from (2/1/2005):


By W.G. Broadbent" [Note: a Christian reaction (amusing and/or pathetic)]


"If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). The Devil accordingly has set out to destroy the Bible, so that the righteous will have no foundations for faith or teaching or knowledge of God and His purposes.

The deception of the modern Bibles is that they look like modern versions of the true Bible but they do the Devil's work in two respects:


          a.       In thousands of small changes they detract from the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the main the changes tend to the support of the views of those who deny the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, bodily resurrection, the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures and other fundamental doctrines.

          b.       They cannot be read and accepted without the readers also accepting that with all the different versions around, based on different Greek texts etc., that there is no way of knowing what is the true Bible.

The modern splurge of Bibles by this scholar and that proclaims that all these particular scholars admit and accept that there is no true Bible available. If they agreed there was a true text or true Bible, then they would not all produce things different. And the reader who accepts and uses these Bibles is also accepting that there is no true Bible that may be referred to, or he would not bother with anything other than that.

That the Devil has succeeded to produce this position today, is the greatest break-through he has had in his warfare against Christ and His Church since Pentecost.

All the modern variant versions are based on the so-called "Codex Vaticanus" [4th century (see Appendix II, 694)] of the Roman Catholic Church and other kindred texts from the stream of texts to which it belongs. The history of these texts has been clearly shown from the research work of godly men in recent years. These texts are the product of erroneous teaching in the second century and they were rejected by the virile Christianity of those stern times.


The true texts were preserved faithfully in another stream of copies and our Authorised Version ["King James Version", in the USA] which has come to us from and through these texts is the true Bible in the English language. The people of God who preserved the true texts over the centuries ever rejected the false texts with Apocrypha upon which the Roman Catholic versions are based. But now, "scholars" have elevated the spurious texts and they are deceiving God's people with them. Modern Christians are not proving as discerning as the people of God were in the early centuries or even in the dark ages. The Waldensians, the Huguenots, the Albigenses and the Reformers of the Reformation period all rejected what is now deceiving the modern Christians.

God made a perfect Book and intended it to be absolutely authoritative even to jots and titles of its text and of its thought and expressions. It was given "that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works". (2 Time 3:17).

Accordingly the suggestion that God has failed and that it is not now possible to know the actual Scriptures in word or detail—authoritatively - is a slander against the Almighty - and it is a wicked deception of Satan. God did something extraordinary when the Bible was set up in English, and became settled in the form that is called "The Authorised Version" ["King James Version", in the USA]. There had been a period of about one hundred years or more of English translation from the same stream of Greek texts, but in the reign of James the First the Bible came into use in English in a way that was obviously ordered to[?] God Himself. It is not called the "Authorised Version" because King James authorised it, for he did not presume to do such a thing. But because godly Christians everywhere recognized it and accepted it and acted upon it as the only true and authorised version for the Churches of God in English-speaking countries.

In the same way that the canon of Scripture became recognised by godly people after much heart-searching, and over a considerable period of time, so also did the English Bible become settled, accepted and loved and acted upon as the Bible by English-speaking peoples. And for three hundred years the Church has accepted the Authorised Version ["King James Version"] as the true Bible and has acted boldly upon ir [it] in every way. But now modernist scholars are seeking to set it aside, and thus is the work of Satan [see 2855] effected today.

It should be noted that all the modern versions are based on the Roman Catholic stream of Bible texts, in the places where they are at variance with the Authorised Version. Similarly it should be noted that no variant translations in English have been made based on the true texts from which the Authorised Version came to us. This is because the Authorised Version ["King James Version"] is completely satisfying and is the only true Bible in English which relates with the true Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek.


It should also be noted that the modern "translations" are the work of scholars who do not believe in the inspiration of Scripture and who deny the deity of Christ. Can any Christ-honouring Christian commit himself to and rely on the work of people who do not honour their Lord and whom they know from Scripture that God will not honour? Could God possibly have committed His Holy Word or His Church to the ministrations of such men?

The answer is sometimes given by people who are mystified by the references to this Hebrew or Greek text or that, that this is a realm for scholars only and that only those who are experts in Hebrew and Greek and in textual knowledge, have a right to treat in such matters and that the ordinary common Christian must rely on specialised scholarship for direction in this field.

The answer to this is that God [this author?] never commits His essential things to worldly scholarship. He does not prize it very highly. The consistent pattern of God's dealings in such matters is "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty: and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. I:27-29).

Thus it is that God did not rely on scholars to fix the canon of Scripture, but the common people of His Church, whom the scholars despise, has God used to recognise and give the Bible to the World. Similarly today, God is not using the world of scholarship to give a conflicting maze of different Bibles. Somebody else is doing that. God is still however causing simple true believing souls to recognise correctly what is of Himself. He has done this for English- speaking people since the English Bible became generally accepted by His saints, and He is still doing it. The Almighty laughs at "modern textual scholarship" which sets itself against Him and His Book, and Christ is spurning today the pedlars [pedlar: variant of peddler] of the scholars' products and the scholars likewise. The common believer who understands the English language only, may know His God, God's Christ, and the Holy Bible, as no modernist professor will ever do. He can manage without the Professor's help, because he has illumination spiritually from the Holy Ghost.

Actually the great professors are professing to try to understand the words of simple fishermen and other straight-forward people who are so unlike themselves that they have a lot of trouble with it. The common Christians of the Church are not so inhibited with such an incubus of doubt and they get the truth loud and clear while the professors are stumbling about in the murk, professing their doubt, depression and despondency.

How do we deal with this deception? There is only one thing to do with the deceptive unauthoritative Christ-dishonouring trash Bibles of our age. - '[sic]That is to get them out of our houses. And let us elevate and treasure the only true English Bible. Pt[?] has been attacked and besmeared, but it is safe and sure under God's own protection. It will be available to the Church until Christ calls the Church away to be with Himself for ever.


Those who may require further information on this subject are referred to the following books now available:

          ● "God wrote only one Bible" by J.J. Ray.

          ● "Believing Bible Study" by Dr. E.F. Hills.

          ● "Which Bible?" by Dr. D.O. Fuller.


The next deception of antichristianism is related to the scholars' unauthooritative [unauthoritative] Bibles. If you cannot be sure of the true text or Bible, how can you be sure of any teaching? Once doubt is suggested about the authority for this or that Scripture, it is an easy further move to doubt what it teaches and the Devil is riding again with the age-long question of the serpent:

          "Hath God said?"

Every truth falls under suspicion and so is produced the final doubt - Is any truth or teaching or doctrine important at all? -seeing there can be nothing sure if there is no authoritative Bible to refer to?

And so we have the "Love greater than doctrine" nonsense of the SCHOLARLY NO-HOPERS [a favorite! (amusing)] in the pulpits and colleges of the main-line "protestant" Churches today. It will be no loss to the true service of God when they finally trundle off into full association with Rome in the mysteries and abominations of Babylon the Great.

