The Truth: He Had Nothing To Do With It
Britannica says outright that William Shakespeare did not write the King James Bible. They also point out the vast difference between Shakespeare’s writing style and the one used in the KJB. So, even though Shakespeare was a literary phenom and the KJB was a great literary feat of his era, there’s really no evidence linking the two to each other. “But what about all the 46s?” the conspiracy theorists ask from the back. Well, even if that “evidence” was as straightforward as it sounds, it wouldn’t be very convincing. The fact is, it’s not straightforward at all.
According to Apologetics Press, you can’t find “shake” and “spear” in the proper spots without first omitting the word “selah” from Psalm 46. “Selah” was used in the text as a kind of artful punctuation word, but the conspiracy gets less credible when you have to delete even artful words to make it happen. On top of that, both “shake” and “spear” are used many times throughout the KJB, and were present in the Hebrew versions of Psalm 46 long before Shakespeare was born. If that’s not enough, both the translation process and Shakespeare’s life were fairly well-documented, and neither mentioned one having anything to do with the other. The chances of Shakespeare working on the KJB are slim to none.
The Kjv Was The Same Bible For 300 Years
In fact, many alterations, updates, and improvements were made over the centuries, some small, some large. The main issues were some of the problems in the 1611 edition but also errors in the printing itself. But there were also attempts to update the language starting at least in the 1700s.
What marked the difference between these improvements and later new translations, is the fact that these revisions were done charitably and not as a replacement to the KJV.
The changes made to the KJV are typical for any modern Bible. In most cases, changes were based on a motivation to get beyond 17th-century language. John Wesley, for example, issued a revision of the New Testament, though he avoided associating with the KJV by name. His goal was not to ruin the reputation of the KJV but to make the Bible accessible to new converts.
The important point for today is the fact that the KJV was never considered untouchable until the 20th century. For most of church history, the main complaint was the language, though, after the discovery of older New Testament manuscripts in the 1800s, it became clear a better translation was needed to remove a few passages from the Textus Receptus.
For a video presentation, this video can be found on my YouTube channel
Ryan Reeves is associate professor of historical theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and he serves as dean of the Jacksonville campus. He and his wife, Charlotte, have three children. You can .
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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Fuller Doctrinally Superior Text
The New Testament of the KJV, as with the NKJV, is based on the Textus Receptus, a variety of the Byzantine family of New Testament manuscripts. Many popular translations are based on the Nestle-Aland text , which is based on the Alexandrian family of manuscripts. Translations based on these Alexandrian readings omit or cast doubt on many important words and verses: e.g. The ending of Mark , The story of the adulteress , The conclusion to the Lords Prayer , The angel at the pool , The confession of the Ethiopian eunuch , Matthew 12:47, Matthew 17:21, Mathew 18:11, Matthew 21:44, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 22:43, Luke 22:44, Luke 23:17, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24, 1 John 5:7. It is generally accepted even by proponents of the Alexandrian texts that the Textus Receptus readings are doctrinally superior. The main page of this website has links to pages defending the Textus Receptus.
What King James Hath Wrought
Many Oxbridge colleges have alumni or other connections to the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. Include the following on your go-see.
Cambridge, Emmanuel College, St. Andrews Street www.emma.cam.ac.uk
Emma was founded in 1584 by the Puritan Sir Walter Mildmay, a chief aim being to educate Protestant ministers, and he insisted that Laurence Chaderton become first Master to set the tone. KJV Translator Chaderton lived to a rare old age of almost 103, and his remains lie beneath an inscribed slab in the chapel. There is also a 19th-century stained-glass window to him, as well as to other alumni who have played a part in the history of the Church: including John Harvard, who emigrated to New England in 1637 and bequeathed funds for the university that bears his name. Emmanuel is normally open to the public 8 a.m.6 p.m. daily.
Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Merton Street www.ccc.ox.ac.uk
Founded in 1517, Corpus played an important role in the religious disputes of the 16th17th centuries. John Rainolds, seventh president , led the Puritans who met the bishops at the Hampton Court Palace conference 1604. A key organizer and Translator of the KJV, he was a member of The First Oxford Company and held weekly meetings in his college lodgings. Theres a wall monument to Rainolds in the chapel adjoining the beautiful main quad. Corpus is open to the public most afternoons .
