Brown, Nathan

Portrait
Born: Jun 22, 1807 AD
Died: 1886 AD, at 78 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Missionaries, Satirists


1807 - Born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire on June 22, 1807.

 

1824 - Attended Williams College, where he graduated first in his class.

 

1848 - He and his wife, whom he married in 1830, went on to serve as missionaries in Burma. 0riginal intention had been to translate the Bible into Burmese, but he soon found himself pulled into a mission along with Oliver Cutter and Mile Bronson in the Indian region of Assam. Brown published an Assamese grammar. In his satirical work Magnus Maharba and the Dragon, an account of the battle against slavery, Rev. Brown used the pen name Kristofer Kadmus. This shows that he truly identified with the character in Greek Mythology that his life so paralleled. Cadmus was best known as a traveller and vector of culture and ideas. His journey in search of his lost sister Europa led to importation of the idea of alphabet into Greece. In myth, Cadmus killed a dragon that prevented mortals from reaching a sacred spring. He planted the dragon's teeth on the spot; they sprouted into armies that fought nearly to death, with the survivors building the city of learning.

 

1868 - Rev. Brown dealt with the question of violent means in Magnus Maharba, then, by 1868, turned his attention to the newly accessible Japan, at first by interacting with the students that Japan was sending to the Bridgeport Academy and Princeton University for education in Western world culture and technology. This cultural exchange was a two way process. Rev. Brown published another satire showing America as seen through the eyes of one of these Japanese students, which was sharply critical of New England's materialism, in place of spirituality. One exchange student, for whom Nathan Brown wrote a letter of reference to the Bridgeport Academy, eventually became an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy.

 

1871-1872 - Brown's first wife died in 1871, and in 1872, having married again, he returned to missionary work, this time traveling to Japan to join Jonathan Goble, the first Baptist missionary to that country.

 

1876 - The two collaborated to construct the first Japanese Baptist church in 1876. Brown also worked with Japanese scholar T. Kawakatsu to produce a Japanese-language Bible based on what where then the oldest known Greek manuscripts; he would go on to print thousands of Hiragana copies for distribution print versions (with the goal of access to the Bible by less educated persons who might not understand Kanji).

 

1886 - Brown died in Yokohama on January 1, 1886.

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