Javanese Version of the Scriptures

Javanese Version Of The Scriptures The language spoken on the island of Java is, next to Malayan, which is distinct from it, the most polished and most cultivated of Polynesian dialects. Since A.D. 1400, when the Javanese embraced Mohammedanism, many Arabic words have been adopted, by which the native deficiency of the dialect in abstract terms has been in some measure supplied. There are two principal styles of language, called boso kromo and boso ngoko. The bosos kromo is the higher style, used in addressing persons of superior rank, etc.; and the boso ngoko is the lower style, used-in addressing persons of lower rank; it is also found sometimes in older writings, and in narratives, etc.

The preparation of a Javanese version was first suggested by Dr. Wm. Hunter, of Calcutta, in 1812. When the Java Bible Society was formed in 1814, the translation was one of the first things considered, but the language was found very difficult of acquirement to Europeans. At length the Reverend Gottlob Bruckner, a native of Germany, stationed as minister of the Dutch Church at Samarang, undertook the difficult task. In 1820 he commenced the translation of the New Test., which was printed in 1831 at Serampore. The translation of the Old Test. was undertaken by the Rev. Mr. Gericke, a missionary of the Netherlands Society. In 1831 he completed a version of the Psalms, which he sent to Holland, to the Netherlands Society, for publication.

Mr. Gericke also made a fresh translation of the New Test., on the basis of the preceding. The printing was conducted at the Hague, under the eyes of the translator, Professor Roorda assisting him in the correction of the proof-sheets. The revised New Test; was issued in 1848, and in 1857 the Old Test. was also published, under the auspices of the Netherlands Society. Of late, however, the British and Foreign Bible Society has undertaken to publish a revised edition, at the request of the Reverend P. Jansz of Djapara, supported by Mr.Haffenden, the society's agent in Singapore. "The people of Java," the report of the British and Foreign Bible Society for 1883 states, "are said to number 19,000,000. Of these 8,000,000 are Javanese, 8,000,000 Sundanese, and 3,000,000 Malays. From many sources the committee learn that the existing version of the Bible is full of errors, some of which give a false meaning to the passages in which they occur, and that for practical purposes it is almost worthless. Mr. Haffenden has returned from a journey in Java, where he found the want of an intelligible version of the Scriptures." This induced the British and Foreign Bible Society to authorize the Reverend Jansz, who. for over thirty years has been a missionary in Java of the Baptist Society for the, Propagation of the Gospel in the Netherland Colonies, and who, besides, is the author of a Javanese Grammar and Dictionary which have reached a third edition, and of several religious books in the Javanese Tongue, to prepare a new version. In this work of retranslation, Mr. Jansz has the aid of two educated native Christians. In its revised form the gospel of Luke was printed at Singapore in 1884. See, Bible of Every Land, page 369. (B.P.)

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