Is The King James Sacrosanct?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I borrowed the header from Jack P.Lewis's book:The English Bible/From KJV To NIV :A History And Evaluation (1981).

    Here is an excerpt under his heading in his chapter called Doctrinal Problems In The King James Version:

    "Admirable as the KJV was when it was launched,valuable as has been its contribution to the religious and literary life of the English-speaking public,and loved as it is by those who have studied it in detail from their childhood,time has done to the KJV what it does to all works of men.The message of the Bible should not be the peculiar possession either of scholars or of those initiated into and trained in the church;it should be open (as the King James scholars themselves said)'to the very vulgar,' that is, to the uneducated and to children.However,the KJV is no longer completely intelligible to all readers.It is no longer the most accurate and the most readable English rendering of the Word of God.Who wishes to affirm that the KJV in all respects accurately represents what the inspired writers originally gave us? It is a sad commentary on the attitudes of those who claim to love the Bible that they ,with oratory about its literary merits,are zealous to bind men to that which has demonstrated inaccuracies and is not completely intelligible in all its parts." (pages 40-41)
     
  2. Rippon

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    I have another quote from Mr.Lewis:

    "Were the KJV the form in which God first gave the Bible there would be justification for the insistence that everyone must learn its brand of English in order to learn the will of God.But it is not the original Bible. The translators worked neither by inspiration nor with special divine approval. There is no valid reason why God's Word should be frozen in seventeenth-century English [actually pre-1575 English --Rip] by those who have educated themselves to understand it while men perish for want of understanding. The King James Preface asks,'How shall men meditate on that which they do not understand?' Progress has been made since 1611. It is now possible to have a more accurate and a more readable translation than the KJV." (p.68)
     
  3. Logos1560

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    There are no scriptural reasons why the Word of God translated into English should be bound to seventeenth-century English.
     
  4. Amy.G

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    I don't agree that the KJV is "no longer accurate", but it is hard for the average reader to understand it's language.
     
  5. Tater77

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    When the meaning of words change, the accuracy of that passage(s) changes too. When the translators meant to convey one thing and someone reads it 400 years later and gets an entirely different meaning, then it is no longer accurate.
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    I would also beg to differ with the "no longer accurate" statement, but rather say "no longer absolute". With the evolution of the English language over the past 400 years many of the words used in the KJV are no longer explicit or absolute, but rather indefinite to today's common man.

    (Edit- Tater beat me to it, and with far less words, to boot!)
     
  7. glfredrick

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    A great translation, and greatly used, but dated...

    There are newer, great translations that do not require "re-translating" into modern English.

    Accurate, as long as the original word usage is grasped. Unfortunately, in many cases it is painfully evident that it is not. That, in and of itself, is the greatest reason to select another newer translation.

    For the same reasons the original KJV translators worked, we work on still on new versions that are accessible to the people.
     
  8. robycop3

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    If it was accurate when it was first written, it's accurate now, long as we keep the archaic language in its in its meanings at the time it was written.
     
  9. glfredrick

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    I don't think the question is one of "accuracy." But rather of usefulness. What has to be re-translated before it can be understood at the fullness of its accuracy is not useful to the masses, and that is exactly what is happening with the KJV in today's world.

    I'm a seminary trained pastor, who has done multiple semesters of work in the original languages, plus a smattering of Latin, German, and Spanish. I find some of the language in the 1611 version as difficult as any of the foreign languages that I work with. Not quite so bad with the updates, but there are still issues even there.

    In churches where I've served, I have often ran into people that were KJV users. What I found most often in run of the mill church members is that they think that the "thees" and "thous" make the readings sound more holy and godly. It is almost as if they expect that the KJV language is a special "godly" language that is set apart from everyday English. Of course that flies in the face of the fact that Koine Greek was the "everyday" Greek of the marketplace -- the language people actually spoke -- instead of the much more formal Classical Greek that could have been used. So, we end up with a Bible intended for all people that can only be read by those with classical language training because a translation that WAS in the language of the regular people when it was done in the 1600s no longer represents the form of English used today in 2010. Weird, huh...
     
  10. Rippon

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    Your "no longer absolute" terminology is rather mysterious. Please elaborate.
     
  11. Rippon

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    It was fairly accuate in 1611. But you must remember that it's not just a matter of updating antiquated expressions. The revisers made a lot of mistakes.Honest mistakes,but still mistakes nontheless apart from what we now deem archaic language.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Clarification: The language of the KJV was not in the vernacular of the people of 1611. The language of the KJV was old-fashioned even then. It was not every-day English 400 years ago. It was kind of quaint. Thees and thous etc. had largely fallen out of common speech decades before.

    The KJV revisers and Tyndale himself didn't know about marketplace Greek.Although Tyndale's translation was written in a more idiomatic style in 1534. I think it is less difficult than the KJV for the most part.

    The KJV was written in a fancy-dancy style thinking it was more dignified -- although that distorts the meaning of the New Testament authors.
     
