The Breton Language
Breton (Brezhoneg) is a Celtic language related to Welsh (Cymraeg) and Cornish (Kernewek). It is spoken in western or lower Brittany (Breizh), in the north-west of France. In 1814, the committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) first discussed the fact that the Breton language did not have a translation of the Holy Scriptures.
In 1824 Le Gonidec was contracted by BFBS to translate the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into Breton. Jean François Marie Maurice Agathe Le Gonidec (1775-1838) also known in Breton as Yann-Frañsez ar Gonideg, was a respected Breton scholar. In 1807 he published a grammar of Breton and in 1833 he published a Breton dictionary. Le Gonidec was a Roman Catholic who knew French, Breton and Latin and he translated from the Latin Vulgate. Le Gonidec tried to translate into a pure Breton without borrowings from French. The translation was supervised and checked against the Greek, and revised by two Welsh scholars: Rev David Jones of Swansea, Wales (1792-1825) and then after his death in 1825, by Rev Thomas Price (1787-1848) of Crickhowell. The New Testament (Testamant Nevez) was published in 1827, but BFBS never published his Old Testament.
Welsh missionaries in Brittany
From the 1830s Welsh-speaking Baptist and Calvinist Methodist missionaries started to arrive in Brittany from south Wales. In 1834 John Jenkins (1807-1872) of Glamorgan in Wales arrived in Brittany with the Baptist Mission. These men learnt the Breton and French languages, and some became Bible Society colporteurs selling copies the Holy Scriptures in Breton. The missionaries soon found that much of the scholarly and literary language of the Le Gonidec version was not well enough understood by general Breton speakers, and so they recommended that the Old Testament was not printed.
The Welsh Calvinist Methodist missionary Rev James Williams (1812-1893) came to Quimper in Brittany in 1842. He helped John Jenkins to revise the New Testament, and it was republished in 1854 and 1863 and the last revision was published in 1870. Williams published a collection of sacred songs, called in Breton “Canticou Santel”, which were adapted to well known Breton melodies. In 1869 Rev James Williams returned to Wales. He revised the Le Gonidec Psalms, which were published by BFBS in Paris as “Levr ar Psalmou” in 1873. He returned to Brittany in 1877 for a short time and he died in 1893.
The 1873 Breton Book of Psalms, was scanned from an original in the BFBS archives with the help of volunteers from MissionAssist, and digitised by BFBS, for use by the Breton speaking community.
© British and Foreign Bible Society 1873, 2018
An Bibel Kernewek 2019Ar Bibl Santel (Jenkins) 1897Ashiri Aeuitaknup 1897Baiberi Magwaro Matȿene aMŋari 1949 (Doke)Bedell An Biobla Naomhtha 1817Beibl Cymraeg Newydd Diwygiedig 2004Beibl Cymraeg Newydd Diwygiedig yn cynnwys yr Apocryffa 2004Beibl William Morgan - Argraffiad 1955Beibl William Morgan yn cynnwys yr Apocryffa - Argraffiad 1959Contemporary English Version (Anglicised) 2012Cornish Psalter (liturgical) 1997Criscote e Majaró Lucas 1872 (Caló)Darby's Translation 1890Diɛt ke Dabid 1956Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision 1752E devléskoro sfjato lil e Ísus-Xristóskoro džiipé thai meribé e sfjatoné Lukéstar 1912 (Bulharsko)Ediția Dumitru Cornilescu revizuită 2019Embéo e Majaró Lucas 1837Good News BibleGood News Bible (Anglicised)Good News Bible (Catholic edition in Septuagint order)I Ghiléngheri Ghília Salomunéskero an i Rômáni tćib (Italia) 1875Inji’l i Muqaddas 1955Joannostir Svencono lačopheniben 1933 (Latvia)Kitab Alkudus: Injil Isa Almasih 1866 (Keasberry)Kushti Bokkengro 1985Kushti Lavs (Romany Selections) 1981L' Sâint Évàngile Siévant Sâint Makyu 1863La Sankta Biblio 1926Lek Jot de Jecu Kritho 1940Levr ar Psalmou 1873Lingjili Matthew ki nache 1816Lioar ny Psalmyn 1765 (Pointed)MakrMarku mau sau 1951; ZaiwaMethelokên Hezretê Silêman 1947Metrical Psalms 1650Ne Saint Mark 1774Nene Karighwiyoston Tsinihorighhoten Ne Saint John 1804Noo Ean 1936Noo Mian 1748O Devlikano lil e Sumnale Lukahtar 1936 (Bosnia)O Evangelio Jezus Kristusester pala Markus 1912O keriben pal e Devleskre bičhade 1936 (Morava)Ootech Oochu Takehniya Tinkles St MarkPened balid Yoliánesà 1888Predigimo ä Johannesko 1930Psalmyn Ghavid 1761 (Metrical)Revised Version 1885Revised Version with Apocrypha 1895Salmau Cân 1621Salmau Cân Newydd 2008 (Gwynn ap Gwilym)St Paul from the Trenches 1916Te Paipera Tapu 1952Testament Newydd Salesbury - Argraffiad 1850Testament Newydd a'r Salmau Salesbury 1567Testament ke Siki 1960 (Kabba Laka)The Drom 1995Vangheilu al Matheu 1889Wester Boswell Scripture Selections 1874Yn Apocrypha (Broderick) 1979Yn Apocrypha 1772Yn Conaant Noa 1810Yn Vible Casherick 1819Young's Literal Translation 3rd Revision 1898Библия Думитру Корнилеску 1924Біблія в пер. Івана Огієнка, 1962
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