400 years on, the KJV is aging well

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Holy Bible

Holy BibleIT’S a book that has left its mark on centuries of human history, one seen by scholars as the finest example of English prose.

Presidents swear on it. Preachers sometimes thump it. You may not have read it, but you’ve probably quoted it.

The King James Bible turns 400 years old this year.

“There’s a divine witness, something that spoke to me and said what you have in your hand is the word of God,” said Pastor Jorge Castro of Rialto Bible Baptist Church.

Castro’s congregation, like many throughout the United States, touts itself as a King James Bible-believing church.

Having preached out of the King James Bible for 15 years and studied modern translations, Castro believes the King James Bible is the most faithful translation of what God intended to communicate through the Scriptures.

“All of the modern translations, I’ve had my hands on,” Castro said. “The King James Bible stands on its own.”

The King James Bible was not the first printed English translation of the Scriptures.

Some academics say by its publication in 1611, there were 50 different printed English versions of parts or all of the Bible, beginning with Protestant reformer William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament in 1526.

Tyndale’s work leaned on that of John Wycliffe, who produced in manuscript form the first English translation of the Bible, in the early 1380s.

In 1601, at a meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, a proposal was made to publish a new translation of the Bible. That meeting was attended by King James VI of Scotland, who would become King James I of England in 1603.

In 1604, James called the Hampton Court Conference, held outside of London, and the decision was made to work on a new Bible translation that would satisfy both the Puritans and the Church of England’s bishops.

According to the British Library, James summoned about 50 scholars to work on the translation.

Among other guidelines, translators were told to omit theological study notes from the Bishops’ Bible of 1568 because James considered them seditious and dangerous.

They also were told to not translate the word `church’ as `congregation,’ in a nod to the Church of England and its bishop-rule, which was rejected by many Protestants there.

Upon the King James Bible’s completion, the preface read, in part, “out of many good ones” there would now be “one principal good one” used by everyone.

Scholars estimate it retained roughly 80 percent of Tyndale’s work.

“I do know that the KJV was based on two other major accomplishments in (English) translations, I usually tell students, who might think that the KJV was a miracle of God speaking his words directly in English to the Hebrew and Greek secretaries of King James’ era,” said Bill Huntley, professor of religious studies at the University of Redlands.

‘Finest in prose’

Gordon Campbell, professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester and author of “Bible: the Story of the King James Version 1611-2011,” is unequivocal in his praise for the King James Bible as a literary masterpiece.

“If Shakespeare has the finest poetry, the King James is the finest in the prose department,” he said. Source: The Sun

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