This deception is dealt with by firmly holding the shield of faith and using only the tried and tested sword of the Spirit tuned and tempered to the English language and marked "A.V. ["Authorized Version" ("King James Version", in the USA)]"


While undermining the authority of the Bible on the one hand, on the other hand the Devil is offering today something else to take its place. The proposition of this deception is that while you may not be: sure of any text of Scripture, you can at lest be sure of personal subjective spiritual experiences and revelations. And so we have the authority of dreams and imaginings, of alleged interpretations of "Tongues" and of alleged prophecies and healings and spiritual "experiences" and "leadings" of many kinds.

And so we have the modern cults and the occult. The deception is that these experiences are from God when they are really from the wily old serpent [Devil] himself, and not from above but from below. Readers are referred in this connection to the writer's booklet "The Doctrine of Tongues" for a more detailed study of the working of this deception.


This deception extends from cults through all branches of Protestantism and in Roman Catholicism. It is a unifying factor in the process of ecumenism. The Lord does lead His own people, to move rightly in their individually appointed paths of life, but the Word of God is ever enthroned and supreme in relation to such leading.

The modern deception is that Satan leads those who are not obedient to the every commandment and precept of the Written Word. The penalty for side-stepping the clear authority of God's Word and not implicitly acting upon it, is that Satan finds a victim to lead and confuse contrary to the plan and will of God.

How do we deal with this one? We repent of our doubts and we return to the precision and exactitude of the only certain Lamp to our feet and Light to our path

With this position accepted and acted upon, "the Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (See Psalm 121)


The unauthoritative Bibles with the aborted doctrines and abandoned directions of God, supported by manifestations and eruptions of fake spirituality, produce "novel" and "modern" ways of preaching and teaching. The deception is that these ""ways"' and "messages" are from God, but Satan has through them completed his full circle of triumph for he has thus misled multitudes of God's people to neutralise their effectiveness in God's service by thinking they are pleasing God when they are not and by making it almost impossible for sinners to be reached with the potency of the true Word of God in Holy Spirit power with the unction of the voice and instrumentality of obedient and trusting servants of God.

Thus it is that we have "Gospel" crusades run by committees of mixed believers and unbelievers.

And thus it is that we have believers claiming that "the end" justifies the means.

And thus it is that Roman Catholics are regarded as "Christians", and their gospel that built their institutions is seen as the same gospel, that Billy Graham has on the one hand, and that the apostles had on the other!

Thus it is that Coffee-Bar vaudevillists pass as Christian preachers or teachers.

Thus the Ladies' Coffee-hour sips and socialises, deceiving and being deceived that that form of fellowship is God-approved and Spirit-blessed.




Excursus: from: Appendix X, 832:


"[H.L. Mencken] It would be folly to underestimate the power of religion upon the unhappy Simidiiae [Simiidae (Pongidae)] known as man, even today. That its grip is lessening I show by plain evidence, but this lessening is to be seen only in relatively small minorities, admittedly damned. The great masses of people still follow theologians as they follow politicians, and seem doomed to be bamboozled and squeezed by both for many long ages to come...."


End of Excursus.

● ● ● ● ●

from: Holy Writ as Oral Lit, The Bible as Folklore, Alan Dundes, Rowman & Littlefield, c1999.

"Some folklore is historically accurate; some is not. Each instance has to be examined on an individual basis." [11].

"one often finds that the Old and New Testament parallels are not verbatim identical, and this would tend to support the idea of oral tradition as a likely source for both the Old and New Testaments. [95-96].

"If I wanted to encapsulate my argument in the form of a syllogism, I might propose the following:

1. Folklore is characterized by multiple existence and variation.

2. The Bible is permeated by multiple existence and variation.

3. The Bible is folklore!" [111].


[See: Article #8, 212-215 (Dundes)].

● ● ● ● ●


from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Edited by F.L. Cross, Third Edition edited by E.A. Livingstone, Oxford University Press, 1997.

[entry] "Bible (English versions). I. PRE-REFORMATION VERSIONS. No complete Anglo-Saxon Bible, or even NT, exists. Translations of this period comprise (a) interlinear glosses (forming a crude word-by-word translation) of the Gospels and Pss., and (b) versions, sometimes abridged, of separate portions of the Bible, e.g. parts of Exod. 20–3 in the introductory section of King *Alfred's Laws, a prose version of Pss. 1–50 (possibly by Alfred himself), and the four Gospels in W. Saxon (perhaps 10th cent.). Free renderings of OT narrative passages occur in the homilies of *Aelfric (c. 992), who also translated Gen. I–35 (36–50 having been done by another hand previously) and (with considerable omissions) Exod. 1–Josh. II. There are also numerous detached quotations and free renderings of other parts of the Bible in homilies.

          In Middle English, from c. 1250 onwards, metrical versions of certain Books (esp. Gen.. and Exod.), of biblical history generally, and of the Psalter, were made. There followed in Midland and in Northern dialect prose versions of the Psalter, the latter by Richard *Rolle of Hampole.

          In the 14th cent. several anonymous translations of NT Books in various dialects were produced, apparently in connection with *Lollardy and under the influence of J. *Wycliffe. But the popular view that Wycliffe himself was the first English translator of the complete Bible seems to be without foundation. There are two 'Wycliffite' versions:

          (a) Early Versions. The most important MS is Bodley 959, which covers the greater part of the OT (i.e., as far as Bar. 3: 20, in Vulgate order). This early version, which was made by the 1390s, has been associated with *Nicholas Hereford. It was very literal, and was soon revised.

          (b) Later Versions. This was produced on the basis of an intermediate version; later critics suggested it was connected with John *Purvey. In the prologue the translator explains his method of working 'with divers fellows and helpers' and with 'many good fellows and cunning at the correcting of the translation'. It is much more idiomatic than the early version.

          Both these versions, esp. the former, follow the Vulgate (then the only text available), often so closely as to be detrimental to the clarity of the English. At the Council of Oxford in 1407 the making of any fresh translations of the whole or any portion of the Bible and the use of any translation made ''in the times of John Wycliffe or since' without diocesan or synodical sanction were forbidden. Nevertheless many MSS of the Wycliffite versions (esp. the later text) continued to be made and used until the appearance of W. *Tyndale's and M. *Coverdale's work.

