Bible texts in Oromo

Map of Oromo language varieties
SUM1, Map of Oromo language varieties in the 21st century
(no changes made, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)
Note that Borana is also spoken in Kenya!
Notice

For practical reasons, only abbreviated titles are given on this page. The full bibliographical details (usually with titles in two or three languages) can be found by viewing the given biblical text online. On the separate page, you will also occasionally find further notes, such as entries in the catalogues of the British and Foreign Bible Society (see references at the bottom of this page).


West Central Oromo

(1) Commissioned by James Bruce (1730–94)

written in 1770/71:

Songs of Songs. Probably translated in 1770/71. Bruce ms. 94, Bodleian Library, Oxford. [View online]

(2) Translated by Oshuu Agaa (ca. 1824–41)

written in 1840:

Psalms 3 and 120. Translated by Oshuu Agaa in 1840. Published by F. Praetorius. [View online]

(3) Edited by Johann Ludwig Krapf (1810–81)

published in 1839:

Tentamen imbecillum translationis evangelii Johannis in linguam Gallarum. Auctore Revdo J. L. Krapf, missionario, auxiliante Berkio, viro ex stirpe Gallarum, quam Gelan vocant, oriundo. Inceptum in urbe Ankober, quae regni Shoanorum capitalis est. [John 1-5. Translation assistant: Barkii]. London: R. Watts, 1839. [View online]

1841:

Evangelium Matthaei, translatum in linguam Gallarum. Auctore Revdo. J. L. Krapf, missionario Ankobari, regni Shoanorum capitalis. [Matthew. Translation assistant: Barkii]. [London: R. Watts] 1841. [View online]

1870:

The Gospel according to St. Luke, from the Greek translated into the [Oromo] language by Dr. L[udwig] Krapf, at Kornthal, near Stuttgart, Germany. With the Assistance of Debtera Saneb, a Native of Efat, and Roofo, a young [Oromo] of the Gooma tribe. St. Chrischona near Basle: Pilgrim-Mission-Press, 1870. [View online]

1871:

The Gospel according to St John, translated into the [Oromo] Language. St. Chrischona: [Mission-Press for the BFBS,] 1871. [View online]

1872:

The First Book of Moses Called Genesis Translated into the [Oromo Language. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1872. [View online]

The Book of Psalms Translated into the [Oromo] Language. St. Chrischona (Switzerland): Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1872. [View online]

1874:

The Acts of the Apostles / The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans / The 1st and 2nd Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1874. [View online]

1875:

Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri et Salvatoris Jesu Christi in linguam Gallanorum vertit J. L. Krapf, Phil. Dr., Debtera Sanebo Habessino ex provincia Efate oriundo, et quatuor Gallanis (Scholan e stirpe Ada, Ware e stirpe Nonno, Dchagan e stirpe Leka, et Rufo e stirpe Guma) enixe auxiliantibus [New Testament of Jesus Christ in the language of the (Oromo) …] /
The Gospel according to St. Matthew and Mark translated into the Galla language. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1875. [View online]

1876:

[Novum Testamentum Domini Nostri et Salvatoris Jesu Christi in linguam Gallanorum vertit J. L. Krapf, et al.. /
Galatians to Revelation. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press (for the BFBS), 1876]. [View online]

The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ translated into the [Oromo] Language by the Rev. Dr. Ludwig Krapf. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1876. [View online]

1877:

The Second Book of Moses called Exodus translated into the [Oromo] language [by Gebre-Maryam Dara, written by Zännäb in Warra Illuu and improved from the Hebrew source and edited by Ludwig Krapf]. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1877. [View online]

1893

The Gospel of St. Mark. Transcribed into Roman script. Lovedale: Mission Press, 1893. [View notes online]

(4) Edited by Johann Jakob Greiner (1842–1905)

publ. in 1881:

Barth’s Bible-Stories, translated into the [Oromo] language by J. J. Greiner and his assistant Joseph Gallu from Ilu in the [Oromo] country / Si’a lama oduu shantamii lama Kakuu Moofaatii fi Kakuu Haaraatii. St. Chrischona (Switzerland): Mission-Press, 1881. [View online]

(5) Edited by Taurin Cahagne (OFM Cap [Capuchins], 1826–99)

publ. in 1881:

Wangelium nagaa kan G.-K. Jesus-Kristos Qedus Mateos aka kitabe Abunni Jakobi, Episkopos Adramittaf Vikarios Apostolikos bia Oromo, Afan Oromo aka hike [The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew; transl. by Bishop Jakobus (i.e., Taurin Cahagne), Apostolic Vicar of the Oromo]. Paris: Mercier, 1881. [106 pp.]

