districts of Asia. The Bugis is the language of the Celebes. The Macassar is spoken at Macassar, in the Celebes, and in the great island of BORNEO.
“ Dr. Leyden is assisted, as you know, by learned natives in the compilation of Grammars and Vocabularies in the above languages, and entertains no doubt that he shall be able to effect correct versions of the Scriptures in them all."
Thus, sooner than could have been expected, are we likely to have the Bible translated into the language of the CELEBES.* But who can estimate the importance of a translation of the Scriptures into the languages of Affghana and Cashmire, those Jewish regions ?
The Jaghatai or Zagathai, is the language of Great Bucharia, which was called Zagathai, from a son of Zenghis Khan. It is an auspicious circumstance for Dr. Leyden's translation of the Jaghatai, that Prince Zagathai himself embraced Christianity, and made a public profession of the Gospel in his capital of Samarchand. There were at that period above a hundred Christian Churches in the province; and some of them remain to this day. We are also informed, both by the Nestorian and Romish writers, that there was a version of the New Testament and Psalms, in a Tartar Language. Dr. Leyden will soon discover whether this was the Jaghatai. That language is spoken in Bochara, Balk, and Samarchand, and in other cities of Usbeck, and Independent Tartary. This is the country which
* See p. 86 for an account of the importance of this language.
+ See Mosheim's Eccl. Tartar History, p. 40.
Dr. Giles Fletcher, who was Envoy of Queen Elizabeth, at the Court of the Czar of Muscovy, has assigned as the principal residence of the descendants of the Ten Tribes. He
from their place, from the name of their cities, from their language, which contains Hebrew and Chaldaic words, and from their peculiar rites which are Jewish. Their principal city Samarchand is pronounced Samarchian, which Dr. Fletcher thinks, might be a name given by the Israelites after their own Samaria in Palestine. (See Israel Redux, p. 12.) Benjamin of Tudela, who travelled into this country, in the twelfth century, and afterwards published his Itinerary, says, “ In Samarchand, the city of Tamerlane, " there are 50,000 Jews under the presidency of
Rabbi Obadiah: and in the mountains and cities us of Nisbor, there are four tribes of Israel resi“ dent, viz. Dan, Zabulon Asher, and Naph
It is remarkable that the people of Zagathai should be constantly called Ephthalites and Nephthalites by the Byzantine writers, who alone had any information concerning them.t The fact seems to be, that, if from Babylon as a
* See Benjamini Itinerarium, p. 97.
centre, you describe a segment of a circle, from the northern shore of Caspian Sea to the heads of the Indus, you will enclose the territories containing the chief body of the dispersed tribes of Israel.
This design of Dr. Leyden to superintend the translation of the Scriptures in seven new languages, marks the liberal views, and the enterprising and ardent mind of that scholar, and will be hailed by the friends of Christianity in Europe as a noble undertaking, deserving their utmost eulogy and patronage.
It will give pleasure to all those who have hitherto taken
interest in “ the restoration of learning in the East,” to see that the College of Fort-William is producing such excellent fruit. May its fame be perpetual !*
* There are now several Orientalists, members of the Asiatic Society, who have been engaged in translating the Holy Scriptures. We hope hereafter to see the name of Mr. Colebrooke added to the number. Mr. C. is the Father of Shanscrit Literature, and has lately published an Essay on the Shanscrit Poetry and Metres. How much gratified should we be to see a version of the Pentateuch from his pen! or at least a Critique on the New Testament, which has been already translated into Shanscrit. Mr. C. is the proper man to oppose the Pentateuch to the Hindoo Cosmogony, and to invite the Brahmins to contemplate the Mosaic Records, in classical Shanscrit. This
THE BIBLIOTHECA BIBLICA
The Bibliotheca Biblica is a Repository for Bibles in the Oriental Languages, and for Bibles only. They are here deposited for sale, at moderate prices ; and lists of the various versions are sent to remote parts of Asia, that individuals may know where to purchase them ; the commerce from the port of Calcutta rendering the transmission of books extremely easy. Those who desire to have copies for gratuitous distribution, are supplied at the cost prices. This institution is under the immediate superintendence of the Rev. David Brown, late Provost of the College of Fort-William : and it is supported by
would be a work worthy of his great erudition ; and his name, as a Shanscrit Scholar, would then, indeed, live for ever. Mr. Colebrooke has ever shewn kindness to the humble Mis. sionaries, who have been cultivating the Shanscrit Tongue ; he has supplied them with books, and afforded them every liberal aid ; it will give him no regret, at his last hour, to think that he has had it in his power, in any degree, to promote the cause of Christianity.