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KJV Lecture Published

June 29, 2011

A slightly revised version of my Ethel Wood Lecture (02 Feb 2011) has now appeared in the latest issue of Expository Times (vol. 122, issue 10, July 2011, pp. 478-89):  “The King James Bible and Biblical Scholarship”.  I mentioned my main points in an earlier posting (05 Feb) on this site, so I won’t go into detail here.  Essentially, I focus on the KJV as itself a product of biblical scholarship of its time, and then propose that it contributed to the further development of biblical scholarship, finally suffering criticism from that scholarship, especially for the pre-critical Greek NT text on which the translators had to rely.

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6 Comments
  1. Bill Mitchell permalink

    I look forward to reading the article.

    As regards the ‘translators’ observation, I have found the 1611 preface “The Translators to the Reader” quite illuminating.

    As regards the text, David Norton’s “A Textual History of the King James Bible” a ‘must-read’.

  2. Blue permalink

    ‘Essentially, I focus on the KJV as itself a product of biblical scholarship of its time, and then propose that it contributed to the further development of biblical scholarship, finally suffering criticism from that scholarship, especially for the pre-critical Greek NT text on which the translators had to rely.’ larryhurtado

    I look forward to reading the transcript of your lecture (or parts thereof).

    Peace
    Eric.

  3. The history of the effects generated by the KJV would be very interesting. The KJV has a “daughter” in Romanian, published in 2009 by a group of (American) Fundamentalist Baptists who think that only the KJV gives us all the words of God and who therefore rendered the English text into Romanian more faithfully than the KJV translators have rendered the Greek/Hebrew. Trying to reason with the members of this group is useless. If KJV was good enough for Jesus to quote from it, it’s good enough for them!

    • Yes, the KJV has had an influence (which I didn’t address in my lecture) on translations into other languages. Indeed, in several cases, these were translations of the KJV, not of the Hebrew or Greek texts.
      The ideological stance you describe is, however, a much later development. As in other such cases, it is a reactionary stance, and so entirely modernist in time and nature!

  4. I look forward to reading your Expository Times article.

    I wonder if it is accurate to refer to the KJV as a ‘translation’ and the various committee members who produced it as ‘translators.’ According to Peter Ackroyd in his wonderful book, Albion (2002, p. 299) 90 percent of the KJV is from the translation of the martyred Tyndale of a century before.

    • As others have noted, the “translators” (and that’s how they were designated and saw themselves) were instructed to produce a version that differed as little as necessary from the Bishops’ Bible, but that made its key base the Hebrew and Greek texts. The translators in fact compared and consulted a variety of prior translations in several languages. Tyndale’s pioneering translation was certainly influential in the KJV, but that is likely because it was influential in varying degrees on nearly every English translation that appeared between his work and the KJV.

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