  • Reprint, augmented by a liturgy, etc. in Carcassonne (France): Bonnafous, 1900. [View online]
1900:

Raga motuma waqa Kristosittif Lafarra Motuma ufi Aka Dabe [Bible
History]. Translated by Cahagne. Carcassonne: Bonnafous, 1900.

  • Reprint in Rome: St. Peter Claver, 1925.

(6) Translated / edited by Onesimos Nesib (1855/56–1931)

Notice

Since Onesimos translated the Bible in what is now Eritrea, the British and Foreign Bible Society (wrongly) categorised its language variety as “Northern Galla” (cf. Coltham, Bibliography, # 766–69).

Published in 1893:

Kakuu Haaraa: Innis Kan Gooftaa Keenyaa Kan Fayisaa Keenyaaa KaYasuus Kiristoos Wangeela Qulqulluu Macaafota Ergamtootas [The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ]. Imkullu (Massawa),1893.

  • 2nd edition: St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS],1899 [partial edition of the full Bible])
1899:

Macaafa Qulqulluu: Innis Macaafa ta Kakuu Moofaa fi Harawaa
[The Holy Bible: The Old and New Testament]. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press [for the BFBS], 1899. [View Genesis – Deuteronomy / Joshua – Esther / Job – Songs of Songs / Isaiah – Malachi / Matthew – Revelation ]

  • St. John. Reprint from the Bible translated by Onesimos and an Amharic version on opposite pages. Addis Ababa, 1929. [Coldham, Bibliography, # 768]
  • St. Luke. Reprint from the Bible translated by Onesimos and an Amharic version on opposite pages. Addis Ababa, 1933. [Coldham, Bibliography, # 769]
Selected Bible passages

Si’a lama Oduu Shantamii lama [Dr. (Fritz) Barth’s Bible Stories]. Translated by Onesimus Nesib, Swedish Missionary [1st draft by Aster Gannoo]. St. Chrischona: Mission-Press, 1899. [View online]

(7) Edited by André de Jarosseau (OFM Cap [Capuchins], 1858–1941)

I Vangeli Domenicali e gli Inni Sacri Galla [The Sunday Gospels and the Sacred Hymns in (Oromo)]. Transl. by A. de Jarosseau. Dire Dawa: Mission-Press, no date. [Cf. Rijks, Guide, p. 157]

(8) Current editions

For an introduction to the history of Oromo Bible translations, visit the website of the Oromo Bible Society.


Eastern Oromo

(1) Translated by Haylu

publ. in 1886:

Wanjeli Mateosi Afan Oromotti kan hikame. [The Gospel of Matthew in Oromo; tr. by Haylu]. Vienna: Adolf Holzhausen [for the BFBS], 1886. [View online]


Southern Oromo

BORANA

(1) Edited by Eric J. & Ruby G. Webster et al. [BCMS]

publ. in 1934:

Ḍamsa qulqulo aka tafame Lukani. [Gospel according to Luke in Borana; tentative edition; transl. by Eric J. Webster [Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society], assisted by A. W. Haylett and David Donabo]. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1934.

  • Cf. Coltham, Bibliography, # 435
1945:

Odu qulqulo aka Yohana qulquloni ṭafe [Gospel according to John in Borana; tr. by E. J. Webster, Musa Galgalo Sora, Richard Hacking]. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1945.

  • Cf. Coltham, Bibliography, # 436
1954:

Wan Ergattuni Tolcite [The Acts of the Apostles in Boran; tr. by Ruby G. Webster (Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society) and Eric J. Webster, assisted by Daudi Dadaca Dambe]. London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1954.

  • Cf. Coltham, Bibliography, # 437

(2) Edited by Stephen M. Houghton et al. [BCMS]

publ. in 1965:

Odu Dansa aka Mariko qulqulloni tafe. [St. Mark; tr. by Stephen M. Houghton (Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society). Nairobi: Bible Society in East Africa, 1965.

