Raratongan Version

Raratongan Version Raratonga, the largest and most important of the Harvey Islands, between 500 and 600 miles west of Tahiti, and discovered bv the Rev. John Williams, of the London Missionary Society, in 1823, is inhabited by about 3500 inhabitants. The language of Raratonga is spoken throughout the other six islands of the Harvey group: and although it has a close affinity to the Tahitian and Marquesan idioms, yet a distinct version of the Scriptures was found necessary. The Raratongan version mainly devolved on the Rev. John Williams, and in 1830 the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Galatians were printed. In 1836 an edition of 5000 copies of the New Testament was published in London by the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1842 a second edition of 5000 copies was printed, and in 1851 the entire Scriptures were published by the same society, having availed itself of the Raratongan version prepared by Mr. Buzacott, a missionary at Raratonga. Of the first edition 5000 copies were printed, but in 1854 a subsequent edition of 5000 copies was rendered necessary, which is still in course of circulation. The good effects of reading this version, and the change thereby produced in the state and character of the natives of Raratonga, have been thus described by the martyred Williams: "In 1823 I found them all heathens; in 1834 they were all professing Christians. At the former period I found them with idols and maraes; these, in 1834, were destroyed. I found them without a written language, and left them reading in their own tongue the wonderful works of God." See The Bible of Every Land, p. 378 sq. (B. P.)

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