The First Bible Printed in America

Among the many Bibles on display at Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, is a first edition of the so-called "Eliot Indian Bible." It’s the first Bible printed in America and in a Native American language! John Eliot, a Cambridge scholar and Christian missionary, was a gifted translator and linguist.

With the assistance of several native speakers, he learned the Wôpanâak dialect of the tribes of colonial New England. His New Testament translation was printed in 1661. Two years later he completed the Old Testament in Wôpanâak. His translations documented a language that didn’t exist in written form before his translation, and decades before other English and European language translations of the Bible would be printed in America.

Share

More Book Minute Features

March 30, 2020

Nebuchadnezzar’s Inscription

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned several times in the Bible including his dramatic story of repentance in the Book of Daniel, Chapter...
March 16, 2020

Miserere mei Deus - Psalm 51

Miserere mei Deus (“Have mercy on me, O God”) by Gregorio Allegri, using the words from Psalm 51, is one of the most beautiful compositions ever writt...
March 09, 2020

Walt Whitman and the Bible in Poetry

Walt Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most significant 19th-century poets. Whitman references the Bible in several of his works. Evident in an...