Malagasi Version of the Scriptures

Malagasi Version Of The Scriptures Malagasi is the language spoken on the island of Madagascar (q.v.). The gospel was not proclaimed to the people of this isle till 1818, when the Reverend Messrs. Jones and Beaven were sent to labor among them by the Church Missionary Society. The translation of the Bible occupied the greater part of the time of the missionaries during eleven years. The New Test. was completed in 1825, and, after having been revised twice, was printed in 1830. Parts of the Old Test. was printed in 1832 and 1835, and about the latter year the whole of the Old Test. was printed at Madagascar. The persecution, well known in history, commenced about this time, and lasted till 1851. The Reverend Messrs. Freeman and Jones (formerly missionaries in Madagascar) had, in anticipation of the day when they might be enabled to resume their labors, employed themselves since their return to England in the complete revision of the Malagasi Scriptures. This revision has been accomplished, and, in the immediate prospect of the island becoming again open to the efforts of the Christian ministry, the British and Foreign Bible Society determined to print an edition of five thousand copies of the Malagasi Bible from the revised MS. This work was accordingly commenced, under the editorial care of the Reverend Mr. Griffiths (formerly a missionary on the island), with the aid of the Reverend T.W. Meller; but, after advancing as far as the completion of the New Test., with the Old Test. as far as the 10th chapter of Judges, it had been deemed advisable to suspend further progress. The revision of the text had advanced as far as the end of Job. The work given up in 1858 was again resumed, and the completion of the unfinished parts of the Old Test., left by the late Reverend Mr. Griffiths, together with a profusion of MS. corrections, very difficult to decipher, was happily brought to an end in 1864, through the able assistance of Mr. Sauerwein and the editorial superintendent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. A revised edition of the Malagasi New Test., with marginal references, was printed at London in 1869, under the care of the Reverend R.G. Hartley, of the London Missionary Society, while the Old Test., under the editorship of the Reverend R. Toy, was published in 1871. For a long time the need of a thorough revision of the entire Bible in the Malagasi had been felt. From the report for 1873 we learn that a joint board, representing all the missions on the island, has been formed for the purpose of securing, as far as possible, a thoroughly accurate and idiomatic standard version of the Bible in the Malagasi tongue. This board has ever since been at work, and from the report for 1885 we learn that the preliminary revision of the Bible was completed September 15, 1884. See Bible of Every Land, page 386. For linguistic purposes, see Parker, A Concise Grammar of the Malagasy Language (London, 1883). (B.P.)

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