The Manchu New Testament was published in brief portions from 1822 and as a complete book from 1835 and again in Shanghai in 1929. Two copies of this work are kept in the Library of Congress (B-a18, B-a19) as well as six copies of the 1835 edition (B-a12 to B-a17).
As to the author, this is the translation by Липовцов Степан Васильевич [Stepan Vaciliyevich Lipovtsov] (1770-1841) who learned Manchu after journeying to Beijing in 1794 as a member of the eighth Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. He was commissioned by the London based British and Foreign Bible Society to produce a translation of the New Testament in Manchu and it was his translation that was published from 1822 onwards, first as serials and then (when the work was finished) as a complete New Testament. A Jesuit scholar named P. Louis de Poirot translated the Old Testament into Manchu around the same time but it was never published (however, a copy of this work is still kept at the library of the British and Foreign Bible Society in London).
The English translation and much of the information provided is courtesy of Emyr R. E. Pugh of Lingua Mongolia, coming mostly from the following sources:
musei ejen Isus Heristos-i
tutabuha ice hese.
The New Testament of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
A pdf scan of the original Manchu copy of the Holy Gospel according to St Mark [enduringge evanggelium Marha-i ulaha songqui] located at the state library in Irkustk diocese has been contributed by Fr Dionisy Pozdnyaev and converted into jpeg format.
The pdf also does not contain any publication date. Most Manchu, Mongolian and Chinese works place the date of publication on the very last pages before the end cover. The page numbers run sequentially from 1 to 39, but numbered in the Manchu style where a page is taken to mean two open pages thus every page has a left and a right leaf. The manuscript is textually complete as the last word on the last page (39/80) is 'ameng', but a small tear appears at the bottom-right of p.39/80 which suggests that the back cover is missing. This may be an original 1822 serial or a later offprint of one gospel from the complete NT that appeared in 1835.
A two volume copy of the New Testament in Manchu is held at the State Library of New South Wales, Australia under call numbers G 7 V22 v.1 and G 7 V23 v.2. This copy was published on or before 1869 (as it bears the NSW Public Library 1869 stamp throughout the NT).
Digital photo reproduction of the above copy has been graciously undertaken and is copyrighted by Dr Kenny Wang, PhD, BA, Lecturer in Linguistics and Translation Studies at the University of Western Sydney. Volumes one and two in PDF and in jpeg format are freely distributable provided the images are not altered in anyway and that the complete NT, not just sections/parts of it are intact, and the photoreproduction copyright is acknowledged.
Another copy of the NT in Manchu is housed in Dalian Library. According to the journal article "Studies of the New Testament in Manchu Stored in Dalian Library" by XUE Lian (in Chinese 大连图书馆馆藏满文《新约全书》考略), that copy was reprinted at a later year from the 1920s, but it seems that
other than the reprint date, everything else is the same, including the breakdown
into 8 parts, as the copy from the NSW State Library mentioned above.
Xibe, a mutually intelligible dialect of the Manchu language, is still used in Xinjiang province of China by the Sibe minority group. It has been reported that an elderly lady
from Xinjiang who couldn't read Chinese but was taught from her youth to read and write the Manchu language has already benefited with a photocopy of this Bible translation.
Volunteers are needed to transcribe or OCR the images into electronic text or Manchu script font which allows it to be searchable. If you are interested in helping with this initiative, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
with prayers for the health of
Cyprian and Andreea as they grow in Christ together