Dennis Hudson


John Carman concluded his essay with request for further information about "conversations between Hindu pandits and the Christian missionaries supervising their translations." I would like to respond with some information about Arumuga Navalar's side of the dialogue that developed with Peter Percival while working with him on the "Tentative Version" of the Tamil Bible from 1841 to 1848. The information comes from Navalar's Tamil booklet, The Abolition of the Abuse of Saivism (Caivatusanaparikaram), published in Jaffna in 1854. Navalar intended the booklet to be used by Saivas as an intellectual aid in their opposition tot he aggressive attacks on Saivism by Protestant missionaries. I doubt that Navalar thought of Percival as such a missionary, but he did use sophisticated arguments and readings of the Bible that he must have developed during the years of translation. They represent, I think, evidence of a dialogue that probably took place with Percival over those years, at least within Navalar's mind. I have no evidence of actual conversations. I will select only a few items from a longer study I have made of the booklet.

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