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How Old Is The King James Bible

Modern Spelling Version Of The 1599 Geneva Bible

Holy Bible OLD TESTAMENT GENESIS Chapter 1-10 [King James Version]

In 2006, Tolle Lege Press released a version of the 1599 Geneva Bible with modernised spelling, as part of their 1599 Geneva Bible restoration project. The original cross references were retained as well as the study notes by the Reformation leaders. In addition, the Early Modern English glossary was included in the updated version. The advisory board of the restoration project included several ProtestantChristian leaders and scholars.

Earliest Known Draft Of King James Bible Is Found Scholar Says

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By Jennifer Schuessler

The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration.

But now, in an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, an American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.

The notebook, which dates from 1604 to 1608, was discovered by Jeffrey Alan Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who announced his research on Wednesday in an article in The Times Literary Supplement.

While the notebook has yet to be examined by other scholars, experts who have reviewed Professor Millers research called it perhaps the most significant archival find relating to the King James Bible in decades.

David Norton, an emeritus professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and the author of several books about the King James Bible, called it a major discovery if not quite equal to finding a draft of one of Shakespeares plays, getting on up there.

I thought that would be my great discovery, he recalled.

The Cultural Legacy Of The King James Bible

From Handels Messiah to Coolios Gangstas Paradise, the King James Bible has inspired a wide swath of cultural expression across the English-speaking world over generations. Writers from Herman Melville to Ernest Hemingway to Alice Walker have drawn on its cadences and imagery for their work, while quoted the King James Version of Isaiah in his famous I Have a Dream speech.

Beyond the countless artists and leaders inspired by the King James Bible, its influence can be seen in many of the expressions English speakers use every day. Phrases like my brothers keeper,the kiss of death,the blind leading the blind,fall from grace,eye for an eye and a drop in the bucketto name only a fewall owe their existence, or at least their popularization in English, to the KJV.

From the early 20th century onward, mainstream Protestant denominations increasingly turned toward more modern Bible translations, which have been able to provide more accurate readings of the source texts, thanks to the use of more recently discovered ancient Semitic texts unavailable in 1611. Still, the King James Version remains extremely popular. As late as 2014, a major study on The Bible in American Life found that 55 percent of Bible readers said they reached most often for the King James Version, compared with only 19 percent who chose the New International Version, first published in 1978 and updated most recently in 2011.

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Why Did King James Want A Newly Translated Bible

Before James commissioned the KJV in 1604, most people in England were learning from two different Bibles the Church of England’s translation, commonly read during worship services , and the more popular version most Brits read at home, known as the Geneva Bible, first published in 1560. The Geneva Bible was the Bible of choice among Protestants and Protestant sects, and as a Presbyterian, James also read that version. However, he disliked the lengthy and distracting annotations in the margins, some of which even questioned the power of a king, according to Gordon.

What’s more, when James assumed the English throne in March 1603, following the death of Queen Elizabeth I, he inherited a complicated political situation, as the Puritans and the Calvinists religious followers of reformer John Calvin were openly questioning the absolute power of the Church of England’s bishops. James’ own mother Mary, Queen of Scots had been executed 16 years earlier in part because she was perceived to be a Catholic threat to Queen Elizabeth’s Protestant reign. “Mary’s death made James keenly aware of how easily he could be removed if he upset the wrong people,” Gordon said.

James died from a stroke in March 1625, so he never saw his Bible become widely accepted. But even during his lifetime, after James commissioned the translation, he didn’t oversee the process himself. “It’s almost as if he got the ball rolling, then washed his hands of the whole thing,” Gordon said.

Bringing The Bible Directly To The People


Printing had already been invented, and made copies relatively cheap compared to hand-done copies, says Carol Meyers, a professor of religious studies at Duke University. The translation into English, the language of the land, made it accessible to all those people who could read English, and who could afford a printed Bible.

Whereas before, the Bible had been the sole property of the Church, now more and more people could read it themselves. Not only that, but the language they read in the King James Bible was an English unlike anything they had read before. With its poetic cadences and vivid imagery, the KJV sounded to many like the voice of God himself.

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Lilitu: The Sumerian Lilith

The antecedent of Lilith is the female demons known from Mesopotamian legends as lilû or lilitu.

In one of the Sumerian poems of Gilgamesh, Gilgames and the Netherworld, there is a prologue about Inanna and her willow tree.