  13. Rippon

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    Pages 285,286 from McGrath's book

    The following is from In The Beginning by Alister McGrath.

    With Laud out of the way,[he was executed --Rip]serious opposition to the King James Bible gathered momentum. Calls for the revision of the translation became increasingly frequent and strident. In a sermon delivered before the House of Commons,assembled at the church of St. Margaret's, Westminster,on August 26,1645,John Lightfoot (1602-75) argued the case for a revised translation,which would be both accurate and lively:

    It was the course of Nehemiah when he was reforming that he caused not the law only to be read and the sense given,but also caused the people to "understand the reading.' And certainly it would not be the least advantage that you might do to the three nations,if not the greatest,if they by your care and means might come to understand the proper and genuine reading of the Scripture by an exact,vigorous and lively translation.

    The Parliamtary Grand Committe for Religion eventually agreed to order a subcommittee to look into this matter. It was clear that the complaints against the King James Bible could be broadly divided into two categories: the many misprints in the printed version of the text,which caused confusion to readers;and,perhaps more seriously,questions concerning the accuracy of the translation itself. A Parliamentary group that crystallized around Henry Jessey (1601-63), noted for his competence in sacred languages,concluded that the literary style of the King James Bible left something to be desired; "many places which are not falsely may be yet better rendered." Similar comments can be found in Robert Gell's An Essay Towards the Amendment of the Last English Translation of the Bible (1659).

     
  14. Jim1999

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    When I first came to Canada and the USA in 1948, I was lost in the English spoken in the Americas too. I am sure that we could lose you in England to-day as well.

    There is a town in northern England that still speaks with thee's and thou's. There are common words with totally different meanings in England than in America.

    The most common kj translation is a 1769 version, and still in print to-day. I have used mine since 1945. I learned all my theology from this bible, and I doubt anyone can find fault with my theology.

    We fought against modernism through the late 40's, 50's and into the 60's using the kjv. Modernists used a newer translation called the rsv.

    I am not arguing against modern translations. I have about 14 myself, Greek and Hebrew, but still lean back to my good, old reliable kjv despite its minor errors, word changes and incorrect names.

    Most of our baptist churches in Canada still use the kjv as their primary bibles in the pews. Many also use the niv.

    Note, I am not a kjvo advocate, just grew up in the wrong era I guess.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  15. sag38

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    Nothing wrong with that Jim. Much of the scripture in my mind is KJV. I don't use the KJV translation anymore but it's imbedded in my harddrive.
     
  16. Mexdeaf

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    I meant that in two ways- the KJV is no longer "king" of translations, and people's understanding of the KJV is restricted (hence "indefinite" and not "absolute") due to the evolution of the English language- especially here in the good ole USA.

    But as I said- Tater77 said it better with fewer words.
     
  17. Rippon

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    You mean that KJV-speak is no longer clear. Because the word 'absolute" has the connotation of being perfect or complete -- it has never been perfect or complete -- no translation can be.
     
  18. Rippon

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    One of my favorite books which I have mentioned over the last four years on the BB has been : The Challenge Of Bible Translation General Editors :Scorgie,Strauss, and Voth.

    Moises Silva wrote the first chapter called "Are Translators Traitors? Some Personal Reflections." Here is part of what he said on page 47:

    The King James translators, for all their skill,failed to preserve countless features -- both formal and semantic -- that were present in the original Hebrew and Greek texts. By the same token,their mere use of seventeenth-century English ensured that,at virtually every turn,they would add features absent from the original. Yet this simple reality does not for a moment take anything away from their magnificent achievement. They responsibly interpreted the text,then transposed it to a different historical setting and thereby transmuted it into a form it did not have before. But that hardly means they betrayed the text. On the contrary,such a transformation made it possible for millions to hear and understand its message.
     
  19. Mexdeaf

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    I bow to your excellency. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  20. Logos1560

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    From a draft of a bill for revising the English translation, John Stoughton listed the following men who were to “search and observe wherein the last translation appears to be wronged by the Prelates, or printers, or others”: “John Owen, Ralph Cudworth, Mr. Jenkins, William Greenhill, Samuel Slater, William Cowper, Henry Jessey, Ralph Venninge, and John Row” (Ecclesiastical History of England, II, p. 545). Stoughton cited the bill as appointing Dr. Thomas Goodwin, Dr. [Anthony] Tuckney, and Mr. Joseph Caryl as supervisors of the revision (p. 545). Ira Price observed that “the reasons that lay back of the bill were in part errors, mainly printers’, and some in translation, and also the so-called prelatical language of the version” (Ancestry, p. 280). Henry Barker noted that “the errors of the Authorized Version, through careless editing and proof-reading, but still more what was called its ‘mistranslations’ and its ‘prelatic language’ contributed toward the movement” (English Bible, p. 187). H. W. Hoare wrote: “In part they were influenced by the fact that many blunders had already come to light in the printing, and that the new edition was accused in certain quarters both of numerous mistranslations and also of “speaking the prelatic language’” (Evolution, p. 275).
     

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