By Godfrey Gonsalves
Panaji June 5: At the stroke of 1200 noon on 4th June, 2006 the Feast of the Holy Spirit, for Goa and Goans it turned out to be a red letter day, in the anals of its history, when the first "POVITR PUSTOK- ADLO ani NOVO KORAR" -- in our mother tongue KONKANI (written in Roman script) was released at the hands of His Grace Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao in the presence of Bishop Emeritius Most Rev Raul Gonsalves and two other Bishops who are presently in Goa, Most Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes, s.j. Bishop of Gandhinagar (a native from S. Matias Divar ) and Rev Gerald John Mathew of Chattisgarh (a native of Mangalore) at the St Catherina Church - Se Cathedral following a Eucharist Mass with the participation of over 45 priests from the Diocese.
Releasing the hard bound "Povitr Pustok" the Archbishop expressed a fervent desire to the gathering of over 800 people partaking in the event to ensure that "this Holy Bible now available in our mother tongue becomes a valuable possession in our Homes".
But the devotees were deeply saddened to learn after the Holy Eucharist ended when the announcement was made that niether would the just released "Povitr Pustok" copies be made available for sale today -- (ironically the date of "release" )-- nor in the next couple of days.
The reasons adduced was that a hard bound cover print orders were difficult to obtain in such large numbers and a first offer order of 40,000 books needs to be honoured. Appeals were made for lavish donations for this enormous project.
At today's meet only a few "complimentary copies" were distributed at the hands of the Archbishop to those from the Biblical committee headed by Fr Manuel Gomes and others. As a symbolic gesture to ensure the spread of the "Povitr Pustok" to the entire state lay persons representing the Central, North, and South Episcopal Centres were given a copy of the "Povitr Pustok".
According to Fr.Loila Pereira Secretary to the Archbishop who spoke briefly to this writer it was made known that the books costing Rs 300/- would be made available for sale at the Pastoral Institute Office at Old Goa Tiswadi Ilhas Goa India +91 0832 2285347.
Meanwhile Rev Father Manuel Gomes announced that donations were still pouring in and that the balance amount after covering the costs of the Konkani (Roman script ) would be used for publishing the same in Devanagari script -- this drew the ire of many of those present as observed from their body language and facial expressions.
Earlier on a bright sunny morning spared of the onset of the monsoon showers that lashed the State three days ago the St Lourenco, Agacaim , Choral Group led by Rev Fr Andrew Mascarenhas presented a beautiful rendition of hymns befitting the solemn ocassion. The devotees clapped in appreciation of those that constituted the Biblical committee for the task they performed when momentos were being handed to them.
The "Povitr Pustok" is a handy book with a cover depicting symbols of the Pascal candle, the empty sephulcre, the ten commandments, the Red Sea.
At the end of the function which lasted well over two and half hours snacks and refreshments were distributed at the entrance to all the participants. Several nuns and priests attended the ocassion.
Some of the Konkani writers Mr Jess Fernandes and others were also presented a copy of the same. Mr Tomazinho Cardozo, Mr Octavio Rodrigues amongst those present.
It is feared if the Archdiocese is unable to meet the demand of copies it may not be surprised that book piracy may be resorted to given the over 29.68& Catholics in the State alone wanting to keep this at least as a collectors copy or a symbolic possession of the one's Christian faith.
Bible and Konknni By Pratap Naik, S.J.
How did we get the Bible?
The English word "Bible" is derived from the Old French word "Bible", which is in turn based on Latin and Greek "Biblia" means "books". The Bible is a book of revelation, revealing the great plan of God for humankind. It is a book of communication from God to man. God inspired many people over a period of time, from different places, revealed His purpose and plan for humankind. Thus the Bible in its written form is a sum total of oral traditions of faith communities spanning
a period of about 1500 years. The "authors" were inspired by God to write with the result that in spite of diversity of writers there is oneness and a systematic unfolding of God's plan of salvation for humankind.
The Jewish and Christian Bibles are actually collections of what were originally a number of independent books. The overwhelming majority of Christians refer to the Bible as the combination of Hebrew scriptures, known to Christians as the Old testament or First Testament, and the New Testament, which describes the life and message of Jesus. For some (primarilyRoman Catholics), the Apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books - various writings important in the Second-Temple period of Judaism - are also considered to be part of the Bible. For Jews, the term refers only to the Hebrew Bible, also called the Torah. Both Christians and Jews regard the Bible as the revealed word of God, with widespread variation on its accuracy, interpretation and legitimacy.
In traditional Judaism and Christianity, the Bible has been more than a historical document to be preserved or a classic of literature to be cherished and admired; it is recoginzed as the unique record of god's dealings with people over the ages.
The Bible is divided into two sections, one is called the Old Testament, and the other is called the New Testament. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew language and the New Testament in Greek language. A few sections of the Old Testament and a few words in the New Testament are written in Aramaic language.
A number of deuterocanonical books which are part of the Greek Septuagint but are not found in the Hebrew Bible are often referred to as the Apocrypha. Most modern Protestant traditions do not accept the Apocrypha as canonical, although Protestant Bibles included them until around the 1820s. However, most other Christians (including members of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orhtodox Churches) include the Apocrypha as part of the Old Testament. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes seven such books (Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdonm of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus also known as Sirach, and Baruch), as well as some passages in Esther and Daniel. Various Orthodox Churches include a few others, typically 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151. 1 Esdras, Odes, Psalms of solomon, and occasionally 4 Maccabees.