Merton College, Merton Street, www.merton.ox.ac.uk
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Why Is The Kjv Still Popular Today
For a book that was published in 1611, it’s amazing how influential and widely read the KJV still is today. Though there are hundreds of versions and translations of the Bible, the KJV is the most popular. According to market research firm Statistica, as of 2017, more than 31% of Americans read the KJV, with the New International Version coming in second place, at 13%. Five large denominations of Christianity Baptist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Latter-day Saints and Pentecostal use the KJV today.
The KJV “works as both a word-for-word and sense-for-sense translation,” meaning it acts as both a literal translation of many of the words believed to have been used by Jesus Christ and his Apostles and accurately conveys the meaning behind those words and events, Gordon said. One line of manuscripts used in the KJV the Textus Receptus of Erasmus, translated from Greek to Latin by the 16th-century Dutch scholar and philosopher Desiderius Erasmus is thought by some to be a particularly important inclusion in the KJV, especially for those who see it as the purest line of the New Testament going back to the Apostolic Age , Gordon said.
Despite the KJV’s popularity throughout the centuries, Gordon said some scholars now view parts of it as outdated. He cautioned that there have been other ancient manuscripts discovered since the KJV was commissioned that enhance scholars’ understanding of some biblical events and possibly even change the meaning of certain words.
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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Who Actually Translated The King James Bible
The book is called the King James Bible , and while the bulk of the translation wasn’t written by King James himself, that doesn’t mean none of it was. King James, like most of the nobles of the day, was highly educated, and according to Time, he actually did translate some of the Psalms personally. The rest, however, was contracted out. He was trying to get all the churches in his lands to use one official copy in an attempt to quell rising tensions between Christian factions, and for that, he needed it finished faster than one man could handle.
The lead on the translation was John Rainolds, president of Corpus Christi College. Britannica says the committee under him was composed of 47 clergymen and scholars who worked on the project at Rainolds’ university before the project entered an intense peer-review-like process where they poured over the words to come up with the best way to construct each individual phrase. Rainolds ended up dying before he could see the work finished, but at least he got to see it while it was being worked on. Do you know who likely never saw the manuscript until it was in print? William Shakespeare.
The King James Bible 1611 History And Provenance
Professor Bill Gibson
William Gibson is Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History at Oxford Brookes University. He is a specialist in the church history of England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and has written on church and state in this period. His most recent books have been Britain 1660- 1851: The Making of the Nation, Constable Robinson, 2011 and James II and the Trial of the Seven Bishops, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. He is currently editing the Oxford Handbook of the Modern British Sermon 1689- 1901 for Oxford University Press.
This brief article is the text of a lecture delivered at the annual Kingdom Lecture series for the Parishes of St Martins and All Saints, Ealing Common, London in November 2011. As such it is not intended as a work of research, rather an attempt to offer some more accessible aspects of the antecedents, creation and afterlife of the King James Version of the Bible. The lecture considers the range of translations of the Bible before 1611, the reasons why a Bible was needed in 1611, the process of constructing the King James Version of the Bible, and the afterlife of the King James Bible and especially its language.
TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE BEFORE 1611
God is my shepherd therefore I can lack nothing: he will cause me to repose myself in pastures full of grass and he will lead me unto calm waters
THE REASONS WHY A BIBLE WAS NEEDED IN 1611
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Creating The King James Bible Was A Collaborative Effort
While it may be tempting to think that the translation of the King James Bible was done by one dedicated person laboring away in a scriptorium or library somewhere, it was actually done by committee. That is, a seriously big committee. James, it seems, wasn’t messing around when it came to the pedigree of his namesake translation. All told, it took about 47 scholars to translate the new Bible, which was published in 1611, according to NPR. Of course, there is plenty of evidence that it took quite a long time to get to that finished product. The New York Times reports that one translator’s notebook, which covers the years 1604 to 1608, appears to have some of the earliest King James Bible translations yet uncovered.
James also appears to have leaned on his political influence to get different Christian sects to agree on a new translation. Per NPR, before the King James Bible was officially underway, he specifically took both mainline church officials and the more rebellious Puritans and pushed them to work together. Anyone who asked would have been told that it was an attempt to get the two warring groups to reach agreements on things like church procedures. However, James maneuvered the meeting in such a way that he was able to suggest a new translation of the Bible to make everyone happy.
