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Leading up to the King James Translation

The King James Version (KJV) is right hailed as one of the great classics – arguably *the* great classic – of English literature.  But most people have no idea where it came from and how it came into existence.  And so I am going to take a side-path (OK, a tangent) in my thread to devote a few posts to the KJV, also known as the Authorized Version (AV). To start with, contrary to what a lot of people think, the KJV, which appeared in 1611 under, yup, King James of England, was not the first translation of the Bible into English.  Not even close.  The first English translation was by John Wycliff (or his followers), done long before, in 1382.  Wycliff, however, did not translate the Bible from the original languages, Hebrew and Greek, but from the Latin Vulgate.  That makes sense, since the Catholic church had always used the Latin version (ultimately going back to the fifth-century church father Jerome).  And almost no one in the 14th century even knew Greek and Hebrew, [...]

Where Did the King James Bible Come From?

What were the King James Bible translators actually translating?  You may not have known it from the previous two posts – but that is what I have been getting at, when talking about the first published edition of the Greek New Testament by Erasmus, and the subsequent editions.    The King James is deservedly considered of the greatest classics ever produced in the English language.  There can be no doubt about its enormous influence on English literature and the English language itself.  But as a study Bible, it is problematic – in part because of the Greek text (for the NT) that underlies it.  Here is how I explain all that, going back to my discussion yesterday about Erasmus. ***************************************************** The larger point I am trying to make, however, is that all of these subsequent editions of the Greek New Testament  – those of Stephanus included – ultimately go back to Erasmus’s editio princeps, which was based on some rather late, and not necessarily reliable, Greek manuscripts – the ones he happened to find in Basle [...]

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