Monthly Archives: February 2015

Gospel Harmony 1833 digitally available

The Creole  version of Lieberkühn’s Gospel Harmony is digitally available here. It was financed by The American Tract Society and was  printed in New York in 1833. The edition of 2000 copies was distributed among the Christianized slaves of the Moravian Brethren on the Danish Antilles. If all copies were distributed, one out of every four to five  above mentioned slaves owned a copy.

The first version was translated by Johann Böhner in or just before 1780 (coded 321). A second version, which had an interesting preface (322), was made only a short period after the first one. The third version (3231) was translated around 1790, probably by Johann Auerbach. About five years later a fourth version was made (3232). Just like 3231, this text is not complete. All manuscript versions can be consulted in the Clarin-NEHOL database.

The manuscripts are obviously written in the same tradition, but differ slightly. Manuscript 3231 seems influenced by the English translation of Lieberkühn’s Gospel Harmony. This can be due to the fact that English became the most important language in the Danish Antilles at that moment.

Manuscript 3232 and the printed version hardly differ. However, since 3232 is not complete, it cannot be the version which was used by the printer.


Psalm-Boek 1774 and 1784

Today I found a scan of the 1774 PSALM-BŒK voor die NEGER-GEMEENTEN na S. THOMAS, S. CROIX en S. JEAN. Barby: 1774. 264 pp.  here. This book of hymns, translated from German into Negerhollands by the Moravian Brethren, can be compared to the 1765 book of hymns which is available as HERRN65a in our Clarin-NEHOL database and the work from 1784

Front page

The scanned work was once owned by Johanna Dorothea Schmidt from Friedensberg, St. Croix. This is interesting to note because of Auerbach’s remark about the use of Creole in St. Croix:

Na St Croex die hab meer van die Negers, die sender kan verstaan English,l as     na St Thomas en St Jan, maar doch, sender <¬English Praat> ka mingel ook altoeveel met die Creol- en Guinee-Taal. Da Neger-English die ben. (March 10, 1774)

“On St. Thomas there are more blacks who can understand English than in St. Thomas and St. John, but still their English speech is mixed very much with the Creole and Guinea languages. It is Negro-English.’ (Van Rossem & Van der Voort 1996: 9)

Also available on the Internet is Psalm-boek voor die tot die Evangelische broeder-Kerk behoorende neger-gemeenten na S. Croix, S. Thomas en S. Jan. Barby: 1784. 322, [46] pp. It can be found here. It is also translated into Creole by the Moravian Brethren and, as can be read in its preface, it can be compared to the above mentioned Psalm-Boek from 1774.

Psalm-boek 1784