Re: KJV translation (Was Re: The Flood Hoax)

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Wed Sep 18 2002 - 09:48:27 EDT

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "KJV (was The Flood Hoax)"

    George writes:

    > As Burgy points out, issues of translation don't affect the extreme
    > only" translation. But the absurd veneration that version is given by
    > shouldn't lead anyone to think that KJV was not, for its time, an
    > translation. Though they didn't have some important mss and resources we
    > today, King James' men were excellent scholars well versed (for 1611) in
    > original languages and, of course, in English.

    One mark of their excellence is their recognition of the great contributions
    of earlier English translations. About 90% of the KJV New Testament is
    either verbatim from or closely follows William Tyndale's superb version of
    1535. Tyndale once said that he wanted the Bible to be translated in such a
    way that "every ploughman" could read it with comprehension. He certainly
    succeeded, with such translations as "You cannot serve God and mammon."
    "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow." "out of darkness into his
    marvelous light." Anther translation, which in fact for several decades
    rivaled the KJV in popularity, was the Geneva Bible, issued in 1560 by
    English Puritan exiles living on the Continent. A significant portion of
    the KJV version of the prophets was taken, often verbatim, from the Geneva
    Bible. Some familiar phraseology from the GB NT: "in all these things we
    are more than conquerers through him that loved us"; "we have the mind of
    Christ"; "so great a cloud of witnesses."

         The translations of the OT that Miles Coverdale produced to complete
    Tyndale's Bible, and the version of the entire Bible he himself issued, were
    also highly prized. Although Coverdale's command of the ancient languages
    was not as strong as Tyndale's (and his version is based primarily upon the
    Vulgate), he had an unerring sense of what works in English, and much of his
    phraseology was carried over. Consider these phrases which came into the
    KJV: "till heaven and earth pass away"; "death is swallowed up in victory";
    "the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Episcopalians who
    grew up with the 1928 Prayerbook love Coverdale's translation of the
    Psalter; it was the liturgical psalter of that prayerbook, and I believe is
    still in the authorized 1662 Prayerbook of the Church of England. Many of
    its verses are burned into my brain: I cannot sing the "Venite" in any
    version but Coverdale's.

         To me, one of the ironic things about those who claim supreme authority
    for the KJV is that this version (of which there is no evidence that it was
    ever "authorized"), had tough going among the English populace for several
    decades; they prefered the Geneva Bible, which continued to be printed in
    England into the 1640s. The KJV was vociferously attacked by English
    critics, one of whom wrote an 800 page screed pointing out its errors. It
    took nearly a century and a half for this version to gain the admiration
    that it finally would obtain. Its history illustrates well that people
    don't like to have their Bible messed with.

    Bob Schneider

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