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Doctrina Christiana

Not to be confused with De doctrina christiana or De 2 History

Doctrina Christiana (Milton).
The Doctrina Christiana was an early book of Roman There is some controversy about which of the versions
is the rst printed book in Spanish Philippines, with
some scholars believing that the Chinese-language version titled Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua China,
compuesta por los madres ministros de los Sangleyes,
de la Orden de Sancto Domingo. Con licencia, por
Keng Yong, China, en el Parian de Manila (Chinese:
pinyin: Xnk Sngsh Gom-xin Zhun Wj Tinzh
Zhngjio Zhnchun Shl; WadeGiles: Hsin1 k'o4
Seng1 shih1 Kao1 mu3 -hsien4 Chuan4 Wu2 chi2 T'ien1 chu3
Cheng4 chiao4 Chen1 ch'uan2 Shih2 lu4 ; literally: A
Printed Edition of The True Faith in The Innite God,
by Fr. Juan Cobo, O.P.* [2]") by Fray Miguel de Benavides, OP, was printed between 1590 to 1592 by the Chinese printer Keng Yong in Manila before the Spanish and
Tagalog versions.
One of the earliest references to both versions comes
from Gmez Prez Dasmarias, the seventh Spanish
Governor-General of the Philippines, who wrote a letter
to Philip II of Spain on 20 June 1593, that read:
Missionary fathers placed the Doctrina among the books
necessary to have in print in foreign lands. As such,
the Filipino book is similar to one printed in Mexico in
1539 in Spanish and local Mexican vernacular, followed
by Saint Francis Xaviers Doutrina Christo in Malay
Cover of the Doctrina Christiana featuring Saint Dominic with printed by the Jesuit press at Goa in 1557. Another Docthe book's full title. Woodcut, c. 1590.
trina was printed in Spanish and the native languages at
Lima in 1584.
Catholic Catechism, written in 1593 by Fray Juan de
Plasencia, and is believed to be one of the earliest books
printed in the Philippines.* [1]

Extant print copies

Apart from the copy in the Library of Congress in

Washington, DC, there are no other known copies in existence today. Both the quality of the paper, age, natural
agents and disasters such as earthquakes and res all con1 Title
tributed to the disappearance of most printed copies. The
only known existing copies of early Philippine books are
The Doctrina Christiana is remarkable not only for hav- those sent to Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th cening been printed at such an early period in an elaborated turies, which may lie uncatalogued in some library.
blackletter of the Spanish language, but also for having
copies made in Tagalog, both in Latin script and the com- Such was the case for the copy sent to Philip II of Spain
monly used Baybayin script of the natives at the time, plus by the Governor-General Dasmarias in 1593. This is
believed to be the same copy that reappeared in 1946 in
another translation in traditional Chinese.
the possession of a Parisian bookseller and collector who
Spanish title:
specialised in Pacic imprints. William H. Schab, a New
In English:
York dealer, purchased the book and took it to the United

States, where he resold it to Lessing J. Rosenwald, who

in turn presented it to the Library of Congress where it
remains today. The only known surviving copy of the
Chinese version is stored at the Biblioteca Nacional in


[3] Retana, Wenceslao (1894). La Politica de Espaa en Filipinas, No. 97. Manila.
[4] Pardo De Tavera, Trinidad (1893). Noticias sobre La Imprenta y el Grabado en Filipinas. Madrid. pp. 910.


The title literally meansChristian Doctrine, and thus

the primary goal of the book was to propagate Christian
teaching across the Philippine archipelago. The book
consists of 38 leaves and 74 pages of text in Spanish,
Tagalog transliterated into roman letters, and Tagalog in
its original Baybayin script, under a woodcut of Saint
Dominic, with the verso originally blank, although in
contemporary versions bears the manuscript inscription,
Tassada en dos reales, signed Juan de Cuellar.
After a syllabary comes the basic prayers: the Lord's
Prayer, Hail Mary, Credo, and the Salve Regina. Following these are Articles of Faith, the Ten Commandments, Commandments of the Holy Church, Sacraments
of the Holy Church, Seven Mortal Sins, Fourteen Works
of Charity, and points on Confession and Catechism.


The book was printed on paper made from mulberry.* [4]

The size of the volume, which is unbound, is 9 by 7
inches, although individual leaves vary somewhat due to
chipping. Some of the leaves have become separated
from their complements, but enough remain in the original stitching to indicate that the book was originally made
up in four gatherings, the rst of twelve leaves, the second
of ten, the third of ten, and the fourth of six. Although the
book is of the size called quarto, the method of printing
must have been page by page, so it is doubtful that each
sheet was folded twice in the usual quarto manner, but
more probable that it was printed four pages to a sheet of
paper approximately 9 by 14 inches, which was folded
The volume was printed using the xylographic technique,
printing each page of text from one hand carved woodblock. Vertical lines long the inner margins of some pages
were made by the inked edge of the block, and the grain
of the wood appears as striations throughout the printed


[1] Lessing J. Rosenwald.Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection

. Library of Congress. World Digital Library. Retrieved

6 External links
Full text of Doctrina Christiana at Project Gutenberg
Doctrina Christiana: The First Book Printed in the
Philippines available at
Doctrina Christiana From the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Doctrina Christiana Source: Contributors: Jondel, Woohookitty,

BD2412, Ser Amantio di Nicolao, John, Heran et Sang'gres, Missvain, Skier Dude, StAnselm, Gubernatoria, Sevilledade, Mild Bill Hiccup,
Addbot, Yobot, AnakngAraw, RafaelMinuesa, Athene cheval, RjwilmsiBot, EmausBot, WikitanvirBot, Zollerriia, Khazar2, Kuya kyon,
QvisDevs, Frosty, Ephemeratta and Anonymous: 11



File:Doctrina-cristiana.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contributors: Original artist: Juan de Plasencia


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