          2. THE REFORMATION PERIOD. The Wycliffite versions, being under ecclesiastical censure, were not printed. New facilities for textual study and translation of the Bible were opened up by the printing of the Vulgate (first in 1456), the Hebrew text (1488), *Erasmus' Greek Testament (1516, with four revisions by 1535), the *Complutensian Polyglot (1522), and S. *Pagninus' literal Latin rendering


of the Hebrew OT (1528). The plan of a translation of the NT from the Greek is due to W. Tyndale and dates from c. 1523. He failed to obtain the patronage of C. *Tunstall, Bp. of London, but for a short while was supported by Humphrey Monmouth, a London merchant. In 1524 he fled to Germany, where he probably met at *Wittenberg M. *Luther, whose German NT had appeared in 1522. The printing of Tyndale's NT (in 4to) was begun at *Cologne in 1525; but before it was complete Tyndale was forced to flee to Worms, where it was restarted and finished (in 8vo) in 1526. Subsequent editions were printed in the Netherlands, and copies soon reached England. Tyndale then translated the *Pentateuch, which was printed at Antwerp in 1529–30. His translation of Jonah appeared in 1531 and a revision of Gen. and of the NT in 1534, and of the NT again in 1535. He also translated, but never published, Josh.–2 Chron. inclusive. His NT and Pentateuch contained marginal notes, described by *Henry VIII as 'pestilent glosses', expressing his strongly Protestant views. In his prefaces, prologues, marginal references, etc., Tyndale is greatly dependent on Luther, but his translation is an independent and pioneer work, using Erasmus' Latin version of the NT, the Vulgate, and Luther's German, as well as his own interpretation of the original. His final version of the NT contains much which passed unchanged into the Authorized Version ["King James Version", in the USA]....

          In the reign of *Mary W. *Whittingham issued at Geneva in 1557 a new English NT for the Protestant exiles (for the first time divided into verses and printed in roman type.) Then followed in 1559 the Psalms, and in 1560 a complete Bible, dedicated to Queen *Elizabeth I. This version (the '*Geneva Bible' (q.v.), also popularly the '*Breeches Bible') was based on Tyndale and the Great Bible, but influenced by J. *Calvin and T. *Beza, as well as by the French Bibles of Lefèvre and Olivetan. It had marginal notes written from an extreme Protestant viewpoint. Many of its renderings, not found in previous English versions, were later adopted into the AV ["King James Version", in the USA].

          In the reign of Elizabeth I the Geneva Bible obtained great popularity in England, although it lacked the royal and ecclesiastical authorization still possessed by the Great Bible. In 1566 Abp. M. *Parker undertook a revision of the latter in co-operation with other bishops. This new translation (the '*Bishops' Bible') was published in 1568 and revised in 1572. It copied the Geneva Bible in the adoption of verse-divisions, but the rendering was explicitly based on the Great Bible, with attention to the Greek and to the Hebrew, for which Pangninus and Münster were taken as authorities. Phrases which savoured of 'lightness or obscenity' were altered and passages considered unedifying were marked for omission in public reading. All comment, in the form of marginal notes, was eschewed. As the several revisers worked without much co-ordination, this translation varies in quality from Book to Book.

          Though not yet acknowledging the right of the laity to read the Bible in the vernacular ["native language"] without special ecclesiastical sanction, the RC [Roman Catholic] Church also felt the need for an acceptable English version. The NT was translated [as usual: translated from what? As usual: no!, or scant, details] by members of the English College at Reims, largely at the instigation of W. (later Cardinal) *Allen. The chief translators were Gregory *Martin and Richard Bristow, and it was issued in 1582. The OT followed from Douai in 1609–1610 (see DOUAI-REIMS BIBLE). Both NT and OT were translated from the Vulgate, in acc. with the


Council of Trent's endorsement of this version; but in the NT at least the original language was consulted. Many words and turns of phrase show the close adherence (also deliberate) of the translators to their standard, e.g. ''Pasch' (Passover), 'Azymes' (Unleavened Bread), 'supersubstantial bread' (Mt. 6: 11), 'legates of Christ' (ambassadors). But in many places the English is vivid and direct. The Reims NT was among the versions consulted by the makers of the AV [Authorized Version ("King James Version", in the U.S.A.]. [200, 201, 202].

[entry] "Bishops' Bible. A new English translation of the Bible compiled at the direction of Abp. M. *Parker, and first published in 1568. It was a revision of the *Great Bible version. All *churchwardens were ordered by *Convocation to obtain a copy for their churches in 1571, and in the following year it was republished with some corrections. A novel feature of this edition was the placing of each translator's initials at the end of his part. It remained the official English version till the publication of the *Authorized Version ["King James Version", in the USA] in 1611, but despite numerous editions by the Queen's Printers it won less popularity than the unauthorized *Calvinist translation known as the *Geneva Bible.

          Darlow and Moule, ed. A.S. Herbert, I (1968), pp. 70f. (no. 125)." [211].

[entry] "Geneva Bible. This translation of the Bible, popularly known as the 'Breeches Bible' from its rendering of Gen. 3: 7 ('they...made themselves breeches'; AV 'aprons'), was first published as a whole at Geneva in 1560. It was the first English edition to introduce verse numeration. Issued in a handy form, instead of in folio, with compendious ["concise", etc. (O.E.D.)] notes of a *Calvanist flavour, it was the Bible most widely read in private use in England for about a century. For further details, see BIBLE, ENGLISH VERSIONS [see 2879-2881].

          Facsimile of the 1560 edn., with introd. by L.E. Berry and full bibl. (Madison, Wis., and London, 1969). C. Eason, The Geneva Bible: Notes on its Production and Distribution (1937). A.W. Pollard, Records of the English Bible (1911), pp. 24–8, 43–5, with docs. pp. 279–86. L. Lupton, A History of the Geneva Bible (25 vols., c. 1966–94). D.G. Danner, 'The Contribution of the Geneva Bible of 1560 to the English Protestant Tradition', Sixteenth Century Journal, 12, no. 3 (1981), pp. 5–18; M.S. Betteridge, 'The Bitter Notes: The Geneva Bible and its Annotations', ibid. 14 (1983), pp. 41–62. Darlow and Moule, ed. A.S. Herbert, I (1968), pp. 61–3; for further edns. of Geneva Bible, see pp. 65 f., 74 f., and passim." [662].

[See: Appendix II, 693-694 ("twelve great Bibles" (Forlong))].

_____ _____ _____


from: God's Secretaries, The Making of the King James Bible [Great Britain: Power and Glory], Adam Nicolson, HarperCollins, c2003.

'A net of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare [1564 - 1616], Jonson [1572 - 1637] and Bacon [1561 - 1626]; of the Gunpowder Plot; the worst outbreak of the plague England had ever seen; Arcadian landscapes; murderous, toxic slums; and, above all, sometimes overwhelming religious passion. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than it had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between the polarities.

          This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment "Englishness" and the English language had come into its first passionate maturity. Boisterous, elegant, subtle, majestic, finely nuanced, sonorous and musical, the English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own reach and scope than any before or since. It is a form of the language that drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book.

          The sponsor and guide of the whole Bible project was the King himself, the brilliant, ugly and profoundly peace-loving James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England [1566 - 1625] [Must see Article #24, 528-530; Appendix II, 698]. Trained almost from birth to manage the rivalries of political factions at home, James saw in England the chance for a sort of irenic ["pacific", "operating toward peace", etc.] Eden over which the new translation of the Bible was to preside. It was to be a Bible for everyone, and as God's lieutenant on earth, he would use it to unify his kingdom. The dream of Jacobean peace, guaranteed by an elision of royal power and divine glory, lies behind a Bible of extraordinary grace and everlasting literary power.

