Hovhanes Ghazarian: A Linguistic Pioneer in the East

In the annals of linguistic history, the name Hovhanes Ghazarian, also known as John Lazarus, shines as a beacon of scholarly achievement in the 18th century. As a teacher of the Chinese language, Ghazarian’s contributions to literature and translation were groundbreaking. His most notable accomplishment was the translation of the Gospel of Matthew into Chinese, marking him as the first to bring this significant Christian text to Chinese readers.

The Anglo-Hindu College of Fort William in Calcutta, an institution with a profound mission to translate the Bible into Asian languages, became the crucible for Ghazarian’s historic work. This college, founded in 1800 by Lord Wellesley, then Governor-General of British India, was a center of oriental studies and a hub for the intellectual exchange between the East and the West.

Born and educated in the culturally rich environment of Macau, China, Ghazarian was well-positioned to undertake such a monumental task. His translation project culminated in 1807, setting a precedent for future translations and opening a gateway for cultural and religious exchange.

Ghazarian’s work was not just a translation; it was a bridge connecting disparate worlds. Through his efforts, the Gospel of Matthew was not only made accessible to Chinese speakers but also became a symbol of the synthesis of Eastern and Western scholarly traditions. His legacy is a testament to the power of language as a tool for unity and understanding across cultures.

Learn more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *