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.

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