Bible translation

The visit of Dr. Claudius Buchanan, who was the vice-principal and chaplain of Fort William College, Calcutta in 1806, was the beginning of a golden chapter in the history of the Christian community. On reaching Kandanad, he held discussions with the Bishop there and sought his opinion on translating the Bible to Malayalam and also on opening regional schools.  With the permission of the Bishop, Buchanan apprised the British Resident Col. Macaulay of the details of his interaction with the Bishop and they together visited the northern parts of Travancore and Kochi.  A copy of the Bible written on parchment in Syriac was presented to Buchanan by Mar Dionysius, who was the sixth Mar Thoma at Angamaly. This was printed by the Bible Society and its copies were distributed in the churches in Malabar (Logan, William, Malabar Manual).  The copy presented to Buchanan is now kept at the Cambridge Library.

Malayalam translations of the Bible:

CMS Press, Kottayam established in 1821

The Bible contains the Old Testament and the New Testament. A collection of the works existing in Israel before the arrival of Christ constitutes the Old Testament. The collection of holy books that originated after the arrival of Christ and written by the Apostles and his other disciples is known as the New Testament. From time immemorial, all such works were translated into different languages. Buchanan, who took up the translation initiative, translated New Testament from Syriac to Malayalam under the tutelage of Philipose Ramban, a native of Kayamkulam, with the help of Pulikkottil Thomas Ramban and Thimmappa Pillai. This was printed at Koriyar Press in Bombay in 1811. This is the first Bible in Malayalam and it was distributed in churches in 1815. Benjamin Bailey released the New Testament from Kottayam in 1829. Bailey was a CMS missionary who reached Kerala in 1816. Bailey, who learnt Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Syriac, set up the CMS Press at Kottayam in 1821. Both the Malayalam-English Dictionary and the English-Malayalam Dictionary were published in 1846, and were printed at the CMS Press.

Old Printing Machine displayed at CMS Press, Kottayam

The printing of the comprehensive Bible was completed in 1841. The Bible translation of Archdeacon Koshy was published in 1910 under the title Sathya Veda Pusthakam. The Bible Society is now publishing its new versions.  Basel Mission published the Bible translation of Herman Gundert in 1872. The Manjummal translation is the first Catholic version of the Bible in Malayalam. This is the direct translation from Latin. The four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles were translated by the inmates of the Manjummal Ashram, Fr. Aloysius, Fr. Michael and Fr. Polycarp. The Pancha Granthy came out from Mannanam under the leadership of Nidhirikkal Mani Kathanar in 1924.  The New Testament was published in full in 1940.  Mon. Thomas Muthedan published the complete Bible of Catholics in 1963.  Mahakavi K. V. Simon published "Genesis", a book of the Old Testament under the title Veda Vicharam in verse in 1931. The POC translation published at the behest of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council is the recognized modern version.