1st Edition

Shamans, Lamas, and Evangelicals The English Missionaries in Siberia

By C R BAWDEN Fba Copyright 1985
    426 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1985, Shamans, Lamas and Evangelicals tells the little known yet fascinating story of a missionary venture to Eastern Siberia in the year 1818. Two missionaries, one English, one Swedish, with the tiresome voyage across the Baltic behind them, set out with their wives to face the daunting prospect of a 3000-mile journey by sledge across the rough snow roads of Siberia in the depths of winter.

    The mission was unusual in its conception. Established by the London Missionary Society and the backing of the Tsar, Alexander I, its aim was to bring the Christian gospel to the Buryats, and, once that was accomplished, to cross into China, evangelize the Mongols there, and then set about the conversion of the Chinese. The mission failed, but it was nonetheless an extraordinary episode. It is the story of men who first had to learn Russian in order to teach themselves Mongolian, who brought up their families, founded schools, treated the sick, and translated the entire Bible into Mongolian, printing the Old Testament on their own local press. This is an interesting historical reference work for scholars and researchers of Russian history and Mongolian history.

    Preface Acknowledgements Dates and Measurements 1. Early Plans 2. I. J. Schmidt and the Kalmucks 3. The Beginnings of the Mission 4. The Missionaries: Stallybrass and Rahmn 5. The Missionaries: Swan and Yuille 6. St Petersburg and the Buryat Zaisangs 7. The Journey to Irkutsk 8. From Irkutsk to Selenginsk 9. The Buryats of Transbaikalia 10. The Missionaries Separate 11. Family Life in Siberia 12. Missionary and Lama 13. Preaching to the People 14. The Mission Schools 15. Translating the Bible 16. Printing the Old Testament 17.  The External Relations of the Mission 18. The End of the Mission Maps Appendix Bibliography Index


    C. R. Bawden was a Professor of the Mongolian language in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London from 1970 to 1984.

    Review of the Original Publication:

    “This book tells the full story of the mission to the Buryat Mongols of Eastern Siberia launched in 1814 by the London Missionary Society in conjunction with the British and Foreign Bible Society at a time when the ideas of Alexander I about the spreading of the Gospel made such a venture possible… It was thought that the translation of the Bible into Mongolian and the subsequent conversion of the Buryats would lead to greater things. The idea was of penetrating China- after evangelizing various tribes in Siberia- at a time when there was no access to the Chinese coastal ports. It was a grand design which, as Professor Bawden shows, was based on false premises…”

    -          George Lewinson, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Oct. 1986), pp. 612-614