Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Bible No Living Person Can Read

(taken from "Strange Facts About the Bible" by Webb Garrison)

John Eliot is famous as the translator who issued a Bible no living person can read. Working with tribesmen who spoke a Massachusetts dialect of the Algonquian Indian tongue, he published a New Testament for them in 1661. Several natives, among who Cockenoe the interpreter was most important, assisted in the work.

Approximately fifty copies of Eliot's Bible have been preserved, but no one can read it because the tribesmen who spoke the language it employs have become extinct. A few words have been identified by scholars, however. Eliot rendered the phrase "kneeling down to him" (Mark 1:40) by a thirty-four letter word;

Though that word didn't survive, at least one of Eliot's is still in use. For the title "duke" that appears in Gen. 36:40-43, he substituted the native title "mugwump". Used as a slogan in several famous political campaigns, it is still included in the English dictionary as a label for a chieftain or person of importance.

In 1966 one copy of his Bible sold at auction for $43,000 - more money than the missionary-translator made in his entire life.

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