Toe – tron feisitentin na toe. Tori vo da Santa Bybel – boekoe, vo gebruike dem na hoso en na skolo.  Nanga foeloe pikin printje. Calw: F. Steinkopf, 1852.
Beautiful contemporary red linen binding with rich gilt decoration. Very good condition. 16,5 x 11 cm. 284 pages. This is one of my favorite books. Partly because it was printed in Calw, not too far from Stuttgart where I spent a few years. Calw is also the birthplace of Hermann Hesse, the German writer and poet. Another reason why this book is special to me is because the antiquarian bookseller recommended it to me saying it was a translation of religious texts translated into ‘some sort of African language’.  But, most importantly, books like this have played a major role in the emancipation of the Afro-Surinamese people.

Clearly this is a very early text (1852!) in Sranan Tongo, the lingua franca of Suriname. It contains 52 biblical stories from the Old Testament and 52 from the New Testament. With many woodcut illustrations. It is very very rare. It was published by F. Steinkopf  a well known bookseller and publisher in Stuttgart which still exists.

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Jan Voorhoeve and Antoon Donicie have described this book in their in Bibliographie du Negro-Anglais du Suriname (1963). They stated that this book was made By Cranz. I believe my claim that this is a rare book is also supported by that fact that Voorhoeve and Donicie have marked this book with ‘pas eu en mains’. They haven’t had this book in their hands.

santa_bijbel

Carl Haarnack

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