Julia E. Smith: First Woman to Translate the Bible Into English

If you said the name Julia E. Smith today, few would know of her historic contributions both as an abolitionist and the first woman to translate the Bible into English. From 1845 to 1860, Julia E. Smith translated the Old and New Testaments five times from the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin into English. She did not initially intend to publish her work, so it was twenty-two years before the translation was finally published in 1876 in Hartford, Connecticut.

She'd learned Latin and Greek in school, but it was a friend and scholar, Samuel Jarvis, who urged her to study Hebrew. She wrote, "I cannot express how greatly I enjoy the work of translating, and how the real meaning of different texts would thrill through my mind." Seeing Julia E. Smith's Bible is but one of a thousand ways to engage with the Bible at Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.

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