Professor Hovhannes Ghazarian was the first to translate the Bible into Chinese, in 1822

While there were earlier attempts to translate portions of the Bible into Chinese, such as the work of Jesuit missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries, but precisely Hovhannes Ghazarian is credited with producing the first complete Chinese translation of the Bible.

Hovhannes Ghazarian (also known as Johannes Lassar) was born and educated in Macau and became a member of the Armenian Church. In 1813, he was sent to Malacca (now part of Malaysia) to establish a printing press and to translate the Bible into Chinese.

The translation work took nine years and was completed in 1822. The translation was published in a four-volume set, which included both the Old and New Testaments. The translation was well received and is considered a significant achievement in the history of Chinese Christianity.

In addition to his translation work, Ghazarian also established the first Armenian Church in Singapore in 1833, where he served as a priest until he died in 1856.

The Story of Professor Hovhannes Ghazarian: The First Translator of the Bible into Chinese

Ghazarian’s life was marked by a deep sense of curiosity and a passion for learning. He was fluent in several languages, including Chinese, which he studied intensively during his time in Macau. It was there that he began his work on the translation of the Bible, a task that would take several years to complete.

The process of translation was not an easy one. The Chinese language is vastly different from many of the languages that Ghazarian was familiar with, and he had to grapple with several linguistic challenges along the way. However, his perseverance and dedication paid off, and he was eventually able to produce a translation that was both accurate and readable.

The publication of the Bible in Chinese was a major milestone in the history of Christianity. It opened up new avenues for evangelism and helped to create a sense of solidarity among Chinese Christians. Ghazarian’s translation was widely praised for its quality and helped to establish him as one of the foremost translators of his time.

However, Ghazarian’s legacy extends far beyond the field of translation. He was a true polymath, with interests that ranged from astronomy to medicine. He was also a pioneering figure in the study of Chinese culture, and his writings on the subject were highly influential in the West.
Today, Ghazarian is remembered as a true pioneer in the field of translation.

His work on the Bible helped to break down cultural barriers and paved the way for a greater understanding between different peoples. His legacy continues to inspire translators and scholars around the world, and his contributions to the field of the translation will never be forgotten.

Vigen Avetisyan

Source The illustration that inspired this post is from Mano Chile

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