The solitary willow tree was on the bank of the river Euphrates, when it was uprooted by a very fierce storm. Inanna found the tree floating down the Euphrates, so she picked up tree from the water, and planted the tree in Uruk. She did so because she could later use the timber to make her pure throne and pure bed. Inanna had used her foot to plant the tree and water it with care.

Though the tree had grown stout and its bark had not split, it was infested with evil vermin. There was snake at the base or roots, which she could not remove with any spell . There was a Thunderbird had a nest on the branch with young. And there was also phantom maid or Demon-Maiden that made her home at the trunk.

It is this Demon-Maiden or phantom maid, which some had translated from lilitu . Like in the passage of biblical Isaiah, the poem doesnt give any name to the she-demon. The Demon-Maiden laughed happily because the goddess was powerless to remove these vermins.

Gilgames and the Netherworld

The goddess first appealed to her father, An , the Sky God, for help, but he refused. She also appealed to her brother, Utu , the Sun God, but no help was forthcoming from him.

Gilgames and the Netherworld

Literary Genius And Legacy

Is it a coincidence of history that the King James Bible was produced during the reign of one of Englands greatest literary kings? James wrote commentaries on Scripture, original poetry, and a treatise on poetics. He produced works on political theory, a manual on kingship, and even writings on witchcraft and tobacco. He was a patron of William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Sir Francis Bacon.

The King James Bible is considered a masterpiece of Jacobean prose, with many considering the translators of the Authorized Version to be the greatest concentration of literary talent to ever enjoy royal sponsorship in England. Despite the political intrigue and impetus behind the translation, the beauty, scholarship and authority make the King James Bible a lasting legacy of King James I, an eternal gift to Christians, the church universal and the whole of humankind.

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More On The King James Bible

Campbell adds that this Bible is foundational to the English-speaking world. “It’s in the texture of our society rather than on the surface of it, I think. But if you trace back who we are, how we speak, how we think, many of those things have their origins in the King James Bible.”

He and others say that new translations will come and go, as our language changes with each generation. But as long we can understand the King James Bible, this four-century-old book will be seen as the voice of God â and the highest poetry of man.

Correction April 18, 2011

The audio and a previous Web version of this story incorrectly identified a Bible verse quoted by President George W. Bush after the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster as originating in the King James Version. It actually came from the New International Version.

Considerations For A New Version

KJV Old Scofield Study Bible

The newly crowned King James convened the Hampton Court Conference in 1604. That gathering proposed a new English version in response to the perceived problems of earlier translations as detected by the Puritan faction of the Church of England. Here are three examples of problems the Puritans perceived with the Bishops and Great Bibles:

First, Galatians iv. 25 . The Greek word susoichei is not well translated as now it is, bordereth neither expressing the force of the word, nor the apostle’s sense, nor the situation of the place. Secondly, psalm cv. 28 , ‘They were not obedient ‘ the original being, ‘They were not disobedient.’ Thirdly, psalm cvi. 30 , ‘Then stood up Phinees and prayed,’ the Hebrew hath, ‘executed judgment.’

The committees started work towards the end of 1604. King James VI and I, on 22 July 1604, sent a letter to Archbishop Bancroft asking him to contact all English churchmen requesting that they make donations to his project.

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The Real Reason The King James Bible Was Created

The King James Bible, sometimes called the King James Version , is one of the most revered religious texts in the world, and it’s certainly one of the most popularly used by different branches of the Christian religion. According to the Christian Post, the KJV is used by Mormons, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and Baptists, among others. The Catholic Church, the most old school of all the Christian denominations, most frequently uses the New American Bible’s English translation, as noted by Difference Between, though English other translations are also used. Then of course, there’s the Anglican Church, who among other translations, still uses the KJV, and they have a special relationship with this particular version.

Why The King James Bible Of 1611 Remains The Most Popular Translation In History

Not only was it the first ‘people’s Bible,’ but its poetic cadences and vivid imagery have had an enduring influence on Western culture.

In 1604, Englands King James I authorized a new translation of the Bible aimed at settling some thorny religious differences in his kingdomand solidifying his own power.

But in seeking to prove his own supremacy, King James ended up democratizing the Bible instead. Thanks to emerging printing technology, the new translation brought the Bible out of the churchs sole control and directly into the hands of more people than ever before, including the Protestant reformers who settled Englands North American colonies in the 17th century.

