This book presents a critical reading of Kristapurāṇa, the first South Asian retelling of the Bible. In 1579, Thomas Stephens (1549–1619), a young Jesuit priest, arrived in Goa with the aim of preaching Christianity to the local subjects of the Portuguese colony. Kristapurāṇa (1616), a sweeping narrative with 10,962 verses, is his epic poetic retelling of the Christian Bible in the Marathi language. This fascinating text, which first appeared in Roman script, is also one of the earliest printed works in the subcontinent. Kristapurāṇa translated the entire biblical narrative into Marathi a century before Bible translation into South Asian languages began in earnest in Protestant missions.
This book contributes to an understanding of translation as it was practiced in South Asia through its study of genre, landscapes, and cultural translation in Kristapurāṇa, while also retelling a history of sacred texts and biblical narratives in the region. It examines this understudied masterpiece of Christian writing from Goa in the early era of Catholic missions and examines themes such as the complexities of the colonial machinery, religious encounters, textual traditions, and multilingualism, providing insight into Portuguese Goa of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The first of its kind, the book makes significant interventions into the current discourse on cultural translation and brings to the fore a hitherto understudied text. It will be an indispensable resource for students and researchers of translation studies, comparative literature, religious studies, biblical studies, English literature, cultural studies, literary history, postcolonial studies, and South Asian studies.
Annie Rachel Royson holds a PhD in Translation Studies and Comparative Literature from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, India. She currently teaches literature and language at the School of Liberal Studies, Pandit Deendayal Energy University. Her research interests include Translation Studies, Comparative Literature, Travel Writings, Religious Studies, and Christian Writings in South Asia. She is currently working on the idea of cultural translation, genre, and landscapes through a study of South Asian Christian texts. Her research on Kristapurāṇa and translation has been presented at Indian and international academic conferences and published in journals such as Church History and Religious Culture, Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ), Nidan: International Journal of Indian Studies, and Translation Studies. She was an Associate at the Nida School of Translation Studies 2016, a Graduate Teaching Fellow at IIT Gandhinagar for the fall semester of 2016, a Sahapedia-UNESCO Fellow 2018, and a recipient of the Scientific and Solidarity Bursary of the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies in the year 2021.
Note on Transliteration
List of Appendices
Introduction: Cultures, Scriptures, and Translation
Chapter One: Texts, Travels, and Christianities in South Asia
Chapter Two: Into the Languages of this Land
Chapter Three: Genre, Novelization, and Translatability in Kristapurāṇa
Chapter Four: (Re)Painting Landscapes, (Re)Inventing Tradition
Chapter Five: Speaking After