Improving the Public: Translating Protestant Values through Nineteenth-Century Bilingual Print Journalism in South Asia

  • Hephzibah Israel
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


The term ‘Protestant’ is one that rose out of the specific religious and political contexts of Reformation Europe, but how did it travel to cultures outside Europe? In South Asia, the term ‘Protestant’ remained untranslated in most Indian languages. Israel explores the range of meanings, sacred and secular, that it acquired in nineteenth-century Tamil-speaking South India and Sri Lanka. Focusing on a bilingual (Tamil and English) journal Utaya Tārakai / Morning Star published from Jaffna (in present-day Sri Lanka) from 1841, she argues that the enterprise to shape a ‘rational’ and improved public opinion is possible by equating ‘Protestant’ with ‘rationality’ where the ‘Protestant’ position is the only ‘reasonable’ one.


Indian Language English Signal Protestant Public Bilingual Nature American Mission 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hephzibah Israel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Literatures, Languages and CulturesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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