Monthly Archives: May 2014

Bible translations into Mongolian

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Monte Corvino is said to have translated the New Testament and Psalms into Mongolian in the thirteenth century. His work has been lost, as have any Nestorian translations into Mongolian that might have existed.

Since those days, the first translation of the Bible into Mongolian was the work of Edward Stallybrass and William Swan (missionary) (1791–1866) both of the London Missionary Society, who translated the New Testament into the literary Mongolian language. Their translation was published in 1880 in Mongolian type in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was reprinted in 1881 in Manchu type.[1]

Joseph Edkins and Joseph Schereschewsky, together with a Mongolian llama revised Swan and Stallybrass’s translation of Matthew into colloquial Khalkha Mongolian. It was published in 1894. [2]

In 1899 the British and Foreign Bible Society agreed to bring out a revised gospel, by David Stenberg (of the Scandinavian Mission) and Mr. Netsegaard (of Urga, today called Ulaanbaatar), based on Swan and Stallybrass, which he found too high. It seems that Stenberg managed to revise into colloquial Urga Mongolian at least Matthew’s gospel.[3][4] He was working on revising all four gospels and Acts, however his work was cut short when he was killed during the Boxer Rebellion. It is unclear if any of his work survived it.

The New Testament of Swan and Stallybrass was revised by Stuart Gunzel together with four Mongolians and 8,000 copies were printed in 1953 by the Hong Kong Bible Society. This was reprinted in 1988 by the Hong Kong Bible Society. In 1994 Living Stream Ministry reprinted this, using the Cyrillic script instead of the classical Mongolian, but changing nothing else.[5]

In 2009 the ABPPM foundation published a revision of the Bible as “The Classical Mongolian Bible”. The old Testament is based of the 1840 British and Foreign Bible Society text, and the New Testament is based of Swanson’s 1950 text. The biggest revision that was done was the substitution of the words “Yehovah Tenger” for “Burhan”.

Missionswerk Unerreichte Völker e.V. (M.U.V.) spent 14 years translating the New Testament into a classic literary Inner Mongolian; this was published in the classical Mongolian script as “Ibegeltü nom” in 2003 and also released on the Internet.[6] They have also translated Psalms and Genesis, however lack of funds halted further progress.

John Gibbens, with the help of his wife Altaanchimeg (Altaa) translated the New Testament into Mongolian, their version being published on 11 August 1990 by the United Bible Societies in Hong Kong. This was a “self-interpreting” translation, and included Old Testament quotations, Old Testament allusions, and explanatory notes within the New Testament text, rather than footnoting them.[7] It also uses explanatory terminology for many religious terms, rather than using the Mongolian words deemed sullied irrecoverably by Buddhism.

The Mongolian Bible Translation Committee (Монгол Библи Орчуулгын Хороо) began translating the Bible in 1991. The New Testament was completed in 1996, and the complete Bible in 2000. This has become the most popular translation in Mongolia, being used by most Christians there. The Translation Committee became the Holy Writing Bible Society (Ариун Бичээс Библийн Нийгэмлэг) and revised the Bible in 2004, 2008 and 2011.[8] This is currently the most used translation in Mongolia. This translation uses Mongolian terminology, and is much more literal. It is however, perhaps too literal—and people often complain that it is in “translated Mongolian”, without native Mongolian expressions, and sometimes hard to understand. ABBN uses the name Mongolia United Bible Society (MUBS) in English. They are currently working on a new translation.

The word Бурхан (Burhan) for God, provoked controversy, as did terms for many religious words. The Gibbenses (with Bible Society of Mongolia, who kept the registration in their name when they split from United Bible Societies), continued work on a translation of the Bible that uses descriptive terminology, instead of the Mongolian terms, which they feel have been used in other senses by Buddhism (for example they use words like Ертөнцийн Эзэн (Lord of the World) instead of Burhan). Proper nouns are also often spelled differently (for example, the Translation Committee uses Иохан and Марк, and the Gibbens use Иоган and Маарх). Another difference from the Mongolian Bible Translation Committee’s translation is that they do not translatr from Nestle Aland, but from the Textus Receptus. The New Testament is a revised version of the Gibbens 1990 translation, revised to be no longer self-interpreting. So far[when?] the New Testament is complete, and work is ongoing on the Old Testament. Gibbens owns the Монголын Библийн Нийгэмлэг (Bible Society of Mongolia), where he and publishes his work.

In Inner Mongolia there are at least three modern Bible translations. Wycliffe Bible Translators completed a dynamic equivalence translation, using the word Deed Tenger, instead of Burhan, for God. Another translation, Ariun nom, which uses Burhan for God is also used quite commonly by Inner Mongolian Christans. A third translation, sponsored by the three self Church and Amity press is being translated by Bao Xiaolin. A trial version of this editions New Testament was released on 23 September 2013. This version is being translated from Chinese, and creates a lot of non-Mongolian expressions from Chinese.