Emerging at a high point in the English Renaissance, the King James Bible held its own among some of the most celebrated literary works in the English language . Its majestic cadences would inspire generations of artists, poets, musicians and political leaders, while many of its specific phrases worked their way into the fabric of the language itself.

Even now, more than four centuries after its publication, the King James Bible remains the most famous Bible translation in historyand one of the most printed books ever.

King James I of England, 1621.

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Who Was King James And Why The King James Bible

While modern Bible translations have grown in use, the King James Version remains the most popular and most familiar of Bible translations. After all, the King James Bible was used for centuries it wasnt until the late 20th century that any other translation gained credible traction. Published in 1611, the poetic weight and beauty has had quite an impact on people and language, a standard of religious life in church and at home. Yet, what has become such a familiar and influential piece of English literature was not always that way.

In fact, while the text of the KJV is familiar, the man and the story behind its birth are less well known. This is a brief story about a king who determined to create a new Bible, not so much because he wanted common folk to have access to Gods Word in their mother tongue, but because he sought political peace in his kingdom. In so doing, his legacy became the greatest gift the world could know.

Variations In Recent Translations

King James Bible

A number of Bible verses in the King James Version of the New Testament are not found in more recent Bible translations, where these are based on modern critical texts. In the early seventeenth century, the source Greek texts of the New Testament which were used to produce Protestant Bible versions were mainly dependent on manuscripts of the late , and they also contained minor variations which became known as the Textus Receptus. With the subsequent identification of much earlier manuscripts, most modern textual scholars value the evidence of manuscripts which belong to the Alexandrian family as better witnesses to the original text of the biblical authors, without giving it, or any family, automatic preference.

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How Important Was The King James Bible

The commissioning of the King James Bible took place in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference outside of London. The first edition appeared in 1611. The King James version remains one of the greatest landmarks in the English tongue. It has decidedly affected our language and thought categories, and although produced in England for English churches, it played a unique role in the historical development of America. Even today, many consider the King James Bible the ultimate translation in English and will allow none other for use in church or personal devotions. However, the story behind the creation of this Bible translation is little known and reveals an amazing interplay of faith and politics, church and state. To understand what happened, we need to go back to the world of the early 17th century.

Try to imagine what it was like to live in the England of 1604. Theirs was not a world like ours where speed, change, and innovation are consciously cultivated and thoughtlessly celebrated. Their world moved at a much slower pace and continuity was prized over change. In their world, the crowning of a new monarch was a grand event that deeply affected the life and identity of the nation. The monarch would rule for life. There was no continuous cycle of election campaigns in their world as there is in ours.

King James Only Movement

The King James Only movement advocates the belief that the King James Version is superior to all other English translations of the Bible. Most adherents of the movement believe that the Textus Receptus is very close, if not identical, to the original autographs, thereby making it the ideal Greek source for the translation. They argue that manuscripts such as the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, on which most modern English translations are based, are corrupted New Testament texts. One of them, Perry Demopoulos, was a director of the translation of the King James Bible into Russian. In 2010 the Russian translation of the KJV of the New Testament was released in Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2017, the first complete edition of a Russian King James Bible was released. In 2017, a Faroese translation of the King James Bible was released as well.

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Suspended Letters And Dotted Words

There are four words having one of their letters suspended above the line. One of them, , is due to an alteration of the original out of reverence for rather than say that Moses’ grandson became an idolatrous priest, a suspended letter nun was inserted to turn Mosheh into Menasheh ” rel=”nofollow”> Manasseh). The origin of the other three is doubtful. According to some, they are due to mistaken majuscular letters according to others, they are later insertions of originally omitted weak consonants.

In fifteen passages within the Bible, some words are stigmatized i.e., dots appear above the letters. The significance of the dots is disputed. Some hold them to be marks of erasure others believe them to indicate that in some collated manuscripts the stigmatized words were missing, hence that the reading is doubtful still others contend that they are merely a mnemonic device to indicate homiletic explanations which the ancients had connected with those words finally, some maintain that the dots were designed to guard against the omission by copyists of text-elements which, at first glance or after comparison with parallel passages, seemed to be superfluous. Instead of dots some manuscripts exhibit strokes, vertical or else horizontal. The first two explanations are unacceptable for the reason that such faulty readings would belong to Qere and Ketiv, which, in case of doubt, the majority of manuscripts would decide. The last two theories have equal probability.


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