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Though Shakespeare may be the greatest glory of his age, he was not its greatest influence.... The book of books for English men was the Bible.... For.

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Presentation on theme: "Though Shakespeare may be the greatest glory of his age, he was not its greatest influence.... The book of books for English men was the Bible.... For."— Presentation transcript:


2 Though Shakespeare may be the greatest glory of his age, he was not its greatest influence.... The book of books for English men was the Bible.... For every Englishman who had read or seen Shakespeare acted at the Globe, there were hundreds who had read or heard the Bible with close attention as the word of God. The Bible in English history may be regarded as a ‘Renaissance’ of Hebrew literature far more widespread and more potent than even the Classical Renaissance.... GEORGE MACAULAY TREVELYN 1876-1962 20th century author and scholar of English history. –– “A Shortened History of England”


4 OLD ENGLISH (ANGLO-SAXON) Venerable Bede, translated Gospel of John, finishing it the day he died (May 26, 735) Wessex Gospels (990 AD) THE LORD’S PRAYER Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, si þin nama gehalgod. To becume þin rice, gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum. Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg, and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum. And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.

5 John Wycliffe 1330-1384 Oxford scholar and teacher Believed common man should be allowed to read the Scriptures in his own vernacular. “No man was so rude a scholar but that he might learn the words of the Gospel according to his simplicity.” Translated Bible from Latin into English 1382 Constitutions of Oxford (1407/09) forbade creation/ ownership/reading of the English Bible Bones dug up, scattered across the River Swift 1428 Only English Bible until the 16 th century Invention of the Printing Press 1455

6 CONSTITUTIONS OF OXFORD (1409) Authored by Archbishop Thomas Arundel Imposed limits on religious discussions at universities Provided for monthly inquiry into students theological views Forbade reading, printing, memorizing of Wycliffe’s Bible Forbade reading any text not approved by Archbishop’s 12 hand-picked theologians Made it illegal to preach without a license Preachers forbidden to discuss sins of clergy Preachers forbidden to preach against the sacraments Discussions of religion outside universities forbidden Forbade translating Bible into English (even one verse!) VIOLATION OF THESE LAWS CONSIDERED TREASON. PUNISHABLE BY DEATH.

7 Gutenburg Press 1455 A.D. It took 170 calfskins or 300 sheepskins to make one hand- written copy of the Bible. Scribes used 80 quills a day It took 1,000 years for “Rag paper” to make its way from China to Europe. Cost of “Rag paper” 1/6 that of parchment By 1482: 50 printing presses in Italy, 30 in Germany, 4 in England 1480 Uni. of Cambridge stipu- lated only parchment books accepted as security for loans.

8 EARLIEST SCRIPTURES PRINTED IN ENGLISH The Golden Legend 1483 Compiled by Italian archbishop, Jacob de Voragine (1230-1298) Printed in English by Caxton; later by Wynken de Worde Preceded the translation of Wm Tyndale by 42 years Originally a collection of Biblical and mythical stories. Caxton added more Bible stories of heroes of faith. Contained many quotations from Scripture

9 Tyndale New Testament (1525/6) Coverdale Bible (1535) Matthew’s Bible (1537) The Great Bible (1539-41) Geneva Bible (1560) Bishop’s Bible (1568) Rhemes-Douay Bible (1582/1609) King James Bible (1611)

10 William Tyndale Bible Romans Chapter 1 As translated by Tyndale 1525 AD “Father of the English Bible” “If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scripture than thou doest.” “Lord, open Thou the king of England’s eyes!” October 6, 1536

11 Miles Coverdale Bible Oct. 4, 1535 AD First complete English Bible Translated from Luther’s German and Jerome’s Latin Replaced offensive notes and introductions of Tyndale Translation of “Psalms” used in “Book of Common Prayer” for next 400 years (1549-1960) Separated Apocrypha from the text of Scripture “Thou shalt not need to be afraid of any bugges by night” (Psalm 91:5)

12 Made smooth “readability” a primary goal. Relied on Tyndale’s Bible for accuracy of the text Dedicated to Henry VIII, mentioned Anne Boleyn When Henry VIII beheaded Anne Boleyn, Coverdale’s Bible did not receive an official “license” In 1537 was the first English Bible be “licensed” by the king. “In God’s name let it go abroad among our people” Printed the “Diglot” (1538) and the “Great Bible” (1539) Miles Coverdale Bible

13 Matthew’s Bible 1537 AD Translation by John Rogers Revision of the Tyndale Bible “Licensed” by Henry VIII for private reading 2 nd complete English Bible Many died for reading it under Queen Mary (1555)! Became “primary version” “Wife Beaters Bible” John Rogers burned alive

14 The Great Bible Editor: Coverdale (1539) Revision of Matthew’s Bible “Great” because of size (16 ½” x 11”) First Bible “authorized” for public reading in the churches. Chained to pulpit to prevent theft

15 Geneva Bible 1560 A.D. Revision of the Great Bible First English Bible to have verse numbers First English Bible to be printed in Roman type Words supplied in italics to make it “readable” Shakespear’s Bible Pilgrim’s Bible Many Calvinistic (anti- Catholic) notes Official version of the Church of Scotland Most popular version for next 50 years. “Breeches Bible”

16 Bishop’s Bible 1568 A.D. “Queen Elizabeth’s Version” Revision of the Great Bible Published without Notes Did not equal the popularity of the Geneva Bible Christopher Columbus Bible Psalm 45:9

17 Rhemes-Douay Bible Catholic translation, made (primarily) by Gregory Martin New Testament – 1582; Old Testament – 1609/1610 Based on Latin Vulgate Copious notes supporting Catholic doctrine Revised in 1738 by Bishop Challoner; in 1811 by Thomas Haydock “Especially for the discoverie of the corruptions of divers late translations, and for cleering the controversies in religion”

18 King James Bible 1611 AD Revision of the Bishops Bible, which was a revision of the Great Bible, which was revision of the Matthews Bible, which was revision of the Tyndale Bible A team of 54 scholars ‘Contemporary’ English was not a priority. Not “authorized” by King James Became widely read because: Better Greek & Hebrew manuscripts Literary style was unsurpassed No marginal notes It had no peers for 270 years



21 English is an ever-changing language. Words change their meanings over time; new words are coined. Just as 1 st century Christians needed the word of God in their own vernacular, so does every generation. Reading skills vary; translations need to match reading skills of the readers. The accuracy of faith and doctrine is tested and clarified by reading a number of English versions WHY DO WE NEED NEW TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE?


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