          About fifty scholars from Cambridge, Oxford and London did the work, drawing on many previous versions, and created a text which, for all its failings, has never been equaled. That is the central question of this book: How did this group of near-anonymous divines, muddled, drunk, self-serving, ambitious, ruthless, obsequious, pedantic and flawed as they were, manage to bring off this astonishing translation? How did such ordinary men make such extraordinary prose? In God's Secretaries, Adam Nicolson gives a fascinating and dramatic account of the accession and ambition of the first Stuart king; of the scholars who labored for seven years to create his Bible; of the influences that shaped their work and of the beliefs that colored their world, immersing us in an age whose greatest monument is not a painting or a building but a book.

Adam Nicolson has been both a publisher and a travel writer, and is the author of many award-winning books, including the recent Sea Room, about life on the Shiant Isles. He lives on a farm with his family near Burwash, England.' [dust jacket].

"As a boy king, he [James] had been a trophy in the hands of rival noble factions in Scotland, kidnapped, held, threatened and imprisoned. 'I was alane,' he wrote later, 'without fader or moder, brither or sister, king of this realme, and heir apperand of England.'

          James retreated from the brutality and anarchy. He became chronically


vulnerable to the allure of beautiful, elegant, rather Frenchified men. He loved hunting, excessively, an escape from the realities, at one point killing every deer in the royal park at Falkland in Fife, which had to be restocked from England. It has been calculated that he spent about half his waking life on the hunting field. And he [James] became immensely intellectual, speaking 'Greek before breakfast, Latin before Scots', composing stiff Renaissance poetry, full of a clotted and frustrated emotionality, translating the Psalms, capable on sight of turning any passage of the Bible from Latin to French and then from French to English." [7].

          "Bancroft [Richard Bancroft 1544 - 1610] then issued the letter of instructions to the Translators. It is the central document in the story, the template against which the text is to be measured. Again, if we are to take Bancroft's words seriously, these were the king's own rules, Bancroft merely transmitter of them. They are a remarkable insight into the workings of the royal mind. But the instructions are deeply encoded, concealing as much as they reveal, assuming as much as they make explicit. Exactly what they mean will emerge, but what is obvious from the start is that they exude a habit of orderliness: numbered, coherent, managerial and modern. They give a rather different picture of James and his advisers than history has chosen to remember.

          It is worth analysing these instructions in some detail. There is no hint of inspiration, or even of prayerfulness, no idea that the Translators are to be in the right frame of mind. These are exact directions, state orders, not literary or theological suggestions. It is not as if inspiration was unheard of. Inspiration was an established part of literary and theological thought. And wild, inspired Blakean prophets of course appear in the Bible itself, writing down, as a phrase in the apocryphal book of Esdras unforgettably describes it, 'the wonderfull [now, wonderful] visions of the night, that were told, which they knew not'.

          There is none of that. This is a job to be done with immense care and attention to detail. There are strong hints about the kind of language they were to employ – it should be conservative – but no guide as to the rhetoric or musicality of the translation. For that, Bancroft would have to rely on the literary instincts of his chosen scholars. A copy of the instructions, now in the University Library in Cambridge, is entitled simply 'The rules to be observed in translation'. The sixteen separate instructions on two sheets are the record of an extremely efficient administrator at work. They are the scaffolding within which the King James translation was erected...." [71-72].



3. The ould ecclesiasticall words to be kept viz. as the Word Churche not to be translated Congregation &c.

          Bancroft, and almost certainly the king, was not prepared to give any ground in the language of the translation to the Presbyterians (who denied any scriptural authority to bishops) or Separatists (who would in time call themselves Independents and then Congregationalists). This [Rule 3., above] was one of the oldest nubs


[cores, etc.] of Bible translation. William Tyndale [c. 1494 - 1536 (see 2891-2892)] in his great 1526 ground-breaking translation of the New Testament had translated ecclesia not as 'church' but as 'congregation' and presbyteros not as 'priest' but as 'senior' (which he later changed, under pressure from Thomas More [(St.) 1477-78 - 1535], to 'elder', as being the more English word). The entire meaning of the Reformation hinges on these differences. A presbyter, an elder, has no ancient priestly significance; he is not the conduit of God's grace, he does not interfere with the direct relationship of each soul to God, nor, in Luther's famous phrase, with the priesthood of all believers. If presbyter is what the scripture says, what need is there of bishops and archbishops? And if ecclesia means not church but congregation, what relevance to God can there be in the elaborate and expensive superstructure of an established church and the grotesque indulgences of its officers? Was the true meaning of the word ecclesia not a reproach to the habits of even such a godly bishop as Thomas Morton who when travelling by coach 'had always some choice or useful book, which he either read himself, or else caused a Chaplaine as his Amanuensis to reade unto him, who attended on his Journeying'? Did ecclesia really mean old men riding about the countryside as comfortably as if in a first-class railway compartment? And monopolising the funds of the true church to do so? It was to avoid questions of that kind, redolent of the profound political and social subversiveness which lies within the Reformation, that the old words had to be kept." [75-76].

          "Finally, in Rule 15 ["sixteen separate instructions" (72)], the last element of control. Yet further 'Ancient and Grave Divines, in either of the Universities', were to ensure that passages and references translated one way in the Old Testament were translated concordantly in the New. There had been ferocious controversies throughout the sixteenth century over precisely this problem. Distressingly, in the New Testament, Christ and the apostles, when quoting from the Hebrew scriptures, tended to use not the original Hebrew texts themselves but the Greek words of the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament made at Alexandria in about 130 BC. Often, even in the best texts, the words of the Septuagint do not faithfully reproduce the meanings of the Hebrew scriptures. Could Christ and the apostles have been wrong? Could the omniscient God, in the form of Jesus, be ignorant of his own word? It was clear that the standard of scholarship among Christ's disciples was despicable. The Greek of the New Testament was coarse and clumsy, a steep descent form the heights of fifth-century Athenian elegance, ''countrified and simple' according to Erasmus, or apparently 'concoted', as Charles Bradlaugh, the Victorian atheist described the Gospels, 'by illiterate, half-starved visionaries in some dark corner of a Graeco-Syrian slum'. Paul garbled quotations from Isaiah, Mark muddled Isaiah with Malachi, Luke included the name of Canain in a genealogy which was not there in the Hebrew Genesis, Matthew left out three kings in his genealogy of Jesus, then misquoted both the Hebrew and the Septuagint before attributing something said by Zechariah to Jeremiah. In a text which was said to have been dictated by God, this was an agonising and difficult problem. 'One should tremble before each letter of the Bible', Luther had said, 'more than before the whole world.' God was in every syllable and 'no iota is in vain'. How modern scholarship could approach such a problem was something which only the most ancient and gravest divines could solve. It is a measure of James's and of Bancroft's joint ambition that they were willing to


try. All that remained was to choose the men themselves." [83] [end of chapter Four: "Faire and softly goeth far"].

