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Fihirana

Date: 1875
Dimensions:
Overall: 117 x 77 x 9 mm, 0.06 kg
Medium: Paper, hard board cover, leather
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Hymnal
Object No: 00044256

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    Description
    This small pocket-sized leather hymnal in the French Madagascan or French Tahitian language was printed by the Religious Tract Society, a publishing company specialising in Evangelical Christian texts. One of the first major tasks for a missionary society attempting to spread Christianity to the peoples of the Indian and Pacific Oceans was to translate the King James Bible and other religious tracts such as hymnals and prayer books into the local language.
    SignificanceThis hymnal was printed on presses in the islands of the Pacific and represents missionary efforts during the 19th century.
    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, by the missionaries and their helpers.

    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).
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Fihirana

    Primary title: Fihirana

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