Isn't Ottoman a dead language? Why bother?

Ottoman Turkish, commonly called Osmanlıca, is old Turkish written in Arabic characters. Though the alphabet is Arabic with a few additional letters, the language is Turkish with an occasional strong dose of Arabic and Persian vocabulary. This was the Turkish language spoken by the ancestors of today's Turks. It survives in the Turkmen language of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, in the language of the "Osmanli" people of Bulgaria, and of course in Modern Turkish as spoken in Turkey today.

Despite its Arabic letters, Ottoman Turkish is not Arabic. Arabs cannot read the Ottoman Turkish Bible because they know the letters but not the Turkish words. As for Turkish speakers, all we have to do to read the beautiful Turkish of an earlier time is learn the "old letters" -- or read a transcription as found here.

This website displays both the original Ottoman Turkish texts in an upper pane, along with transcription in the Latin alphabet of Modern Turkish (modified slightly) in the lower pane. When you see something you aren't familiar with, click on any underlined word or phrase in the lower pane to see a pop-up note with its meaning and derivation.

Bible students and researchers will find the Torah, Psalms, and New Testament in the texts here. This is sacred scripture as it was read or heard by our forebears in Ottoman times, and as written by Turkish translators for 350 years and more. After the language reform of 1928 the last Ottoman Turkish Bible was revised and printed in the new Latin alphabet.

Welcome to the Ottoman Turkish Bible! There are many insights here from Turkish translations for various cultural groups at various times over the centuries. May God give the reader peace and wisdom.