Bible translations into Malayalam

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Translations of the Bible into Malayalam began from 1829, and have been to some extent influential on the development of the modern language.[1]


The first attempt at publishing a Malayalam grammar made by surgeon Robert Drummond about 1749 for the East India Company.[2] The Malayalam New Testament was first published in 1829. The first complete Malayalam Bible was printed by Benjamin Bailey, the Anglican missionary, in 1841. Hermann Gundert updated Bailey's version and produced the first Malayalam-English dictionary (1872).[3][4][5] Other sources record that a Phillipose Rampan (c. 1780-1850) also translated parts of the Bible into Malayalam.[6]

Modern versions[edit]

The Bible Society of India Kerala Auxiliary (established 1956) has made minor revisions to the Malayalam Old Version. A new Malayalam Common Language Bible project is ongoing.

The International Bible Society, currently known as IBS-STL had translated and published the NIBV (New India Bible Version) in Malayalam which was released in 1997, distributed by Growthinc India Publishing Pvt.Ltd., a subsidiary of then International Bible Society and had good demand from many scholars, pastors, students and even the traditional Christians, because of its easy readability and narrative style.

The Complete Malayalam Bible in Unicode was published online on 14 August 2004. By Nishad H. Kaippally.

The newest Complete Malayalam version Vishudha Sathyavedapusthakam was released on 2000 by Bro. Dr. Mathews Vergis[citation needed]. An interactive CD of Vishudha Sathyavedapusthakam was also produced by Bro. Dr. Mathews Vergis, and this is the first of its kind in any Asian language[citation needed].

In 2009, the New Testament of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was released in Malayalam by Jehovah's Witnesses.[7]

Usage of different versions in churches[edit]

Today nearly all churches in Kerala use Bibles in Malayalam; they differ in which version they were translated from and therefore which books they include.

Prior to the 16th century, the Saint Thomas Christians would have used the Church of the East's version of the Peshitta, which is slightly different from the modern Syriac Orthodox Bible. Today the different Saint Thomas Christian churches use different Bibles depending on their affiliation. Except for Protestants, all Christians use the "deuterocanonicals", though they vary on which ones they include.

Among the Saint Thomas Christians, the Catholic churches (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and Syro-Malankara Catholic Church) use local versions derived from the standard Catholic Bible.

The Peshitta (Syriac Bible) translations by Nidhirikkal Mani Kathanar and Fr. Mathew Uppani (Kottayam, 1997) are also popular in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The Syrian Orthodox-affiliated/influenced Churches use versions derived from the Peshitta.

Anglicans, Evangelicals and Pentecostals use the Bible Society of India version.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: devraj to jyoti Amaresh Datta, Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi, Inde) - 1988- Page 1660 "The first Malayalam edition of the Bible was published in 1811 [typo 1841], and its first translation was done by Benjamin Bailey in 1829. Modern Malayalam has been to some extent influenced by the Bible. During the latter part of the 19th century, Kerala, ..."
  2. ^ A progressive grammar of the Malayalam language L. Johannes Frohnmeyer - 1989 "It is for the Malayalam Bible, good school books, newspapers, and periodicals to prepare the way for a ... 4) and a first attempt at publishing a Malayalam grammar made by Surgeon Drummond about 1749 "
  3. ^ Dr. Hermann Gundert and Malayalam language Albrecht Frenz, Skar̲iyā Sakkar̲iya - 1993 "5.4.2 Looking back at various early translations of the Bible in Malayalam one may not hesitate to acknowledge the great literary quality of Gundert's translation. He has rendered Hebrew poetry giving consideration to the rhythm of ..."
  4. ^ Maritime Malabar and the Europeans, 1500-1962 K. S. Mathew, Université de Lyon II. Institut de recherche et d'intervention en sciences humaines - 2003 "On 18 September 1840, Gundert sent the German translation of his first Malayalam Bible tract, Genesis 1-11, to Basle, but for a long time did not get a sanctioning reply from there for printing it. Luckily Gundert had it printed and ..."
  5. ^ The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj To Jyoti): Volume 2 - Page 1660 Amaresh Datta - 2006 "Later, others like Robert Drummond and H. Gundert followed the trend. Gundert's Malayalam bhasha vyakaranam (1851) ... The first Malayalam edition of the Bible was published in 1811,[typo 1841?] and its first translation was done by Benjamin Bailey ..."
  6. ^ History of Malayalam literature R. Leela Devi - 1977 ... who accompanied Kariattil to Rome wrote the first prose travelogue Varthamana Pusthakam, in malayalam. His kristhyanukaranam is a translation of Imitation of Christ. Phillipose Rampan (1780 - 1850) translated Bible into Malayalam.
  7. ^ "WatchTower publications", Watchtower publications Index(1986-2011)

External links[edit]

Online Bibles

Bible Societies