About: Minggatu

Minggatu, full name Sharabiin Myangat was a Mongolian astronomer, mathematician, and topographic scientist at the Qing court. His courtesy name was Jing An (静安). Minggatu was born in Plain White Banner (now Plain and Bordered White Banner, Xilin Gol League, Inner Mongolia) of the Qing Empire. He was of the Sharaid clan. His name first appeared in official Chinese records in 1713, among the Kangxi Emperor’s retinue, as a shengyuan (state-subsidized student) of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau. He worked there at a time when Jesuit missionaries were in charge of calendar reforms. He also participated in the work of compiling and editing three very important books in astronomy and joined the team of China’s area measurement. From 1724 up to 1759, he worked at the Imperial Observatory. He participated in drafting and editing the calendar and the study of the armillary sphere. His seminal work The Quick Method for Obtaining the Precise Ratio of Division of a Circle, which was completed after his death by his son Mingshin, and students (among them his most gifted pupil Chen Jihin and an intendant in the minister of finance, Zhang), was a significant contribution to the development of mathematics in China. He was the first person in China who calculated infinite series and obtained more than 10 formulae. In the 1730s, he first established and used what was later to be known as Catalan numbers. The Jesuit missionaries’ influence can be seen by many traces of European mathematics in his works, including the use of Euclidean notions of continuous proportions, series addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, series reversion, and the binomial theorem. Minggatu’s work is remarkable in that expansions in series, trigonometric and logarithmic were apprehended algebraically and inductively without the aid of differential and integral calculus. In 1742 he participated in the revision of the Compendium of Observational and Computational Astronomy. In 1756, he participated in the surveying of the Dzungar Khanate, which was incorporated into the Qing Empire by the Qianlong Emperor. It was due to his geographical surveys in Xinjiang that the Complete Atlas of the Empire (the first atlas of China drawn with scientific methods) was finished. From 1760-1763, shortly before his death, he was administrator of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau.


A Famous Mongolian Mathematician and Astronomer Minggatu (Ming An Tu)

Minggatu, (1692-1765?), from the Straight White Banner, Qing Dynasty. He was a famous mathematician and astronomer. In 1762, He was appointed as head of the Ministry of Astrological Observatory, at the period of Qianlong Emperor, Qing Dynasty. He compiled astrological four works as the Origin of Law and Calendar.

He invented a new theory of mathematics, based on his knowledge about geometry, algebra, triangle and sequence theories, called the Cyclomotic Continued Proportional Method, in his great work of the Quick Method for Determining Segmentareas, In 1759, the twenty fourth year of Emperor Qianlong, he conducted and finished the map surveying of Xinjiang, hence successfully made the first map of whole China, with the new modern scientific surveying techniques.

In May, 2002, a new asteroid (28242) which was discovered by the Chinese Astrological Observatory was named after his name as Minggatu (Ming An Tu, in Chinese) Star, by the approvals of Chinese Academy of Science and Nomination Committee of the Small Celestial Body of IAU. (Translated from Chinese into Mongolian by Delger)


A Mongolian scientist makes diamonds from calcite

Now the scientists of the Goethe University dreaming of Nobel Prize In this high-tech laboratory at Riedenberg Dr. Lkhamsuren Bayarjargal makes diamonds from calcite: Because of the strong laser radiation he conducts research with goggles
Frankfurt from such a man every woman dreams: Dr. Lkhamsuren Bayarjargal (38) makesdiamonds made ​​of calcite. The white stuff that settles in the kettle. But he now received the prestigious Max-von-Laue-price.
Diamonds, the most expensive and hardest mineral in the world, can be produced artificially for 60 years, from graphite. To Bayarjargal on campus Riedenberg the calcite conversion succeeded, he has been researching for years: “In the Canary Islands and in Uzbekistan diamonds have been found in calcite deposits. We wanted to find out if the diamond can occur there, or were transported inside. ”
In the laser laboratory at Riedenberg the Mongolian scientists generated enormous pressure and temperature as in the Earth”s interior. “If you turn the Eiffel Tower, press the tip down, the pressure strength is roughly comparable with that in our diamond anvil cell. And the laser is so strong that you would immediately burn a fire in your stomach! At 3000 degrees, the diamonds originated. ”
Sorry, no, that sparkle and glisten. Bayarjargal`s diamonds are so tiny that you can only see them under a microscope. Has produced thousands of man, and all together would hardly fly shit.
Nothing for us girls. But for science are the Frankfurt diamonds are a treasure.
Bayarjargal want to continue researching, producing 10 000 degrees. His dream? “The Nobel Prize would not be bad.”
Dear readers, before you now scratching your water pot to make calcite diamonds: you need a half million euros, great knowledge in laser technology and immense talent experimental …

the Project of “Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia”

The project seeks to explain why, how, when and to where people, ideas and artifacts moved in Mongol Eurasia, and what were the outcomes of these huge movements. Studying the Mongol Empire in its full Eurasian context, the project combines a world history perspective with close reading in a huge array of primary sources in various languages (mainly Persian, Arabic and Chinese) and different historiographical traditions, and classifies the acquired information into a sophisticated prosopographical database, which records the individuals acting under Mongol rule in the 13th and 14th centuries. On the basis of this unique corpus, the project maps and analyzes mobility patterns, and the far-reaching effects that this mobility generated. More specifically, it aims:

  • to analyze modes of migrations in Mongol Eurasia: why, how, when and into where people- along with their ideas and artifacts – moved across Eurasia, portraying the full spectrum of such populations movements from the coerced to the voluntary.
  • to shed light on the economic and cultural exchange that this mobility engendered, with a stress on the religious, scientific and commercial networks both within and beyond the empire‘s frontiers.
  • to reconstruct the new elite of the empire by scrutinizing the personnel of key Mongolian institutions, such as the guard, the judicial and postal systems, the diplomatic corps, and the local administration.

These issues will be studied comparatively, in the period of the united Mongol empire (1206-1260) and across its four successor khanates that centered at China, Iran, Central Asia and Russia.

The project is led by Professor Michal Biran of the Hebrew University and conducted by an international team of young scholars working in Jerusalem.

The project’s results will be a quantum leap forward in our understanding of the Mongol empire and its impact on world history, and a major contribution to the theoretical study of pre-modern migrations, cross-cultural contacts, nomad-sedentary relations and comparative study of empires. Moreover, the re-conceptualization of the economic and cultural exchange in Mongol Eurasia will lead to a reevaluation of a crucial stage in world history that begins with the Mongol period:  the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern era.

For a more detailed description of the project see