Hungarian Version of the Scriptures
Hungarian Version Of The Scriptures The Benedictine missionaries, who, at the beginning of the 11th century, brought Christianity to the Magyars, transmitted to them also a translation of the Psalms, the gospels and epistles, as essential parts for the divine service. In the life of Margareth, daughter of king Bela IV, who died in 1271, we are told that she read the Psalms and the history of the passion of the Saviour in the Hungarian dialect-Hungarico idiomate (see Pray, Vita S. Elisabethae et B. Margar. 1770). In consequence of the many invasions made into Hungary, only fragments of a later time have been preserved. Thus we find parts of the Old Test., translated by the Franciscans Thomas and Valentinus, in a Vienna codex, written between 1336 and 1444 (according to Rdvany, Antiq. Lit. Hung. Pesth, 1803, in the year 1450). The translation is made from the Vulgate. The four gospels are preserved in a Munich codex. Both were edited by Dobrentei, Regi magyar nyelvemekek (1838), 1:3 sq.; (1842), 3:17 sq. Psalms, Song of Solomon, and the gospels are found in a codex of the episcopal library at Stuhlweissenburg (specimens in Toldy, Magyar N. Irodalom Tortenrete, Pesth, 1862, 1247). A second complete translation of the Bible was made by L. Bathory (died 1456); it is supposed that this translation is preserved in the codex Jordalszky at Grau. This codex was written in 1519, and contains Exodus 6-Judges, and all of the New Test. with the exception of the Pauline epistles. The first printed edition of the Pauline epistles, by B. Kornjathy, was published at Cracow in 1533; the gospels, by Gabriel Pannoilius Pesthinus, at Vienna in 1536; the complete New Test., by John Sylvester, was published in 1541; another in 1574. A translation of the entire Bible, from the original, which the Jesuit Stephen Szanto (Latin Arator) prepared towards the end of the 16th century, was never printed, whereas the translation from the Vulgate, made by the Jesuit George Kaldi
(Szent Biblia, az egesz Keresz-tyensegben bevott regi deak betubol, Vienna, 1626), is still in use among the Roman Catholics, and was often reprinted (Tyrnam, 1732; Buda, 1783; Erlau, 1862-65; the latter edition revised in accordance with modern orthography; see Danke, De S. Scriptura, Ejusq. Interpret. Comm. Vienna, 1867, page 243 sq.). A revision of Kaldi's New Test. was undertaken by a Reformed pastor in Hungary, in 1869, in behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society. The first Protestant edition of the whole Bible appeared at Visoly, near Guns, in 1589. This is the present authorized version of Hungary. The translation was made from the originals, compared with the Vulgate and several other Latin versions, by Gaspard Caroli, or Karoli, a Magyar by birth, pastor of the Church at Guns, and dean of the Brethren of the Valley of Kaschau. He had studied at Wittenberg, where he' had imbibed the principles of the Reformation. The printing was done at Visoly, where a printing-office was established for that purpose by count Stephen Bathory. The sheets, as they passed through the press, were corrected by Albert Molnar, subsequently regent of the college at Oppenheim. He afterwards subjected the whole to a careful revision, and published an improved edition at Hanau in 1608. under the title, Biblia, az-az: Istennek O es Ujj Testamentomaban foglaltatott egesz Szent iras, Magyar nyelore fordittatott Karoly Gaspar altal. Molnar subsequently published other editions of the Bible, and separate editions of the New Test. The edition of 1608 is the more interesting, since it is accompanied with a Magyar translation of the Heidelberg catechism, the liturgy of the Hungarian churches, and a metrical version of the Psalms.
When the different editions were exhausted, another revision of the Hungarian Bible was undertaken by count Stephen Bethlen D'Iktar, brother to prince Gabriel Bethlen. He assembled a number of learned men to prepare the work, and established a printing-press at Warasdin. In 1657 the revision was completed, and printing was commenced; but in 1660, when the city of Warasdin was taken by the Turks, almost half of the copies were lost or destroyed. The remaining copies were saved, and taken to Clauldiopolis, or Koloswar, in Transylvania, where the edition was completed in 1661. Another edition (the sixth) of the Bible was published at Amsterdam in 1684-85, by N.K.M. Totfalusi, by whom a separate edition of the New Test. and Psalms was printed during the same year. The seventh edition of the Bible was published at Cassel in 1704, edited by John Ingebrand. In 1730 an edition was published at Utrecht, Szent Biblic,
az-az: Istennek O es Ujj Testamentonmaban foglaltatott egesz Szent iras, Magyar nyelore fordittatott Karoli Gaspar, which was followed by others in 1737 and 1794. In Basle also an edition was published in 1751, and at Leipsic in 1776.
Another revision of the Hungarian Bible, which, perhaps, ought rather to be regarded as a new translation, was executed by Dr. Comarin, pastor of Debreczin, but he died before it could be committed to press, and the MS. was sent for publication to the celebrated Vitringa. Perhaps the edition published in Holland in 1716-17 was from this MS. The Jesuits prevented its circulation, and seized and destroyed 3000 copies.
In 1812 a Bible society was formed in Presburg, but with the exception of an edition of the Bible in 1823, no editions of the Hungarian Scriptures appear to have been published by that society. In 1814 Dr. Pinkerton found at Utrecht upwards of 2000 copies of the authorized Hungarian Bible, belonging to the above-mentioned edition of 1794. These copies were purchased by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and transmitted to Presburg for circulation.
When, in 1837, Hungary became accessible to the operations of the Bible Society, the publication of the Scriptures was commenced in Hungary itself, and the total number of Hungarian Bibles and Testaments printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society up to March 31, 1884, was 561,310.
As Caroly's Bible abounds in archaic expressions, some of which sound rude and coarse to modern ears, the British and Foreign Bible Society has of late made arrangements to secure a faithful revision. A small number of a revised New Test. was published in 1876 with the intention of eliciting the criticisms of Hungarian scholars, with a view to the settlement of the text. As the text has been fixed, the British and Foreign Bible Society published, in 1883, an edition of 10,000 New Tests. as revised by bishop Filo. See Bible of Every Land, page 325. (B.P.)