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The Authorized Version of the Bible.

Soon after his accession to the throne, James I called a conference of Church loaders at Hampton Court to take stock of the ecclesiastical position in England. It was at this conference that John Roynolds, Dean of Lincoln and leader of the Puritan party, urged that the Bible should be revised again. The king agreed against the wish of the Episcopal party which was led by the Bishop of London, Richard Bancroft.

He commanded that the best learned in both universities" should be entrusted with the work and that it should be revised by "the bishops and the chief learned of the Church"; also that the final work should be presented to the Privy Council for recommendation to the king and that the whole should be ratified by the king's authority.

It was not this time to be the work of one man. Six committees were set up. (It  took five months to arrange these owing to the slowness of letters in those days). The work was apportioned as follows,

i. Old Testament, Genesis to 2 Kings to a committee of ten called the Westminster Committee for Hebrew: 1 Ecclesiastes to a committee of eight called the Cambridge Committee for Hebrew; and Isaiah to Malachi to a committee of seven called the Oxford Committee for Hebrew.

ii.Apocrypha, To a committee of seven called the Cambridge Committee for Greek.

iii. New Testament, The Gospels, the Acts and Revelation to a committee of eight called the Oxford Committee for Greek; the Epistles to a committee of seven called the Westminster Committee for Greek.

The committees met at the places after which they were called and carried out their work independently. They included in their membership the most learned biblical scholars of their day, including professors,Lecturers, bishops and cathedral clergy. They were not only biblical scholars but several were also the best Hebrew,Groek,Latirn,Lrabic and Ethiopic scholars of the time.

The rules of procedure were strictly laid down. Harrison in "The Bible in Britain" lists there so,"The second edition of the Bishop's Bible of 1572 was to be the starting point; existing divisions into chapters not to be changed except for strong reasons; no marginal notes except explanations of Hebrew and Greek words to be made; every translator to make his own translation and to submit it to each of the other members of his group to whom he read it while they followed his reading in various versions in many languages; exceptional difficulties to be submitted to specialists; the bishops to ask their clergy to send to each committee any observations they might wish to make.

The language of Tyndale,Coverdale,Matthew, Cranmer (in the second edition of the Great Bible), and Geneva to be retained as far as possible; and ecclesiastical terms such as "ecclesia" (which Tyndale had rendered "congregation'" not "church'') to be given their ecclesiastical flavour. In 1618 English delegates reporting to the Synod of Dort gave a very interesting summary of the work.

"After each section had finished its task twelve delogates chosen from them all, met together and reviewed and revised the whole work. Lastly the very Reverend the Bishop of Winchester, Bilson, togethor with Dr. Smith now Bishop of Gloucester, a. distinguished man, who had been deeply occupied with the whole work from the beginning, after all things had been maturely weighed and examined, put the finishing touch to this version.

The rules laid down for the translators were of this kind:

In the first place caution was given that an entirely now version was not to be furnished,but an old version,long received by the church,to be purged from all blemishes and faults; to this and there was to be no departure from the ancient translation, unless the truth of the original text or emphasis demanded.

Secondly,no notes were to be placed in the margin, but only parallel passages to be noted.

Thirdly, where a Hebrew or Greek word admits two meanings of a suitable kind, the one was to be expressed in the text, the other in the margin.

Fourthly, the more difficult Hebraisms and Graecisms were consigned to the margin.

Fifthly,in the translation of Tobit and Judith, when any great discrepancy is found between the Greek text and the old Vulgate Latin they followed the Greek text by preference.

Sixthly, that words which it was anywhere necessary to insert into the text to complete the meaning, were to be distinguished by another type small Roman.

Seventhly, that now arguments should be prefixed to ovary book, and now headings to every chapter.

Lastly, that a very perfect Genealogy and map of the Holy Land should be joined to the work."

Unfortunately very little is known concerning the actual work of translation but it is clear from the Preface of the Translators that there was no haste in the work and that it was thoroughly executed, great care being taken to obtain the best translation from all the material at hand. The aim is clearly stated in this Preface.

They tell us that their concern is not to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better,or out of many good ones one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against." Had it not been for this set purpose to provide the best of translations and one without such marginal notes as that on Exod.32:35 "The Pope's bull slayeth more than Aaron`s calf", our Bible would never have been what it is today, one to which every one, of whatever party or creed, can go for the truth of God.

