Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On this day in history, the King James Bible

The Bible has been around for a few millennia in certain forms. The Old Testament has been held sacrosanct since before Jesus was born. The present rendition was put together around 300 AD. The canonization of the Scriptures is fascinating, but we'll broach the topic at a later date. The Old Testament was mostly written in Ancient Hebrew. The New Testament was largely written in Greek. Then it was translated into Latin. For a long time the Latin translation was the only option for Bible readers. This was rather unpalatable for the English who wanted a version for themselves.

The English had a go at the translation earlier than the King James Version. The Wycliffe Bible was published in the 15th century, but was banned. King Henry VIII had yet to split with the Church so most priests decided that an English version was not only unnecessary, but heretical. William Tyndale had a go at publishing the Bible in English in 1525 that served as King Henry VIII's template for the Great Bible. It also served as a template for the Geneva Bible, an English language Bible printed in Geneva, Switzerland by English ex-pats. The English not living life abroad however, wanted something English made. They produced the Bishop's Bible. The Bishop's Bible would go on to be the base text for the King James Bible we're talking about today.

The KJV was printed by Robert Barker, the Royal Printer in 1611. It sold for ten or twelve shillings depending on the binding. Barker was meticulous in his first printing, but subsequent printing produced the Wicked Bible. The Wicked Bible misquoted Scripture saying, "Thou shalt commit adultery". The Wicked Bible was destroyed, but countless humans have followed the mantra of the Wicked Bible, fornicating where ever and whenever they saw fit.

The KJV has been revised over the years, but it's initial publishing in 1611 marked a paradigm shift in the religious life of the faithful. For centuries, Christians relied on the Latin speaking clergy to relate to them in the common tongue the sayings of Jesus and the prophets that preceded him. The KJV marked the beginning of the end to a cleric dominated understanding of the Scriptures. It is for this reason that the printing of the KJV in 1611 makes us mark, this day in history....

No comments:

Post a Comment