SMU Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology SMU, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology SMU Bridwell Library Perkins School of Theology

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Bibles for the Americas

The final section of the exhibition features twelve Bible translations intended for the Christian conversion of the native inhabitants of the Americas. Although evangelization of the indigenous South and Central American populations required translation from Latin, Spanish, and Portuguese sources, the Catholic clergy long prohibited the use of any Bible other than the Vulgate. It was not until 1829 that the first translations of the scriptures into South American languages (Aymara and Sranan) were published. Both are exhibited here, as are two early Central American translations (Nahuatl and Mam). This section also features eight translations produced for North American Indians, all sponsored by various Bible societies. The earliest of these translations, the seventeenth-century “Eliot Indian Bible” in Massachuset, was the first complete Bible translation printed for the purpose of religious conversion.

Also exhibited in the galleries:

[Sranan New Testament]. Da Njoe Testament va wi masra en helpiman Jesus Christus. London: W. McDowall, for the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1829. 

[Mam (Ostuncalco) and Spanish Gospel of John]. Tpacbal bantun Juan. El evangelio según San Juan. San Juan, [Guatemala]: El Noticiero Evangelico, 1930.

[Delaware Old Testament (summaries)]. Forty-Six Select Scripture Narratives from the Old Testament. Embellished with engravings, for the use of Indian youth. New York: Daniel Fanshaw, 1838.

[Inuit (Eskimo) New Testament]. Testamentetak tamedsa: nalegapta piulijipta Jesusib Kristusib apostelingitalo pinniarningit okausingillo. London: W. McDowall for the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1840.

[Choctaw New Testament]. Pin chitokaka pi okchalinchi Chisus Klaist in Testament Himona, Chahta anumpa atashowa hoke. New York: American Bible Society, 1848.

[Cherokee New Testament]. New York: American Bible Society, 1860.

[Micmac Gospel of Matthew]. The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, in the Micmac language. Charlottetown [Prince Edward Island]: G. T. Haszard, 1853.

[Kalispel Bible (summaries)]. Łu tel kaimintis kolinzuten kuitlt smiimii. Some Narratives, from the Holy Bible, in Kalispel. Compiled by the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus. [St. Ignatius], Montana: St. Ignatius Print, 1879.