- Judson, Adoniram
- (1788-1850)pioneer of American Baptist missionsAdoniram Judson was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of a Congregationalist minister. He attended Brown University and Andover Theological Seminary, where he helped organize a Society of Inquiry, a study group on missions. Following his graduation in 1810, he was among the first group commissioned by the Congregationalist American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for service in South Asia.on their voyage to india in 1812, Judson and his wife decided that the Baptist position on baptism was correct, and they were rebaptized by British Baptist William Carey on their arrival. Shortly thereafter, another Congregationalist missionary, Luther Rice, took the same step. Rice returned home to rally American Baptists to the foreign mission cause. Judson, forced by the British East India Company to leave the country, moved to Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar). Rice succeeded in organizing the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States for Foreign Missions (the first national Baptist organization in the United States). At its initial gathering in 1814, it accepted the Judsons as its first missionary appointments.Judson set about the work of evangelism. He and his wife, Ann, mastered Burmese, compiled a dictionary, and began to translate the Bible. Ann went on to learn Thai; her translation of the Gospel of Matthew was the first part of the Bible to appear in that language. Adoniram was jailed in 1824 for 21 months on charges of spying. He was exonerated, but the ordeal sapped the strength of Ann, who died a few months after his release.Judson completed the Burmese Bible in 1834, and an enlarged Burmese dictionary in 1849. He died at sea in 1850.See also Baptists.Further reading:■ Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson (Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson Press, 1987)■ Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Mission for Life: The Story of the Family of Adoniram Judson, the Dramatic Events of the First American Foreign Mission, and the Course of Evangelical Religion in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Free Press-MacMil-lan, 1980)■ Edward H. Fletcher, Records of the Life, Character, and Achievements of Adoniram Judson (New York: Edward H. Fletcher, 1854)■ Howard B. Grosse and Fred P. Hagard, The Judson Centennial 1814-1914: Celebrated in Boston, Mass., June 24-25 in Connection with the Centenary of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1914).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.