The Catholic edition of the Bible has 72 books. The Old Testament has 45 books and the New Testament has 27 books. The Protestant edition of the Bible does not recognize certain books of the Bible as canonical books. therefore they are found in their Bible version. B. Writing Materials In ancient times, various materials served as writing surfaces. Texts cut in stones were often found popular. Later on, wood and metals were also used as writing surfaces. Over a period of time clay, bone, wood, leather, various metals, potsherds, and parchment were used as writing surface.
Both the Old Testament and New Testament were written on parchment (made from specially treated animal skins) or papyrus (marsh reeds hammered together), which were rolled up for storage. The writing on the scroll was done using reed pens and ink made from carbon, gum and oil.
During the second century A.D. the scroll began to be replaced by "codex", the ancestor of our book with pages. The codex was made of pages folded and fastened together. Sometimes codex had covers like modern books. Codex became popular because it was easy to be carried and also it was easier to find a particular passage as compared to the scroll.
The first translation of the Scriptures was the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek in Alexandria during 3rd century B.C. In the 2nd century A.D. the Bible was translated into Latin and was called Latin Vulgate. In the 5th century A.D. the Bible was translation into Anglo Saxon language. In the 14th century A.D., it was translated into English. The printing process was not yet invented at that time so copies were made by handwriting.
As on 31 December 2005 there are 6912 languages in the world. Out of these, in 426 languages the entire Bible has been translated. 1,115 languages have the New Testament translation. 862 languages have at least one book of the Bible translated. In 1640 languages the translation of Bible is in progress.
As on Census of India 1991, in India there are 862 languages. In India the entire Bible is translated into 50 languages. New testament is translated into 81 languages. A portion of the Bible is available in 50 languages.
The Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world. Both Hebrew Scripture and the Christian Bible have been translated more times and into more languages - more than 2,403 languages in all - than any other book. It is said that the Bible is the best-selling book of all-time. In some cities, the Bible is considered to be the most frequently stolen book. No book in the world has been translated in so many languages of the world as the Bible.
When John Gutenberg made the printing machine in Europe, the first book to roll out of this printing press was the Latin Bible in 1450. The first English New Testament was printed in 1525 A.D. The most popular translation of the Bible in English is called the King James Version, which was published in the year 1611 A.D. This Bible is used in many universities around the world for teaching English language. Later on, many other translations in English like RSV, NIV, GNB, and many other versions were published. The translation of the Bible into other languages of the world also continued.
The most important and influential of translations of the Bible into German is the Luther Bible. The influence that Martin Luther's translation had on the development of the German language is often compared to influence the King James Version had on English.
Bible has inspired and continues to inspire countless poets, writers, artists, musicians to produce literature, art and culture.
In the world the highest number of copies printed, sold and read are that of Holy Bible. Compared to Catholics, Protestant Christians have done enormous work to translate, print, sell and distribute Bible.
Bible Translations in Konknni
In history of Konknni language the credit of translating a portion of the Bible for the first time, goes to seventeenth century Italian Jesuit missionary Ignazio Arcamone (1615-1683) who worked in Salcette, Goa.His "Sogllea Vorunsache Vanjel" was printed at Rachol Seminary Printing Press in 1667. It had 120 + 335 folios. No copy is available of this book.Since then a number of attempts have been made by various people to translate either New Testament or a portion of the Bible into Konknni in Roman, Kannada and Devanagari scripts. Protestant missionary William Carey at Serampore, West Bengal; Joaquim A. Fernandes, Mumbai; Fr. Rymond Mascarenhas, Mangalore; Fr. Sylvester Menezes, Mangalore; Fr. C.C.A. Pai, S.J., Mangalore; Fr. Vasco do Rego, S.J., Goa; Fr. Moreno de Souza, S.J., Goa; Felicio Cardozo, Goa have translated a portion of the Bible into Konknni.
Among Konknni speakers there are hardly any Protestant Christians. If there were, the Bible would have been translated into Konknni in 19th or early 20th century.
The credit of translating the entire Bible intoKonknni for the first time, goes to William R. da Silva of Mangalore Diocese, Karnataka. He translated the entire Bible into Konknni in Kannada script. Konknni Bible committee at Mangalore published it in 1997. Since this Bible did not have the Imprimatur (official permission of the Church Authorities) it could be used only for private use.
Mangalore Diocese published its official translation in 2000. Rev. Dr. William Barboza translated the Old Testament and Rev. Dr. Victor Pinto translated the New Testament. For the first edition 30,000 copies were printed. The copies were made available at Rs. 100/-.
Konknni readers in Roman script had to wait till 4 June 2006 for the Konknni Bible to see the light in their script and dialect! It was released on Sunday, 4 June 2006 at Se Cathedral by the Archbishop of Goa at 10.00 a.m. during the Eucharistic celebration of Pentecost Feast. For the first edition 60,000 copies have been printed, of which 40,000 are booked at pre-publication price of Rs. 150/-. The post-publication price is Rs. 300/-. Since most of the Konknni readers in Roman script are from lower middle class and middle class families it would have been ideal and desirable to subsidize the price of the Bible and sell it for Rs. 100/- only. This translation is bound to boost the use of Konknni in Roman script.