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BIBLE, ENGLISH

As further examples of this rendering we print the same passages from St Matthew:—

(Matthew iii. 1-4.) And in those dayes cometh Iohn the Baptist preaching in the desert of Ievvrie, saying. Doe penance: for the Kingdom of heauen is at hand. For this is he that vvas spoken of by Esay the Prophet, saying, A voyce of one crying in the desert, prepare ye the way of our Lord, make straight his pathes. And the sayd Iohn had his garment of camels heare, & a girdle of a skinne about his loynes: and his meate was locustes & vvilde honie.

(Matthew vi. 9-13.) Ovr Father which art in heauen, sanctified be thy name. Let thy Kingdom come. Thy wil be done, as in heauen, in earth also. Giue vs to day our supersubstantial bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation. But deliuer vs from evil. Amen.

The strongly Latinized vocabulary of this version was not without its influence on the next great venture in English translations of the Bible, the Authorized Version.[1]

The English Bible, which is now recognized as the Authorized Version wherever the English language is spoken, is a revision of the Bishops’ Bible, begun in 1604, and published in 1611. It arose incidentally out of a Conference The Authorized Version, 1611. between the High Church and the Low Church parties convened by James I. at Hampton Court Palace in January 1604, for the purpose of determining “things pretended to be amiss in the church,” and was originally proposed by Dr Reynolds, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the leader and spokesman of the Low Church party, and subsequently on the committee which revised the translation of the Prophets.

No real opposition was offered to the proposal, and the king cleverly sketched out on the moment a plan to be adopted. He “wished that some special pains should be taken in that behalf for one uniform translation—professing that he could never yet see a Bible well translated in English—and this to be done by the best learned in both the Universities; after them to be reviewed by the bishops and the chief learned of the Church; from them to be presented to the privy council; and lastly to be ratified by his royal authority; and so this whole church to be bound unto it and none other.”[2] He also particularly desired that no notes should be added by way of comment in the margin, since some of those in the Genevan Bible appeared to him “very partial, untrue, seditious and savouring too much of dangerous and traiterous conceits.”

The appointment of the revisers was a work of much responsibility and labour, and five months elapsed before they were selected and their respective portions assigned to them; but the list of those who began the work, and who, with some few changes in consequence of deaths, brought it to a happy conclusion, shows how large an amount of scholarship was enlisted. It includes Dr Andrewes, afterwards bishop of Winchester, who was familiar with Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Greek, Latin and at least ten other languages, while his knowledge of patristic literature was unrivalled; Dr Overall, regius professor of theology and afterwards bishop of Norwich; Bedwell, the greatest Arabic scholar of Europe; Sir Henry Savile, the most learned layman of his time; and, to say nothing of others well known to later generations, nine who were then or afterwards professors of Hebrew or of Greek at Oxford or Cambridge. It is observable also that they were chosen without reference to party, at least as many of the Puritan clergy as of the opposite party being placed on the committees.

The following list[3] is drawn up in such a way as to show the academical or other position which each of them occupied, and the particular part of the work on which they were engaged.


