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Ai Vola Tabu

Date: 1864-1867
Dimensions:
Overall: 223 x 165 x 55 mm, 1.42 g
Medium: Paper, hard board cover, leather, gilt
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Bible
Object No: 00044255

User Terms

    Description
    This London Missionary Society (LMS) bible is printed in the Fijian language and decorated with an embossed leather cover and gilt-edged pages. Formally established in September 1795 the LMS was broadly interdenominational in scope but very much Congregationalist in both outlook and membership. One of their first tasks in propagating the Christian faith in the Indian and Pacific Oceans was to translate the King James Bible and other religious tracts such as hymnals and prayer books into the language of the islands. These bibles were usually printed on small portable printing presses by the missionaries and their helpers.
    SignificanceThis bible is representative of the London Missionary Society's presence in Fiji and the wider Pacific region during the 19th century as they attempted to convert the islanders to Christianity.
    HistoryOne of the first tasks attempted by a missionary preaching the Christian faith in the Indian or Pacific Oceans was to translate the King James Bible and other religious tracts such as hymnals and prayer books into the language of the islands. These texts were subsequently printed on small portable printing presses.

    The translation and printing of these items was an enormous task requiring almost anthropological training in languages and linguistics along with the ability to establish an educational system that could teach reading and writing to a society where literacy was very much a foreign concept. The introduction of written language left the way open for mistranslations of the 'word of god', the Christianisation of the local languages and eventually the decline in local cultural beliefs.

    During the 19th century portable printing presses and missionary printers such as William Ellis were dispatched to the islands of the Pacific at an increasing rate with presses at Eimeo (1816); Mo'orea (1816); Tahiti (1818); Honolulu (1822); Tonga (1831); Rarotonga (1834); Fiji (1839) and Samoa (1839).


    Related People
    Printer: W M Watts

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