"James's brother-in-law, the vast, red, cream-tea-eating Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway, the man who insisted that Danish beer should be stronger than any brewed in the world, was coming to visit his sister and her husband, newly elevated from the exigencies of Scotland to the lushness for which he had a famous appetite. James himself was something of a drinker – he liked the heady, sweet malmseys from southern Greece, a featherbed of a drink – but there was no keeping up with Christian and his Danes. They scandalised even the Jacobean court with the depth of unbuttoned drunkenness they unleashed on the capital.... ["a vision to match 'Mahomets paradise'" (118)]. [117].

'Francis Bacon [1561 - 1626 (see Addition 39, 2118-2139)], corrupt, brilliant and unlikeable, builder of his own great pair of houses now disappeared, not far away at St Albans, famous for the pale-faced catamites he kept to warm his bed, the inventor of the English essay, later to be Lord Chancellor, and, later still, accused of corruption, to be thrown to parliament as a sop to their demands, defined in his essay 'On Truth' the subtle and shifting Jacobean relationship to light and beauty, to plainness and richness, to clarity and sparkle. 'This same Truth', he [Bacon] wrote,


is a Naked, and Open day light, that doth not shew the Masques, and Mummeries, and Triumphs of the world, halfe so Stately, and daintily, as candlelights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearle, that sheweth best by day: But it will not rise to the price of a Diamond, or Carbuncle, that sheweth best in varied lights. A mixture of a Lie doth ever adde Pleasure.

          That shifting, layered sensibility is also, in part, the world into which the King James Bible was born.' [145].

"....James Ussher [1581 - 1656],...the young Chancellor of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin and later a great scholar, owner of the Book of Kells, who employed agents to scour the Middle East for ancient manuscripts, and famous, along with the puritan preacher John Lightfoot of Cambridge [(later, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge) 1602 - 1675], as the man who calculated that God had created the earth on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC, at nine o'clock in the morning, London time, or midnight in the Garden of Eden." [149].

          'By the early seventeenth century, a crucial difference had developed in translation theory between sacred and non-sacred texts. Anyone thinking of translating history, poetry, foreign tales or works of classical rhetoric, taking their cue from Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] and a couple of words of Horace [65 - 8 B.C.E.], would despise the literalist as a plodding, and scarcely civilised pedant. Any well-educated man would take a text in a foreign tongue and absorb its meaning so that he could


reproduce something like it in his own language. Literalism, a word for word translation, would do nothing more than transfer the corpse of the original into a new language, not the living thing. Cicero, when translating Demosthenes [384 - 322 B.C.E.] and other great Athenian orators, 'did not translate them as an interpreter', he wrote, 'but as an orator myself, keeping the same ideas and forms, or as one might say, the "figures" of thought, but in language which is more suitable to the way we speak'.

          This, of course, was also a question of authority. Cicero did not consider himself subservient to the Greeks he was translating. He was at least their equal. Why, then, should he suppress his own eloquence on their behalf? Luther, fascinatingly, the grandfather of all Reformation translators, had taken a Ciceronian view of his task. When faced with translating a Bible text, he had written, 'You've got to go out and ask the mother in her house, the children in the street, the ordinary man at the market. Watch their mouths move when they talk, and translate that way. Then they'll understand you and realise that you are speaking German to them.' His [Luther's] whole idea, he said, was 'to make Moses so German that no one would suspect he was a Jew'.



Hath God forgotten to be gracious?

hath he in anger shut vp his tender mercies?

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I wil[sic] blesse thee, and

make thy name great; and thou shalt bee a blessing:

And I will blesse them that blesse thee, and curse him, that

curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:2–3

By the spring of 1611, a final text had emerged, ready for the printer. After the revising committee had done with it, to the annoyance of the Cambridge Puritans, Richard Bancroft is said to have altered a few words, emphasising the role of bishops in the early church. Summaries at the beginning of each chapter and running heads at the top of each page were added by Miles Smith, the brilliant and pacific Bishop of Gloucester, and by Thomas Bilson, the archetype of the Jacobean courtier-politician-bishop, more often at court than in his Winchester diocese, endlessly scheming for place and advantage, one of the churchmen with direct access to James's ear.

          It may well have been Bilson who wrote the Epistle Dedicatory to the King, placed at the front of the translation....

The title of the Bilson's Epistle is set in type far larger than anything in the text of the Bible itself, James is given far more prominence than anything to do with God, and his virtues are proclaimed like a gilded banner fluttering over the words of the translation. This is a book about kingdom, power and glory:




Prince, Iames by the grace of God

King of Great Britaine, France and Ireland

Defender of the Faith, &c.

Nor, in addressing this God-like figure [King James I], does Bilson stint: 'Great and manifold were the blessings (most dread Soueraigne) which Almighty GOD, the Father of all Mercies, bestowed vpon vs the people of England, when first he sent your Maiesties Royall person to rule and raigne ouer us.' James is the Sun that shines over us; his presence disperses all murk and mustiness. England itself is 'our Sion', James and God are virtually indistinguishable and the translation itself holds a divinely sanctioned place between the enemies on either side. It was a challenge, on one hand, to those 'Popish persons at home or abroad', whose only desire was to keep the people 'in ignorance and darknesse' – conveniently ignoring the great Catholic translation of the Bible made at the English college in Douai, from which these Translators had lifted many plangent ["striking the ear powerfully" (O.E.D.)] phrases; and on the other a summons to those 'self-conceited brethren, who runne their own ways, and giue liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselues, and hammered on their Anuile'. Here, in a few words, are the essential points of the Jacobean political programme. England is to be a model of irenic ["conciliatory"] moderation. The majesty of God is to be elided [passed over?] with [by?] the majesty of King James; the light of the word is to be brought to those who are living in darkness; the subversive egotism of the harsher Puritans is to be rejected and revealed for the sterility it is. Bilson [Thomas Bilson 1546-7 - 1616] rises to his wildly overblown blessing:


The Lord of heauen and earth blesse your Maiestie with many and happy dayes, that as his heauenly hand hath enriched your Highnesse with many singular and extraordinary graces; so you may be the wonder of the world in this later age, for happinesse and true felicitie, to the honour of that Great GOD, and the good of his Church.

