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Christian Belief



Bible Translations.........continued.

was a child,I talked as a child,I understood as a child,I reasoned as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things. And now we see by means of a glass obscurely."

A "New and Literal Translation" was published in 1764 by a Quaker named Anthony Purver.

Examples of the rendering — Song of Solomon 2:12 — "Earths lap displays her infant flowers,the warbling spring is welcomed in, and hark how the turtle dove cooes in our clime". Matt.5:40-"And let him that will sue thee,and take thy coat,have also the waistcoat." The Lord`s Prayer—"Thus therefore do you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, sacredly reverenced be Thy Name; let Thy kingdom come; may Thy will be done, even on earth according as in Heaven; give us our daily bread today; and forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive those that trespass against us; and do not bring us into trial, but deliver us from wickedness; since the kingdom, power, and glory is Thine forever, so let it be."

A Translation by Dr.Edward Harwood in 1768.

Its title declared it to be "A Liberal Translation of the New Testament; Being an Attempt to translate the Sacred Writings with the same Freedom, Spirit and Elegance with which other English Translations from the Greek Classics have lately been executed." It was the style of the philosophers and learned writers of the day.

One example is suffieient,the Lord's Prayer — "In order to guard you from mistakes in this important concern I will propose the following as a model for your devotions — 0 Thou great governour and parent of universal nature — who manifestest thy glory to the blessed inhabitants of heaven — may all thy rational creatures in all parts of thy boundless dominion be happy in the knowledge of thy existence and providence, and celebrate thy perfections in a manner most worthy of thy nature and perfective of their own.

May the glory of thy moral government be advanced,and the great laws of it be more generally obeyed. May the inhabitants of this world pay as cheerful submission and as constant an obedience to thy will, as the happy spirits do in the regions of immortality — As Thou hast hitherto most mercifully supplied our wants, deny us not the necessaries and conveniences of life.

While Thou art pleased to continue us in it — Pardon the numerous errours and sins,, which we have been guilty of towards Thee; as we freely forgive and erase from our heart the injuries that our fellow creatures have done to us — Suffer no temptation to assault us too powerful for the frailty of our natures and the imperfection of our virtue — but in all our trials may thine almighty aid interpose and rescue us from vice and ruin — These requests we address unto Thee, for Thou art possessed of power which enables Thee to succour, and of goodness, which disposes to befriend all thy creatures and these thy glorious perfections will continue irriutable,and be the subjects of praise and adoration throughout all the ages of eternity! Amen"

f. The Revised Version.

As has been mentioned previously,revision of the Bible was always in the air but there were, among others, four principle reasons for the final proposal for a Revised Version. Those were:-

  1. the discovery of many more ancient MSS since the time of Tyndale and the ,Authorized Version, earlier MSS than they had access to; 
  2. the possibility of greater access to the writings of the ancient Fathers and the ability to make more use of them;
  3. the finding of better methods to enable scholars to discover the actual text of the biblical writers;
  4. the fact that many of the English words in the Authorized Version were out of date.

Forerunners of the actual promulgation of the Revision were Henry Alford and Conybeare and Howson with their learned commentaries and translations of the New Testament and the Epistles of Paul respectively.

Nothing was actually done in connection with the Revision until February 1870 when a resolution was moved in the Upper House of Convocation in the Province of Canterbury that a Committee of both Houses be appointed, together with one appointed by the Convocation of the Province of York to investigate the matter.

The Convocation of York deplored the revision and would not cooperate. The other Committee met on 24th March and reported to the Upper House in favour of the Revision. The report was carried unanimously. The report was also presented to the Lower House who endeavoured to keep the work of revision exclusively in the hands of Anglicans.

This was defeated and no Anglican scholars were invited to cooperate. Actually this was
the first time in the history of the English Bible that scholars not belonging to the Anglican Church had been invited to take part in the work.

The new Committee met on 25th May and decided to form two companies, one for the Old Testament and one for the New. They decided to lay down the following principles for the works:-

"To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorizod Version, consistently with faithfulness.

  1. To limit as far as possible, the expression of such alterations to the language of the :"authorized and earlier English Versions.
  2. Each company to go twice over the portion to be revised, once provisionally,the second time finally and on principles of voting as hereinafter is provided.
  3. That the text to be adopted be that for which the evidence is decidedly preponderating; and that when the text so adopted differs from that from which the Authorized was made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.
  4. To make or retain no change in the Text on the second final revision by each company, except two thirds of those present approve of the same, but on the first revision to decide by simple majorities.
  5. In every case of proposed alteration that may have given rise to discussion,to defer the voting thereupon till the next meeting when so ever the same shall be required by one third of those present at the meeting, such intended vote to be announced in the notice for the next meeting.
  6. To revise the headings of chapters, pages, paragraphs, italics, and punctuation.
  7. To refer, on the part of each Company, when considered desirable to Divines, Scholars and literary men, whether at home or abroad, for their opinions."

In both Companies most of the members were from the Anglican Church (though not necessarily Clergy) and in addition in the Old Testament Company there were three Prosbyterians, two Baptists, and one Congregationalist. In the New Testament Company there were three Presbyterians, one Baptist, one Congregationalist, one Methodist and one Unitarian (which incidentally caused rather a stir).

The Old Testament Company numbered eighteen, and the New Testament nineteen. Later American scholars were invited to join and eleven were added to the Old Testament Company and fifteen to the New. Before the completion of the work all the surviving revisers were able to meet together and give formal approval to the whole work.

The New Testament Company commenced work on 22nd June 1870 and sat for nearly ten and a half years. They met regularly for four consecutive days each month except August and September. They began work at 11:00 a.m. and continued, with half an hour break for lunch, till 6:00 p.m.. The average attendance was 16. The number of verses covered each day averaged about 35 and the work was completed on 11th November l880. The Old Testament Company commenced on 30th june 1870 and the work lasted fourteen years.

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