The Translators Were Experts In Hebrew Greek And Latin
The KJV builds on the scholarship exhibited in previous English Bibles which date back to Tyndale and Wycliffe two godly contenders of the faith and the written Word. The 47 translators of the KJV were masters in Hebrew and/or Greek, as well as in cognate languages such as Aramaic, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, etc. . Elizabethan and Jacobean scholars were trained in grammar schools in their youth schools where the study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and English were emphasized. Many modern scholars who are proficient in Greek are not proficient in Latin. Latin has dropped as an ecclesiastical language in Protestant schools. However, many resources that can shed light on textual and translation variants appear in Latin glosses and writings produced over a span of 1000+ years. All the KJV translators were proficient in Latin.
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Conformity With Greek Structure And Style
In the New Testament, the KJV often follows the Greek word order more closely than most translations. For example, Matthew 17:19 says, Then came the disciples to Jesus. This syntax, which has the verb preceding the subject, may seem peculiar to contemporary English-speaking audiences but the word order in the KJV follows the Greek word order . Mimicking the exact style and structure of the Greek can sometimes preserve what is emphasized in the Greek. Another feature common in the KJV is the historical present tense. The KJV often uses the present tense to describe past action: e.g. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John . This is because the KJV faithfully translates the Greek which is also in the present tense. Greek writers used the historical present tense to add emphasis to important past actions. The historical present tense has the effect of making past narratives more vivid. Modern translations unfortunately tend to translate the historical present tense in the simple past tense.
The Rumor: Shakespeare Wrote The King James Bible
William Shakespeare was still alive when the King James Bible was underway in 1610 he would’ve been 46 years old. It’s possible you’ve heard that Shakespeare was the one who translated the original KJB or, at least, that he was one of the translators who worked on the religious text. This rumor has grown so pervasive that many believe it without knowing where they’d learned it. In fact, some truly believe they’ve found “proof” of the master wordsmith’s work hidden in the pages of the document.
As Eden explains, Shakespeare had written for King James more than once, and this, to them, counts as evidence that the author may have also written part of the KJB. They also claim that the stylings in the Old Testament Book of Psalms are too poetic to be the work of the dry scholars known to have translated this particular work, but one final clue locks it in for many conspiracy theorists out there. Apparently, in Psalm 46, the 46th word from the beginning is “shake” while the 46th word from the end is “spear,” and since Shakespeare would’ve been 46 when the translation work was underway in 1610, there’s no possible conclusion other than he wrote it. Of course, cryptic coincidences that take this much of a stretch to connect rarely count as evidence to credible scholars. This isn’t “The Da Vinci Code.”
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Who Wrote The King James Bible
Let there be light. My brothers keeper. Fight the good fight. A number of the most well-known phrases in the English language originated not in novels, plays, or poems but in a seminal translation of the Bible, the King James Version , which was published in 1611 at the behest of King James I of England. It is likely the most famous translation of the bible and was the standard English Bible for nearly three centuries. Many people think that its so named because James had a hand in writing it, but thats not the case. As king, James was also the head of the Church of England, and he had to approve of the new English translation of the Bible, which was also dedicated to him.
So if James didnt write it, who did? To begin with, theres no single author. One individualRichard Bancroft, the archbishop of Canterburywas notable for having the role of overseer of the project, something akin to a modern editor of a collection of short stories. The actual translating of the KJV was done by a committee of 47 scholars and clergymen over the course of many years. So we cannot say for certain which individual wrote a given passage.
The Translation May Have Seriously Backfired On The Monarchy
With the debut of the King James Bible, though it would be some time until the translation really began to take hold, at least King James himself could rest a little easier knowing that something had been accomplished in his name. Too bad his son couldn’t feel the same way.
That’s because, despite snipping out those worrisome annotations that could be found in the Geneva Bible and perhaps massaging other translations to be more favorable to rulers, the King James Bible didn’t fully quash the anti-royal sentiment. According to History, because the faithful could now more easily read passages for themselves, they happened upon verses that still managed to question the British monarchy and certainly didn’t lead the country away from a looming civil war. Consider Deuteronomy 17, which acknowledges the necessity of rulers, but also notes that they need to reign it in, saying that “neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Pretty awkward for the notoriously fancy and oftentimes spendy rulers of Europe.
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