          Miles Smith [died 1624] – and it is his greatest monument – then wrote the long and beautiful Preface to the translation. It is rarely printed with the Bible nowadays, but, if there is a slight smell of corruption about Bilson's Epistle, Smith's words exude all that is best about Jacobean England, the hopes for this translation and the beliefs in the power and value of the work which was now so nearly complete. Like Bilson's letter, it is a defence of what they have done against the cavils of the Roman Catholics, and a paean to James as its progenitor. It insists on the virtues and necessity of translation, and snipes at the Catholics for their love of obscurity and darkness. It celebrates the virtues of accuracy but scoffs, happily enough, at the over-scrupulosity of the Puritans who insist on the same word being translated in the same way every time...." [216-218].

"Some form of text [manuscript, for the printing of the "Authorized Version" ("King James Version")] was handed over to Robert Barker [died 1645], 'Printer to the King's


Most Excellent Maiestie', perhaps an annotated version of the Bishops' Bible, perhaps a manuscript. What was said to be the 'manuscript copy of the Bible' was sold twice in the seventeenth century, once to Cambridge University Press, once to a firm of London printers, but has now disappeared. According to one romantic theory, it was burnt in the Great Fire of London.

          Barker's printshop began to apply its own level of chaos to the production process. It seems to have been a sort of anarchy. Either two editions were produced one after another; or both at the same time and sheets from each edition were bound together in single volumes. As a result no copy of the 1611 Bible is like any other. And they were riddled with mistakes. The Translators had intended that any word inserted to improve the sense should be printed in a different face. In fact, that principle became confused early on and if a word is in italics in the printed Bible, there is often no telling if it is in the original Greek or Hebrew or not. Marginal references to other relevant parts of the Bible are highly inaccurate, particularly in the Psalms, where references are made to the numbering system used in the Vulgate, not the numbering system in this Bible ["King James Bible"] itself.

          Calmly elegant Bibles in Roman typefaces had been in production in France and Switzerland for decades. This Bible, looking back to an imagined antiquity before the modern age, was given a heavy, antique feel with its dense blackletter typeface, a 'Gothic', non-Roman typeface, and a certain airlessness on the page. It may be that because the Geneva Bibles were printed in open and accessible Roman type, and the Bishops' Bible, which this was intended to replace, had itself been in blackletter, that Barker made this retrograde decision. Although editions of the King James Bible were appearing in Roman type within a few years, blackletter editions continued to be printed and sold, well into the first years of the eighteenth century. Even as its birth, this was sold as the Bible of Old England.

          And it was littered with misprints, 'hoopes'' for 'hookes', 'she' for ''he', three whole lines simply repeated in Exodus, and alarmingly 'Judas' for 'Jesus' in one of the Gospels. None of these was quite so catastrophic as a misprint that would appear in a 1631 edition, the so-called Wicked Bible, which failed to put the word 'not' in Exodus 20:14, giving the reading 'Thou shalt commit adultery', but the degree of muddle is scarcely what a modern scholarly text would tolerate. When, finally, in the nineteenth century, Dr. F. Scrivener [Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener 1813 - 1891], a scholar working to modern standards, attempted to collate all the editions of the King James Bible then in circulation, he found more than 24,000 variations between them. The curious fact is that no one such thing as 'The King James Bible' — agreed, consistent and whole –has ever existed." [225-226].

"....And in the Separatist congregations in Amsterdam, Leiden and eventually on the Mayflower, it was of course the Geneva Bible they took with them.

          Geneva Bibles continued to be printed until 1644, and only after the Restoration in 1660 did the King James Bible, hallowed now as something that had its origins before the great rupture of the Civil War, redolent of monarchy and antiquity, come to take its place as the Bible itself, the national text and the symbol of England as God's country. In America, a slightly different process occurred, but with the same effect. Calvinist Christianity is inherently fissive [(my definition) divisive]. Its emphasis on the primacy of a vengeful God constantly throws into doubt the validity of worldly


government, and its repeated emphasis on the difference between the elect, who would be saved, and the rest, who would be damned, is no basis on which to found a nation. These radically disruptive ideas are the repeated threnody of the Geneva Bible, the food and fuel on which the whole phenomenon of Separatism and the emergence of the Pilgrim Fathers was based.

          As the American settlements widened and deepened, and their political processes matured, the need for a separatist gospel ebbed. The relationship of Puritan church and Puritan state in early America soon became, strangely enough, as close as any relationship between the Jacobean Crown and the Church of England. In early Massachusetts, heresy, witchcraft, profanity, blasphemy, idolatry and breaking the Sabbath were all civil offences, to be dealt with by civil courts. The new Americans may have dispensed with bishops, surplices and the Book of Common Prayer, but they had not replaced them with a Utopia of religious freedom. Seventeenth-century America was a country of strictly enforced state religion and as such needed a Bible much more attuned to the necessities of nation-building than anything the Separatists' Geneva Bible could offer. It is one of the strangest of historical paradoxes that the King James Bible, whose whole purpose had been nation-building in the service of a ceremonial and episcopal state church, should become the guiding text of Puritan America. But the translation's lifeblood had been inclusiveness, it was drenched with the splendour of a divinely sanctioned authority, and by the end of the seventeenth century it had come to be treasured by Americans as much as by the British as one of their national texts." [229-230].

"The nineteenth century veered the other way. By 1870, it had become obvious not only that the manuscripts on which the King James Bible had been based were no longer the best available, but that the Jacobean Translators had made many mistakes in translation. The first major revision of the English scriptures was set in train but Victorian England was so enamoured of Jacobean word forms and the rhythms of the King James version, that the translators were urged to make their new translation as much like a Jacobean text as they could. The King James Bible had been, at least in the mainstream, unchallenged for 270 years, eight or nine generations. Its language, archaic even in 1611, derived from a form of English current in the mid-sixteenth century, had come to seem like the language spoken by God. As a result the Revised Version, finally published in 1885, although introducing some very odd translatorese by following the Greek word order ('Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth') also introduced a string of Jacobethanisms which had not been in the 1611 text: howbeit, peradventure, holden, aforetime, sojourn and behooved all appeared in the new Bible, nineteenth-century changes posing as the real oak-panelled thing, as if a team of London solicitors suddenly appeared for work in ruffs and doublets." [233].

"The churches and biblical scholarship have, by and large, abandoned the frame of mind which created this translation. The social structures which gave rise to it – rigid hierarchies; a love of majesty; subservience; an association of power with glory – have all gone. The belief in the historical and authentic truth of the scriptures, particularly the Gospels, has been largely abandoned, even by the religious. The ferocious intolerances of the pre-liberal world have been left behind – it is


inconceivable now that a Henry Barrow would be executed, or a Henry Garnet, or that the Scrooby Separatists would have been forced to leave home and country – and perhaps as a result of that change, perhaps as a symptom, religion, or at least the conventional religion of ordinary people, has been drained of its passion. There is no modern language that can encompass the realities which the Jacobeans accepted as normal. Modern religious rhetoric is dilute and ineffectual, and where it isn't, it seems mad and aberrational. It is an appalling fact that the manner of speech which approaches most nearly to the language of these Jacobean divines comes from the mouths of murderous fundamentalists. When asked by a reporter in October 2001 if he was responsible for the anthrax attacks then occurring in the United States, Osama bin Laden answered: 'These diseases are a punishment from God and a response to oppressed mothers' prayers in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and everywhere.' That is the kind of remark which would not have raised an eyebrow in Jacobean England. This is not to suggest that the Translators of the King James Bible would have approved of religious terrorism. They certainly wouldn't; their reactions to 5 November prove that. Even so, there is something that connects the God-shaped mentality of Jacobean England more intimately with the world of modern Muslim fundamentalists than with our own softened, liberal tolerance. These men, and their Bible, exist on the other side of a gulf, which can be labelled liberal, secular, democratic modernity. We do not live in the same world.