The Authorized Version or the King James Bible was first published in a Black Letter folio in 1611 and there was a second issue the same year. Also in this year the New Testament was printed in the sane type in a l2mo edition. The first quarto edition in Roman type was in 1612 and the first folio in
the same type in 1616. Fifty editions of the King James Version had been issued by 1640.

The authorized Version as we have it today,however, differs greatly from these first editions. Various changes and alterations crept in some good and some bad, and the spelling differed widely e.g. "fet" instead of "fetched" instead of "since" and "mee" instead of "mere" and many others. It was not until the end of the eighteenth century that those and other alterations were made and a standardized version began to appear.

There is no doubt that the beauty of the language and the music of the Authorized Version can hardly be overestimated, "Its felicities are manifold, its music has entered into the very blood and marrow of English thought and speech, it has given countless proverbs and proverbial phrases oven to the unlearned and the irreligious." (Ancient and English Versions of the Bible p.204). It is the English language at its best.

Even Faber, converted to Roman Catholicism seems to look back to it with longing when he writes "who will say that the uncommon beauty and marvellous English of the Protestant Bible is not one of the great strongholds of heresy in this country? It lives on the ear like music that can never be forgotten,like the sound of church bells,which the convert scarcely knows how he can forego. Its felicities seen often to be almost things rather than words.

It is part of the national mind,and the anchor of the national seriousness. Nay, it is worshipped with a positive idolatry, in extenuation of whose fanaticism its intrinsic beauty pleads availingly with the scholar. The memory of the dead passes into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its verses.

It is the representative of a man`s best moments; all that there has been about him of soft,and gentle,and pure,and penitent,and good, speaks to him forever out of his English Bible. It is his sacred thing,which doubt never dined and controversy never soiled; and in the length and breadth of the land there is not a Protestant with one spark of religiousness about him whose spiritual biography is not in his Saxon Bible."

Another good point about the version was its rendering of the peculiar Hebrew idiom of repetition of words for emphasis; not that all these were peculiar to the Authorized Version; some had been in previous versions. Examples are Gen.2:16 "thou mayest freely eat (margin "eating thou shalt eat"); Gen.2:17"thou shalt surely die"(margin"dying thou shalt die"); Isa.24:20"the earth shall real to and frot'(Heb."staggering shall stagger"); Isa.26:3"perfect peace" (margin"peace, peace").

The one great weakness of the version was its deliberate translation of the same word in the original by different words in the translation. It was this which added greatly to the Musical rhythm of the language but,on the other hand, it obscured the Meaning often and likewise sometimes failed to bring out rhetorical points made in the original.

Examples are:--

(1) The use of the word. rendered "destroy" in Rom 6:6 which is used 27 times in the New Testament and rendered in 17 different ways e,g.Ron,3:3 "make void"' 1 Cor.l:28"bring to nought", 2 Cor.3:13 "abolish" etc..

(2)Luke 7:50 and Luke 17:19 where the same word is rendered "saved" in one case and "made whole's in the other.

(3) 1 Cor.3:17 "If any man defile the temple of God him shall God destroy" where both "defile" and "destroy" are exactly the same in the Greek thus taking all the sting out of the apostle's deliberate use of the same word. The publication of the King James Version by no means put an end to the translation of the Bible.

As early as 1653 a bill was brought before the Long Parliament urging the investigation of the advisability of a further translation. This would undoubtedly have been carried out but for the dissolution of the Parliament and the commencement of the civil war. At the beginning of the 18th century Dr.John Mill published his edition of the Greek New Testament.

This was the first Greek Testament which made any real attempt to give a critical apparatus of variant readings on which scholars could base their ideas as to the correct text. This fresh scholarship produced a flood of translations both in prose and verse. The translations were along the same line as the change in English literature during the period, some colloquial and some in the more dignified style of the day.

Brief mention may be made of four of those:

New Testament translation by Mace in 1729. This was intended to be correct and based on the best MS., but also to break away from the traditional language and phrasing. Examples of its renderings are 1 Cor,7:36 "If any man thinks it would be a reflexion on his manhood to be a stale bachelor"; 1 Cor,13:4 "Social affection is patient, is kind",

John Wesley`s New Testament published in 1755.

It was published with notes "for plain unlettered men who understand only their Mother Tongue"
It is a good rendering midway between familiarity and stiffness. His rendering of part of 1 Cor.l3 is as follows —"Love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love acteth not rashly,is not puffed up: doth not behave indecently,seeketh not her own,is not provoked, thinketh no evil....When I

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