Samoan Version

Samoan Version.

The Samoan belongs to the Polynesian or Malayan languages, and is spoken in Samoa, or Navigator's Islands. The translation of the Scriptures into that language appears to have been undertaken, in the first place, by the Rev. John Williams, assisted by other missionaries of the London Missionary Society, who, after the death of Williams, continued and completed it. In 1842 the Gospel of John was published, followed, in 1845, by the Gospel of Luke, translated by Macdonald, and the Epistle to the Romans, translated by Heath. In 1846, the entire New Test., including a revised translation of the Gospel of Matthew, was completed at press. In 1848, the missionaries sent a revised copy of the New Test. to London, and an edition of 15,000 copies was printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society. In the year 1855, the translation of the Old Test. was completed and printed; and as to the particulars concerning this great work, we will quote the words of the Report (1856, p. 164):

"Previous to the completion of the New Test. some progress had been made in the translation of the Old; and, in 1848, an edition of 10,000 copies of the book of Psalms was put through the press, bound, and circulated.

"In 1849, editions of 10,000 each of the books of Genesis and Exodus were printed; and in 1850 Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were also printed, in editions of 7000 copies each. The Pentateuch was then bound in one volume.

"In 1853, editions of 5000 each of the books from Joshua to 2 Samuel inclusive were printed, and in 1854 the remaining historical books; and the whole were bound up in one volume, forming the second volume of the historical books.

"In the same year, editions of 3500 each of the books of Solomon, the Lamentations, and the minor prophets were put through the press; and in March of the present year Ezekiel and Daniel were in circulation, Isaiah in the press, and Job ready for it. The only remaining book to be revised was Jeremiah; so that before this time the whole of the Old and New Tests. will have been completed and printed. The book of Job, with those of Solomon and the Prophets, will, besides the book of Psalms, form the third volume of the Old Test.

"The plan adopted in translation has been to assign to individuals separate books or portions for most careful translation. These portions have been further submitted to the criticisms of the other members of our Mission, and finally revised for the press by a committee of not less than five, including the translators, and then printed in every respect according to the decision of the committee.

" In the Old Test., our translations have been made from the Hebrew text sent out to us by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and executed agreeably to the rules of the Society. Our English Authorized Version has been constantly before us, and adhered to as nearly as possible. Constant reference has been made to the Septuagint and Vulgate, and the best use made of the various Polynesian translations. With regard to the lexicography, criticism, and renderings of the sacred text, we have availed ourselves of the labors of Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Lee, Ainsworth, Blayney, Henderson, Lowth, Dathe, Patrick, Good, etc.

"These translations and revisions have cost the members of our Mission many years of patient thought and labor; and it is a cause of great and most devout thankfulness to God that some of us who commenced the work on the Samoan group, and have from the beginning taken a part in the translating of the Sacred Word into its language, have lived to be engaged in it to its completion. To the great Head of the Church, who has enabled us to put this invaluable boon into the hands of the Samoan people, be all the praise." Since that time new revised editions have been published. The last edition of the entire Bible left the press at London in 1873, under the editorship of the Rev. Dr. Turner. (B.P.)

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