Genesis-2
Kings.
    Dr Lancelot Andrewes, dean of Westminster.
    Dr John Overall, dean of St Paul’s.
    Dr Hadrian de Saravia, canon of Canterbury.
    Dr Richard Clark, fellow of Christ’s Coll., Camb.
    Dr John Layfield, fellow of Trin. Coll., Camb.
    Dr Robert Teigh, archdeacon of Middlesex.
    Mr Francis Burleigh, Pemb. Hall, Camb., D.D., 1607.
    Mr Geoffrey King, fellow of King’s Coll., Camb.
    Mr Thompson, Clare Hall, Camb.
    Mr William Bedwell, St John’s Coll., Camb.
    Westminster.    
1 Chron.-
Eccles.
    Mr Edward Lively, fellow of Trin. Coll.
    Mr John Richardson, afterwards master of Trin. Coll.
    Mr Laurence Chatterton, master of Emm. Coll.
    Mr Francis Dillingham, fellow of Christ’s Coll.
    Mr Thomas Harrison, vice-master of Trin. Coll.
    Mr Roger Andrewes, afterwards master of Jesus Coll.
    Mr Robert Spalding, fellow of St John’s.
    Mr Andrew Byng, fellow of St Peter’s Coll.
Cambridge.
Isaiah-
Malachi.
    Dr John Harding, pres. of Magd. Coll.
    Dr John Reynolds, pres. of Corpus Christi Coll.
    Dr Thomas Holland, afterwards rector of Ex. Coll.
    Mr Richard Kilbye, rector of Lincoln Coll.
    Dr Miles Smith, Brasenose Coll.
    Dr Richard Brett, fellow of Lincoln Coll.
    Mr Richard Fairclough, fellow of New Coll.
Oxford.
The
Apocrypha.
    Dr John Duport, master of Jesus Coll.
    Dr William Branthwait, master of Caius Coll.
    Dr Jeremiah Radcliffe, fellow of Trin. Coll.
    Dr Samuel Ward, afterwards master of Sid. Coll.
    Mr Andrew Downes, fellow of St John’s Coll.
    Mr John Bois, fellow of St John’s Coll.
    Mr Robert Ward, fellow of King’s Coll.
Cambridge.
The Four
    Gospels, Acts,    
Apocalypse.
    Dr Thomas Ravis, dean of Christ Church.
    Dr George Abbot, dean of Winchester.
    Dr Richard Eedes, dean of Worcester.
    Dr Giles Thompson, dean of Windsor.
    Mr (Sir Henry) Saville, provost of Eton.
    Dr John Perin, fellow of St John’s Coll.
    Dr Ravens [fellow of St John’s Coll.]
    Dr John Harmer, fellow of New Coll.
Oxford.
Romans-
Jude.
    Dr William Barlow, dean of Chester.
    Dr William Hutchinson, archdeacon of St Albans.
    Dr John Spencer, pres. of Corp. Chr. Coll., Ox.
    Dr Roger Fenton, fellow of Pemb. Hall, Camb.
    Mr Michael Rabbett, Trin. Coll., Camb.
    Mr Thomas Sanderson, Balliol Coll., Oxford, D.D., 1605.    
    Mr William Dakins, fellow of Trin. Coll., Camb.
Westminster.


When this large body of scholars were set down to their task, an elaborate set of rules was drawn up for their guidance, which contained a scheme of revision as well as general directions for the execution of their work. This is one of the very few records that remain of their undertaking.[4]

“(1) The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called ‘the Bishops’ Bible,’ to be followed, and as little altered as the truth of the original will permit. (2) The names of the prophets and the holy writers, with the other names of the text to be retained as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used. (3) The old ecclesiastical words to be kept, viz. the word Church not to be translated Congregation, &c. (4) When a word hath divers significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the ancient fathers, being agreeable to the propriety of the place and the analogy of the faith. (5) The division of the chapters to be altered either not at all or as little as may be, if necessity so require. (6) No marginal notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek words which cannot, without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the text. (7) Such quotations of places to be marginally set down as shall serve for the fit reference of one Scripture to another. (8) Every particular man of each company to take the same chapter or chapters; and having translated or amended them severally by himself where he thinketh good, all to meet together, confer what they have done, and agree for their parts what shall stand. (9) As any one company hath dispatched any one book in this manner, they shall send it to the rest to be considered of seriously and judiciously, for his majesty is very careful in this point. (10) If any company, upon the review of the book so sent, doubt or differ upon any place, to send them word thereof, note the place, and withal send the reasons; to which if they consent not, the difference to be compounded at the general meeting, which is to be of the chief persons of each company at the end of the work. (11) When any place of special obscurity is doubted of, letters to be directed by authority to send to any learned man in the land for his judgment of such a place. (12) Letters to be sent from every bishop to the rest of his clergy, admonishing them of his

  1. See J. G. Carleton, The Part of Rheims in the Making of the English Bible (Oxford, 1902).
  2. Barlow, Sum and Substance of the Conference ... in Cardwell’s History of Conferences, pp. 187 f.
  3. Compiled chiefly from the list found in Cardwell’s Synodalia (ed. 1844), ii. 145-146, a reprint from Burnet’s Doc. Annals, ii. 106 ff., “who himself took his list from a copy belonging originally to Bishop Ravis.” The list is correct for the year 1604; cf. Westcott, op. cit. pp. 112 f.
  4. Quoted from G. Burnet’s Hist. of Reformation, ii. p. 368 (1861).