Romani Lovari Gospel of John 1930
The Lovari Gospel of John was translated by Jaija Sattler and published in 1930. Lovari is a form of Romani spoken in northern and central Europe, traditionally associated with horse-dealers.
Jajiji (Joseph) Sattler was born in 1902 into a Romany Lovari horse-trading family in Saxony. His family had come to England in 1906 and returned to Germany. He became a Christian in 1925 and entered a mission school in Silesia. He married in 1928.
He worked on translating the Gospel of John from Luther's German Bible into the dialect of Romani Lovari in usage by "norddeutschen Zigeuner" (North-German Gypsies).
He called the book the "O Woyako-Hiro katar o Jesuskasko Christuskasko banasgimmo ä Johannestar" (The Good News of Jesus Christ as told by John) or in German "Evangelium Johannes in Zigeunerisch" (the Gospel of John in Gypsy) and the title on the first page is "Predigimo ä Johannesko" (John's Message). To write down the Lovari text he used conventional German spelling, because his compatriots living in Germany knew the language, and if anyone of them were literate it was only in German. He had no linguistic training, but an article in The Gypsy Lore Society Journal in 1931 reviewed it as high quality reflecting the living language.
Sattler travelled in a vardo (Gypsy caravan), visiting various Kalderash and Lovari settlements in Germany, central and eastern Europe, working as a Bible Society colporteur and selling his own translation. Sattler was deported from Berlin to the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp) at Auschwitz in 1943 where he was murdered in 1944.
This was first book of the Bible ever in Romani Lovari. It was published by the Britische und Ausländische Bibelgesellschaft (British and Foreign Bible Society) and printed in Berlin by the Preußische Druckerei‐und Verlags‐A.G. in 1930, and sold for 6d. The text was digitised from an original copy in the British and Foreign Bible Society archives, with the help of MissionAssist, for the United Bible Societies (UBS) Romani Affinity Group digitisation project.
© British and Foreign Bible Society 1930, 2016
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