  • Cf. Coltham, Supplement, # 109.
1966:

Yohana. Wan Ergattuni Tolcite. Rumi. Korintho Qara. Yakobo. Yohana Qara [New Testament selections in Borana; tr. by Stephen M. Houghton, Petro Oce, D. Dadaca, Joseph Tibe, Joshua Dere and others]. Nairobi: Bible Society in East Africa, 1966.

  • Cf. Coltham, Supplement, # 110.
1978:

Wold’aqisa haraa: Afaan Boranatiin t’aafani [New Testament in Borana, tr. by Stephen M. Houghton and P. Halake]. Nairobi: Bible Society of Kenya, 1978. [Copy available at Württembergische Landesbibliothek; Cambridge Univ.; cf. KVK]

  • Reprint: 1982.
  • Printed for the EECMY Southern Ethiopian Synod in Ethiosemitic script in 1987.

(3) Translated by David Diida et al.

publ. in 1994:

Kitaaba Waaqa: Ka Kitaaba Deuterokanonikol/Apokrifa qabu. [The Bible with Deuterocanon/Apocrypha in Borana; new translation by Stephen Houghton and David Diida]. Nairobi: Kenya Bible Society, 1994.

  • Cf. Tablino, Paulo (Fr.). “Some Information about the Translation of the Bible into the Borana Language”, Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 37 (1993), 167-75. [Online; subscription barrier]

Orma & Waata

(1) Edited by Thomas Wakefield

published in 1878:

_ _ _ [Book of Jonah; translated by Thomas Wakefield]. Ribe (Kenya): United Methodist Free Church Missionary Press, 1878.

  • Darlow & Moule, Catalogue, # 4121:
    “When the agents in East Africa of the United Methodist Free Churches’ Mission […] came into contact with Galla tribes, they found that these could not understand Krapf’s version in Central Galla. They experimented, therefore, with a translation in the Southern form of Galla known as Bararetta; and in 1878 an edition of Jonah was printed, in roman type, at the mission-press at Ribe, near Mombasa. This version was made by T. Wakefield, who had been a member of the mission from the beginning.”

Kit’ab K’ulk’uloa: Woltid’ameno Duritit: Kit’ab Umamati kaBaresen Afan Ormati [Genesis 1-4]. Ribe (Kenya): United Methodist Free Church Missionary Press, 1878.

  • Darlow & Moule, Catalogue, # 4121, continues:
    “In the same year T. Wakefield printed a version of Gen. i-iv at the Ribe mission-press. Roman type; 10 pp. The Bible House Library possesses a copy of this book.” [Avail. at the BFBS Archive at Cambridge Univ.]
1899:

Gura Dansa Yohannes Barese. Afan Oromati [Gospel of St. John in Bararetta (or Southern) Oromo; translated by Thomas Wakefield]. [London, 1899]. [Printed by the BFBS for the United Methodist Free Churches’ East African Mission] [View online]

(2) Edited by R. M. Omerod

publ. in 1904:

Gur Dansa ak Mattayos: Barese [Gospel of St. Matthew; translated by R. M. Omerod]. [London: 1904]. [Printed by the BFBS for the United Methodist Free Churches’ East African Mission] [View online]

(3) Current edition

_ _ _ New Testament (2015-2016; according to JoshuaProject.net)


References [Catalogues of Bible translations]

Darlow, Thomas H. and Horace F. Moule (compilers). Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Vol. II (in 3 parts): Polyglots and Languages other than English. London: Bible House, 1911. (Reprints: New York: Klaus Reprint, 1963, and Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2022 [Google Books].

  • The entries in this publication are referenced by their running numbers.

Coldham, Geraldine E. (compiler). A Bibliography of Scriptures in African Languages: A revision of the African sections of the Darlow and Moule ‘Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the Holy Scripture’, with additions to 1964. 2 vols. London: The British and Foreign Bible Society, 1966.

  • The entries in this publication are referenced by their running numbers (The entry number in Darlow & Moule is added in brackets).

—. Supplement (1964 ‒ 1974) to A Bibliography of Scriptures in African Languages (BFBS, London, 1966). London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1975.

  • The entries in this publication are referenced by their running numbers (preceded by an “S”).

Rijks, Piet (editor). Guide to Catholic Bible Translations. Vol. 2: Africa. Stuttgart: World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate, 1989.