King's College London
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John Eliot's Genesis of 1655
Special Collections Exhibitions|John Eliot's Genesis of 1655 

John Eliot's Genesis of 1655

Although the book presented here has long been known as the Algonquin Genesis at King's it is not in the Algonquin language but in a related Algonquian language called Massachusett.

In 1655, John Eliot (1604-1690) and Samuel Green printed the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, and the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, as trial pieces for a complete Bible in the Natick dialect of the Massachusett language, which it was Eliot's ambition to produce.

No copy of Matthew is known to survive and no copy of Genesis was known to have survived until it was "re-discovered" in 1937. By chance, the American scholar, Wilberforce Eames realised that a reference to Genesis in Algonquin in William Marsden's catalogue of his personal library did not refer to a fragment of Eliot's Bible but to the original trial piece.

PLEASE NOTE: This exhibition was created for the web only.

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