Mamusse Wunneetupanatamwe Up-Biblum God (The "Eliot Indian Bible")
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- Witness to America's Past
- MHS Collecting History
The Reverend John Eliot (1604-1690), also known as the "Apostle to the Indians," emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 and settled in Roxbury. In 1646 he began preaching to Native Americans in their own language, first locally and in 1651 at Natick, the first permanent "Praying Indian" settlement.
While Eliot believed that all the indigenous population should be settled in permanent villages on the model of Natick and encouraged to adopt European ways, he thought that they should hear and read scripture in their own language and be served by Native American ministers. To accomplish this goal he embarked on an ambitious publishing plan; first by publishing a basic primer and Bible extracts in the Massachuset language spoken by Native Americans in eastern New England, and later a much larger project to translate and publish the entire Bible in Massachuset. The New Testament was printed separately in 1661, and the combined Old and New Testament published in 1663.
The actual translation presented many problems as Eliot's knowledge of Massachuset was imperfect, and there were grammatical problems that could only be resolved by resorting to English words when there were no equivalent Massachuset terms.
A complete copy of the bible is available on Internet Archive via the John Carter Brown Library.