Claudius Buchanan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Claudius Buchanan
Claudius Buchanan00.jpg
Born (1766-03-12)March 12, 1766
Cambuslang, Lanarkshire
Died February 9, 1815(1815-02-09) (aged 48)
Broxbourne, Hertfordshire
Nationality Scottish
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Queens' College, Cambridge
Occupation Theologian

Rev Claudius Buchanan DD FRSE (12 March 1766 – 9 February 1815) was a Scottish theologian, an ordained minister of the Church of England, and an evangelical missionary for the Church Missionary Society.[1] He served as Vice Provost of the College of Calcutta in India.

Early life[edit]

Claudius Buchanan was born in Cambuslang near Glasgow. His father, Alexander Buchanan, was the local schoolmaster in Inverary.[2]

He was educated at the University of Glasgow and the Queens' College, Cambridge.[3] He was ordained in 1795 by the Bishop of London.


After holding a chaplaincy in India at Barrackpur (1797–1799), Buchanan was appointed Calcutta chaplain and vice-principal of the college of Fort William. In this capacity he did much to advance Christianity and native education in India, especially by organizing systematic translations of the scriptures.

During a visit to Malabar in 1806, present day South-western state of Kerala, Dr. Buchanan visited Mar Thoma VI, head of the Malankara Church at Angamali, near Kochi. Mar Thoma was very happy to hear Buchanan’s intention of translating the Bible into Malayalam, the local language, and he presented a Syriac Bible said to be of some antiquity to Buchanan.[4] The Bible was subsequently deposited among the Oriental Manuscripts in the public library of the University of Cambridge.

In January 1806, Buchanan was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He died in Broxbourne in Herefordshire in 1815.


Translation of the Bible[edit]

Two of the Syriac scholars, Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban and Pulikottil Ramban of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, assisted by Subbayya Pillay translated the four Gospels from a very old manuscript written in Estrangelo Syriac. Dr. Buchanan took the initiative to take this Malaylam translation of the Bible to Bombay and get it printed.

Books published[edit]

An account of his travels in the south and west of India, which added considerably to our knowledge of nature life, is given in his Christian Researches in Asia (Cambridge, 1811). After his return to the United Kingdom in 1808, he still took an active part in matters connected with India, and by his book entitled Colonial Ecclesiastical Establishment (London, 1813), he assisted in settling the controversy of 1813, which eventually ended in the establishment of an Anglican Indian episcopate in 1878 in the Travancore-Cochin states. This Church known as CMS Church merged with other Churches in South India on 27 September 1947 to form The Church of south India (CSI).


  1. ^ Adrian Fortescue, The Eastern Churches Trilogy, p366
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Buchanan, Claudius (BCNN791C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ Buchanan, Rev. Claudius. Memoir of the Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India Page 76.

Further reading[edit]

  • Buchanan, Rev. Claudius, LL.D. Memoir of the Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for British India. Second Cambridge Edition, 1811.
  • Buchanan, Rev. Claudius. "The Star of The East". 1809.

External links[edit]