          It is impossible now to experience in an English church the enveloping amalgam of tradition, intelligence, beauty, clarity of purpose, intensity of conviction and plangent ["striking the ear powerfully" (O.E.D.)], heart-gripping godliness which is the experience of page after page of the King James Bible. Nothing in our culture can match its breadth, depth and universality, unless, curiously enough, it is something that was written at exactly the same time and in almost exactly the same place: the great tragedies of Shakespeare.

          That is no chance effect. Shakespeare's [1564 - 1616] great tragedies and the King James Bible are each other's mirror-twin. Both emerge from the ambitions and terrors of the Jacobean world. They are, from their radically diverging cores, the great what-ifs of the age[?]...." [238-240].


In the early summer of 1604, Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London and soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up his instructions to the Translators. They were to base their revisions, he told them, on the Bishops' Bible but they were to consult, he said, 'Tindall's, Matthews, Coverdales, Whitchurch's, Geneva'. He was listing the great landmarks in the evolution of the sixteenth-century English Bible, part of the astonishing wave of Bible translation that swept across Reformation Europe.

          There is no connection between the advent of printing and the coming of Protestantism. Early sixteenth-century Europe was awash with printed versions of traditional Catholic prayers and orders of service. The old church and the new technology were the closest of allies. The very trigger of the Reformation, the indulgences sold by the Catholic Church to ease the path into heaven and fill the church's coffers, were by the late fifteenth century printed documents. Nevertheless, the mere existence of a busy and dynamic publishing industry certainly helped the


spread of Protestantism. The first printed Bible had been a Latin Vulgate (the great medieval Bible translated from the Greek and Hebrew by St Jerome in the late fourth century) produced by Johann Gutenberg in Mainz in 1454–56, an exquisite folio book, very expensive, modelled precisely on the finest medieval manuscripts, some printed on paper but many on vellum. But when in 1522 Luther, the first genius of mass-communications, published his German New Testament, 3,000 copies were immediately printed for sale at a fraction of the cost of a manuscript. One German printer reckoned, forty years later, that he had sold at least 100,000 Lutheran Bibles.

          The backlash was already there: the first burning of Protestant books in 1521, the first burning of a Protestant printer in 1527. Meanwhile, the translated word of God spread across Europe. The Czechs had enjoyed the Bible in the vernacular ["native language"] since the fourteenth century and the first printed Czech Bible appeared in 1488. The rest of Europe soon joined in the Lutheran wave. In 1524 the New Testament appeared in Swyzerdeutsch, followed in 1526 by the first complete Bible in Dutch, and in 1530 in French (although a translation of the Vulgate, not from the original tongues). In the same year a New Testament was published 'tradotto in lingua toscana'. An Icelandic New Testament appeared in 1540, the first complete Swedish Bible in 1541, a Finnish New Testament in 1548 and a complete Danish Bible in 1550. The first Bible in Spanish was published only in 1569, printed in Basle and later distributed from Frankfurt. Spain itself remained implacably hostile to the vernacular. Further east, a Slovene New Testament was published in 1557–60, a Croat New Testament in 1563, a Polish Bible (Catholic, from the Vulgate) in 1561, a Hungarian Bible in 1590.

          This astonishing Europe-wide movement is the context in which the sixteenth-century history of English Bible-translation must be set. Parts of the Bible had been translated into Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, but not until the end of the fourteenth century had there been a complete text [? see 2879]. From about 1382, the followers of John Wycliffe, a blunt Yorkshireman and Master of Balliol College, Oxford, produced a large number of manuscript English Bibles, often clumsily and over-literally translated, but many of which survive. Although they were outlawed by the church in 1407–09, they remained in secret circulation even into the sixteenth century, some beautifully illuminated, clearly considered as treasured objects.

          The English Lutheran William Tyndale [c. 1494 - 1536] fled to the continent when his projected translation of the Bible looked as if it would offend the authorities. In 1525 he began printing his fluent and idiomatic translation of the New Testament in Catholic Cologne before the work was disrupted by the city magistrates. The complete book was only finished the following year on presses in Worms. The octavo sheets were smuggled into England in bales of cloth and sold at 9d a set. Three copies of this precious book survive, only one of them complete.

          Tyndale pressed on with the Old Testament. In 1531, his translation of the Book of Jonah was published, and in 1534, the same year as Martin Luther's [1483 - 1546] complete German Bible appeared, Tyndale's New Testament was reprinted with corrections and revisions, this time in Antwerp.

          Meanwhile, under the encouragement of the bishops of the English Church, another translation had been made by Miles Coverdale, an ex-assistant of Tyndale's, working for a printer perhaps in Antwerp, perhaps in Cologne and perhaps in Zurich. (The whole milieu of the early translations is a mixture of the covert and the commercial.) It was fulsomely dedicated to Henry VIII and Coverdale's translations of


the psalms remain those in use in the Church of England, never replaced by the slight alterations made to them in the King James Bible.

          In 1536 William Tyndale was martyred [murdered] in Flanders, garotted and then burnt, betrayed by an English spy who was perhaps in the pay of Sir Thomas More [1478 - 1535], his old enemy. Tyndale died [was murdered] before he could complete his translation of the Old Testament. His work was continued by another of his Antwerp friends, John Rogers, who under the pseudonym of Thomas Matthew published the so-called Matthew's Bible in 1537. The king licensed 1,500 copies of it and Matthew's became the first Bible in English that could be legally sold in England. It is largely a conflation of Tyndale and Coverdale. Rogers was later burnt at Smithfield by Queen Mary.

          The next year, in 1538, Henry VIII ordered a Bible to be placed in every church in England, half the cost to be carried by the parishes themselves. For this purpose, yet another revision, the 1539 Great Bible, was produced by 'dyverse excellent learned men', bearing the name of Edward Whitchurch, its printer on the title page. It is a revision of Matthew's Bible, directed by Miles Coverdale himself.

