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These translations were banned in due to their association with the Lollards. Because the text of the various versions of the Wycliffe Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate , and because it also contained no heterodox readings, the ecclesiastical authorities had no practical way to distinguish the banned version; consequently, many Catholic commentators of the 15th and 16th centuries such as Thomas More took these manuscripts of English Bibles and claimed that they represented an anonymous earlier orthodox translation.

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Over the next ten years, Tyndale revised his New Testament in the light of rapidly advancing biblical scholarship, and embarked on a translation of the Old Testament. Under the leadership of John Calvin , Geneva became the chief international centre of Reformed Protestantism and Latin biblical scholarship. These English expatriates undertook a translation that became known as the Geneva Bible. At the same time, there was a substantial clandestine importation of the rival Douay—Rheims New Testament of , undertaken by exiled Roman Catholics.

This translation, though still derived from Tyndale, claimed to represent the text of the Latin Vulgate.

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That gathering proposed a new English version in response to the perceived problems of earlier translations as detected by the Puritan faction of the Church of England. Here are three examples of problems the Puritans perceived with the Bishops and Great Bibles :. First, Galatians iv.

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  • The Greek word susoichei is not well translated as now it is, bordereth neither expressing the force of the word, nor the apostle's sense, nor the situation of the place. Secondly, psalm cv. Instructions were given to the translators that were intended to limit the Puritan influence on this new translation.

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    The Bishop of London added a qualification that the translators would add no marginal notes which had been an issue in the Geneva Bible. James' instructions included several requirements that kept the new translation familiar to its listeners and readers. The text of the Bishops' Bible would serve as the primary guide for the translators, and the familiar proper names of the biblical characters would all be retained.

    If the Bishops' Bible was deemed problematic in any situation, the translators were permitted to consult other translations from a pre-approved list: the Tyndale Bible , the Coverdale Bible , Matthew's Bible , the Great Bible , and the Geneva Bible. In addition, later scholars have detected an influence on the Authorized Version from the translations of Taverner's Bible and the New Testament of the Douay—Rheims Bible.

    The task of translation was undertaken by 47 scholars, although 54 were originally approved. The committees included scholars with Puritan sympathies, as well as High Churchmen. Forty unbound copies of the edition of the Bishops' Bible were specially printed so that the agreed changes of each committee could be recorded in the margins. The committees started work towards the end of King James VI and I , on 22 July , sent a letter to Archbishop Bancroft asking him to contact all English churchmen requesting that they make donations to his project.

    Right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Whereas we have appointed certain learned men, to the number of 4 and 50, for the translating of the Bible, and in this number, divers of them have either no ecclesiastical preferment at all, or else so very small, as the same is far unmeet for men of their deserts and yet we in ourself in any convenient time cannot well remedy it, therefor we do hereby require you, that presently you write in our name as well to the Archbishop of York, as to the rest of the bishops of the province of Cant.

    Given unto our signet at our palace of West. They had all completed their sections by , the Apocrypha committee finishing first. The original printing of the Authorized Version was published by Robert Barker , the King's Printer, in as a complete folio Bible. Bitter financial disputes broke out, as Barker accused Norton and Bill of concealing their profits, while Norton and Bill accused Barker of selling sheets properly due to them as partial Bibles for ready money. In the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge successfully managed to assert separate and prior royal licences for Bible printing, for their own university presses—and Cambridge University took the opportunity to print revised editions of the Authorized Version in , [64] and This did not, however, impede the commercial rivalries of the London printers, especially as the Barker family refused to allow any other printers access to the authoritative manuscript of the Authorized Version.

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    Two editions of the whole Bible are recognized as having been produced in , which may be distinguished by their rendering of Ruth ; the first edition reading "he went into the city", where the second reads "she went into the city"; [67] these are known colloquially as the "He" and "She" Bibles. The original printing was made before English spelling was standardized, and when printers, as a matter of course, expanded and contracted the spelling of the same words in different places, so as to achieve an even column of text.

    Punctuation was relatively heavy and differed from current practice. On the contrary, on a few occasions, they appear to have inserted these words when they thought a line needed to be padded. The first printing used a black letter typeface instead of a roman typeface, which itself made a political and a religious statement. It was a large folio volume meant for public use, not private devotion; the weight of the type mirrored the weight of establishment authority behind it. In the Great Bible, readings derived from the Vulgate but not found in published Hebrew and Greek texts had been distinguished by being printed in smaller roman type.

    When, from the later 17th century onwards, the Authorized Version began to be printed in roman type, the typeface for supplied words was changed to italics , this application being regularized and greatly expanded.

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    This was intended to de-emphasize the words. The original printing contained two prefatory texts; the first was a formal Epistle Dedicatory to "the most high and mighty Prince" King James.

