Persian Version of the Scriptures
Persian Version Of The Scriptures By way of supplement we add the following: "As the style in which the gospels of the Polyglots is written has long been antiquated at Ispahan, several efforts were made during the present century to produce a version in the polished dialect now spoken by the Persians. A translation of the gospels was made under the superintendence of colonel Colebrooke, and printed at Calcutta in 1804. In 1812 the Reverend L. Sebastiani had advanced nearly to the end of the Epistles, in a translation of the New Test. from the Greek, and during the same year the gospels of this version were printed at Serampore. In the meantime another translation of the New Test. was progressing at Dinapore, under the superintendence of Henry Martyn. The translators were Sabat and Murza Firut. This version was completed in 1808, but it was so replete with Arabic and abstruse terms, intelligible only to the learned, that the Reverend H. Martyn determined upon visiting Persia in person for the sake of obtaining a clear and idiomatic version. In 1811 he reached Shiraz, the seat of Persian literature, and remained there nearly a year, in the meantime executing from the original Greek a translation of the New Test. The state of his health compelled him to return to England, but he expired during his journey homeward, at Tlokat, Asia Minor, in 1812. Copies of the work were deposited with Sir Gore Ouseley, the English ambassador in Persia, who, on returning to England by way of St. Petersburg, met with prince Galitzin, then at the head of the Russian Bible Society. The suggestion made to the prince to have an edition of Martyn's Test. printed was complied with, and in less than six months the impression was completed.
In 1813 a communication was received by the corresponding committee at Calcutta from Meer Seid All, the learned native employed by Mr. Martyn, at Shiraz, in which he informed the committee that the manuscript of the Persian New Test. and of the Psalms (which had likewise been translated at Shiraz) was in his possession, and he waited their orders as to its disposal. He was directed to take four copies of the manuscript, and forward, the same to Calcutta, while he was invited himself for the purpose of superintending the publication. The Psalter and the New Test. passed through the press at Calcutta in 1816. The Psalter was reprinted at London, under the superintendence of Dr. Lee, in 1824, and the New Test., edited by the same scholar, in 1827. Other editions followed in 1837 and 1847.
Of all the editions of the Persian New Test., the most incorrect seems to have been that printed at St. Petersburg in 1815, and, at the request of the missionaries, the issue was stopped by the Russian Bible Society. The Reverend W. Glen, of the Scottish mission at Astrakhan, was in consequence led to undertake a version of the Psalms in Persian, for the benefit of the numerous individuals speaking that language who resort to Astrakhan and the south of Russia. In 1826 the British and Foreign Bible Society made arrangements with the Scottish Missionary Society for the services of Mr. Glen in making a translation of the poetical and prophetical books of the Old Test. In the meantime Mirza Jaffier had been engaged by the same society to produce a translation of the historical books of the Old Test. at St. Petersburg, under the eye of Dr. Pinkerton, and according to specific directions given by Dr. Lee. The only portion of Mirza Jaffier's version which was published is the book of Genesis, printed at London in 1827, under the care of Dr. Lee. Mr. Glen's version of the Psalms and Proverbs was published at London in 183031, and again in 1836. The entire Old Test., translated by Mr. Glen left the press in 1847.
In 1824, the Reverend T. Robinson had commenced another translation of the Old Test., which was printed in 1838. A Persian version of the prophecy of Isaiah was purchased by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1833. This version has been executed by Murza Ibrahim, of the East India College at Haileybury, and was published in 1834.
Since 1872 a revision of St. Martyn's New Test. has been undertaken by the Reverend R. Bruce, of the Church Missionary Society, stationed at Julfa, near Ispahan, which was completed in 1877, The same translator also commenced the revision of the Old Test. From the report of the British. and Foreign Bible Society for 1879, we learn that Mr. Bruce and the Reverends J. Bassett and J.L. Potter, of the American Presbyterian Mission, have formed themselves into a committee for the revision of the Persian Scriptures. The different books of the Old Test. were distributed among the different revisers, and each will carefully examine the work of the others. The revised New Test., too, was to be subjected to a joint revision. From the report for the year 1882, we learn that the latter, after having been thoroughly revised by the translator and professor Palmer of Cambridge, was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society. As for the Old Test., the work of revision is progressing slowly. (B.P.)