          In 1560, English Calvinist exiles in Geneva published the Geneva Bible. A beautiful piece of Renaissance printing, the first English Bible in Roman type, full of illustrations, appendices, maps and tables, almost a forerunner of the family encyclopaedia in feeling, it was the work of at least three translators, many of whose phrases were adopted by the King James Translators. Its [Geneva Bible] highly contentious notes, many of which threw doubts on the validity of unconstrained royal power, made it the favourite of Puritans and suspect in the English royal establishment. It


          Partly in response to it, in 1568, the English Church commissioned a new Bible from a committee of about seventeen translators, most of whom were bishops, chaired by Matthew Parker, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Their rather ponderous style, and the absence of Geneva's helpful notes and hints on how to interpret the scriptures, never made the Bishops' Bible very popular, although it was the one from which lessons were read every Sunday in Elizabethan England.

          The English Catholics abroad in Rheims produced their own translation of the New Testament in 1582 and in 1609–10, having moved to Douai, of the Old Testament. The King James Translators certainly knew and used the Rheims-Douai Bible although Richard Bancroft made no mention of it in his instructions to them."

[247-250] [end of: "The Sixteenth-Century Bible"].

[Note: alarmingly, in this book (God's Secretaries), the manuscripts involved in the translations of the Old Testaments and New Testaments, are not discussed].

_____ _____ _____


from: 'Profile: Book "God's Secretaries" [see 2882] by Adam Nicolson details the creation of the King James Bible [transcript].


LIANE HANSEN, host: Bureaucracies rarely produce great art, but in the early 1600s, a huge committee of clerics hashed out what some say is the greatest work of art in the English language: the King James Bible. Adam Nicolson's new book, "God's Secretaries," describes the entertaining and highly political process that gave birth to the Bible. Martha Woodroof from member station WMRA has more.


Through the pages of Adam Nicolson's story of the creation of the King James Bible wanders a huge cast of schemers, dreamers, kings, kingmakers and scholarly clerics, all trying to keep or make fortunes, consolidate power and hang on to their heads. Nicolson opens "God's Secretaries" in 1603, a moment he sees as one of the great turning points in English history.

Mr. ADAM NICOLSON (Author, "God's Secretaries"): Elizabeth had just died after a 60-year reign, which had begun, obviously, as a kind of celebration of her virginal purity, her courageous stand against the threat of Spanish and Roman Catholic imperialism in Europe. The idea of England as God's nation is an Elizabethan creation. But by the time she died in 1603, she was old and crusty and difficult and impossible to get decisions out of.

WOODROOF: England was in religious and political limbo when James VI of Scotland got the joyous news that his distant cousin Elizabeth had finally died. He jumped on a horse and came trotting south to be crowned James I of England [1566 - 1625].

Mr. NICOLSON: He was a great kind of talker and doer and creator of projects, and I think there was a sense in England of 'Great! We've caught the man we need. Now things are going to happen.'

WOODROOF: In James' time, your religion was your politics. Europe was 70 years deep into the Protestant Reformation. Puritans and other religious reformers were trying to disentangle wealth, power and religion, all of which were under the thumb of various church hierarchies. The English king was the head of the English church, as well, so any talk of monkeying around with church hierarchy would have made English kings very nervous. All this sets the stage for James, who'd honed his political skills cajoling an unruly crowd of Scottish barons.

Mr. NICOLSON: He was a great chatter-up, James, and he could chat up bishops and he could chat up Puritans, as one can call them, and both sets of people would leave the room feeling that somehow he'd done right by them.


WOODROOF: James was well-aware that he needed to resolve some of these religious rumblings to maintain the security of his new throne. He called together a group of important clerics, who suggested a new English translation of the Bible that could bridge the gap between the Church of England hierarchy and the laity. The ponderously styled Bishop's Bible was the officially sanctioned word of God, but the laity preferred other Bibles, whose language was not, Nicolson observes, monarch-friendly.

Mr. NICOLSON: Earlier translations in English, especially the very Calvinist Geneva Bible in the 1560s, had used the word 'tyrant' to describe kings in the Old Testament. And I think there are something like 400 uses of the word 'tyrant' in that Geneva Bible.

WOODROOF: A COMMITTEE OF ABOUT 50 CLERICS, 'GOD'S SECRETARIES,' ALSO KNOWN IN HISTORY AS 'THE TRANSLATORS,' got down to work on a new Bible. Their job mainly came back to language, sometimes the use of individual words, such as 'tyrant.'

Mr. NICOLSON: The word 'tyrant' never appears in the King James Bible. It is always 'king.' And kingliness is the kind of central virtue. IT'S A BOOK ABOUT MAJESTY. IT'S ABOUT GODS AS KINGS AND KINGS AS GODS.

WOODROOF: The translators worked together with surprising harmony and efficiency, and

the King James Bible was published in 1611,



Excursus: from: Appendix I, 676 (McKinsey):


"The Bible adversely affects millions of people in thousands of ways and it is crucial that both the Book's inadequacies and its negative teachings be exposed. Suffice to say, THE BIBLE IS A CONTRADICTORY, DECEPTIVE, INACCURATE, SUPERSTITIOUS, DEBILITATING, HALLUCINATORY CONGLOMERATION OF MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE [see 2878] THAT KEEPS ITS ADHERENTS IN A DETACHED STUPOR MASQUERADING AS A VALID DEPICTION OF REALITY. Time is never wasted when it is devoted to altering the false opinions and beliefs of millions of my fellow citizens WHO vote and otherwise INFLUENCE MY ENVIRONMENT."


End of Excursus.

[See: Addition 6, 884-886 (Queen Jane's Version, The Holy Bible for ...... Only)]


Nicolson maintains, however, that


Take, for example, this passage from both Bibles.

Mr. NICOLSON: Now when Tyndale [c. 1494 - 1536 (murdered) (see 2891-2892)] translated the very opening words of the Bible, this is what he wrote: 'In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth. The Earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the water.' And that--I mean, already it's pretty good, I think. It's sort of those huge bass notes: void, empty, darkness, deep. They're already there.

The version in the King James Bible is: 'In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth, and the Earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' Now there are tiny changes in there, and I think probably that comes within the 6 PERCENT EXTRA. And what matters about writing and language matters in the infinite detail of it[?]. The King James Bible is clearly an example of English firing on all cylinders [?].

WOODROOF: In "God's Secretaries," Adam Nicolson, who's a political columnist of the London Daily Telegraph, encroaches on turf normally occupied by academics. Columbia University Professor of English David Scott Kastan has written extensively about the 17th century.

Professor DAVID SCOTT KASTAN (Columbia University): There's an honesty about "God's Secretaries" that even when he knows he's pushing an argument, he sort of acknowledges the other side. And I didn't see howlers that made my scholarly hairs stand on end. I admire it very much. I think popular history writing is a very difficult genre, and this is as good an example as I've seen for a long time.

WOODROOF: Astonishingly, Nicolson tells us, the King James Bible failed to catch on during the reign of James I. It took Oliver Cromwell's [1599 - 1658] rise and fall and the subsequent restoration of a British monarchy in 1660 to bring


into prominence. For NPR News, I'm Martha Woodroof.'