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    Many British printings reproduce this, while most non-British printings do not. The second preface was called Translators to the Reader , a long and learned essay that defends the undertaking of the new version. It observes the translators' stated goal, that they, "never thought from the beginning that [they] should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, Almost every printing that includes the second preface also includes the first. Much of this material became obsolete with the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar by Britain and its colonies in , and thus modern editions invariably omit it.

    So as to make it easier to locate a particular passage, each chapter was headed by a brief precis of its contents with verse numbers. Later editors freely substituted their own chapter summaries, or omitted such material entirely. Pilcrow marks are used to indicate the beginnings of paragraphs except after the book of Acts.

    The Authorized Version was meant to replace the Bishops' Bible as the official version for readings in the Church of England. The King's Printer issued no further editions of the Bishops' Bible , [60] so necessarily the Authorized Version replaced it as the standard lectern Bible in parish church use in England.


    The case was different in Scotland, where the Geneva Bible had long been the standard church Bible. It was not until that a Scottish edition of the Authorized Version was printed—in conjunction with the Scots coronation in that year of Charles I. However, official policy favoured the Authorized Version, and this favour returned during the Commonwealth—as London printers succeeded in re-asserting their monopoly on Bible printing with support from Oliver Cromwell —and the "New Translation" was the only edition on the market.

    Bruce reports that the last recorded instance of a Scots parish continuing to use the "Old Translation" i. Geneva as being in The Authorized Version ' s acceptance by the general public took longer. The Geneva Bible continued to be popular, and large numbers were imported from Amsterdam, where printing continued up to in editions carrying a false London imprint. During the Commonwealth a commission was established by Parliament to recommend a revision of the Authorized Version with acceptably Protestant explanatory notes, [80] but the project was abandoned when it became clear that these would nearly double the bulk of the Bible text.

    After the English Restoration , the Geneva Bible was held to be politically suspect and a reminder of the repudiated Puritan era.

    A small minority of critical scholars were slow to accept the latest translation. Hugh Broughton , who was the most highly regarded English Hebraist of his time but had been excluded from the panel of translators because of his utterly uncongenial temperament, [84] issued in a total condemnation of the new version. The Vulgate Latin is also found as the standard text of scripture in Thomas Hobbes 's Leviathan of , [88] indeed Hobbes gives Vulgate chapter and verse numbers e.

    In Chapter ' The Signification in Scripture of Kingdom of God ' , Hobbes discusses Exodus , first in his own translation of the ' Vulgar Latin ' , and then subsequently as found in the versions he terms " Hobbes advances detailed critical arguments why the Vulgate rendering is to be preferred. For most of the 17th century the assumption remained that, while it had been of vital importance to provide the scriptures in the vernacular for ordinary people, nevertheless for those with sufficient education to do so, Biblical study was best undertaken within the international common medium of Latin.

    It was only in that modern bilingual Bibles appeared in which the Authorized Version was compared with counterpart Dutch and French Protestant vernacular Bibles. In consequence of the continual disputes over printing privileges, successive printings of the Authorized Version were notably less careful than the edition had been—compositors freely varying spelling, capitalization and punctuation [90] —and also, over the years, introducing about 1, misprints some of which, like the omission of "not" from the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" in the " Wicked Bible ", [91] became notorious.

    The two Cambridge editions of and attempted to restore the proper text—while introducing over revisions of the original translators' work, chiefly by incorporating into the main text a more literal reading originally presented as a marginal note. By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the sole English translation in current use in Protestant churches, [10] and was so dominant that the Roman Catholic Church in England issued in a revision of the Douay-Rheims Bible by Richard Challoner that was very much closer to the Authorized Version than to the original.

    Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Hebrew, Greek and the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars and divines, and indeed came to be regarded by some as an inspired text in itself—so much so that any challenge to its readings or textual base came to be regarded by many as an assault on Holy Scripture. By the midth century the wide variation in the various modernized printed texts of the Authorized Version, combined with the notorious accumulation of misprints, had reached the proportion of a scandal, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge both sought to produce an updated standard text.

    First of the two was the Cambridge edition of , the culmination of 20 years' work by Francis Sawyer Parris , [96] who died in May of that year. This edition was reprinted without change in [97] and in John Baskerville 's fine folio edition of They undertook the mammoth task of standardizing the wide variation in punctuation and spelling of the original, making many thousands of minor changes to the text. In addition, Blayney and Parris thoroughly revised and greatly extended the italicization of "supplied" words not found in the original languages by cross-checking against the presumed source texts.

    Blayney seems to have worked from the Stephanus edition of the Textus Receptus , rather than the later editions of Theodore Beza that the translators of the New Testament had favoured; accordingly the current Oxford standard text alters around a dozen italicizations where Beza and Stephanus differ. Altogether, the standardization of spelling and punctuation caused Blayney's text to differ from the text in around 24, places.