Page:The Lord’s prayer in five hundred languages.pdf/9

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Preface

When, in the earlier years of the present century, attempts were made surveying and classifying the then known tongues of the globe, the Lord’s Prayer was—for its terse simplicity, its typical Christian spirit, and the generally known tenor of its wording—select as the most appropriate text to serve as a representative of each language and dialect. But while Adelung—following in the wake of Conrad Gesner (1555) and our own Chamberlayne (1715)—brought together in his well-known “Mithridates” (Berling, 1808‐17) a vast number of specimens of the Lord’s Prayer, solely with a glottological object in view, A. Auer’s “Sprachenhalle” (Vienna, 1844‐47), containing the Lord’s Prayer in 200 languages, was mainly intended to exhibit the then unrivalled resources of oriental typography which the Vienna Imperial Printing Office could boast of. Of other books of the same class, but of more modest compass and pretensions, may be mentioned “The Lord’s Prayer in the Language of Russia,” with a valuable linguistic introduction by the Rev. H. Dalton (St. Petersburg, 1870), G. F. Bergholtz’s collection of version of the Lord’s Prayer (Chicago, 1884), and the “The Lord’s Prayer in the Languages of Africa” (1890). The publishers of the