Why did the Calvinists abandon the Geneva Bible?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Jerome, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Harry Stout in The Bible in America: Essays in Cultural History, eds. Nathan Hatch and Mark Noll, p. 20:
    [With the rise of Covenant Theology, attachment to the Geneva Bible (which focused on more basic Reformation themes) waned.]
     
    #1 Jerome, Jan 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2010
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Puritanism was tied closely to the Geneva translation. It was anti-monarchial in its notes and hated by the English Crown (and crown-owned Church).

    So what did the Crown do? Translated a new (mostly borrowed) translation WITHOUT the biased notes.

    History tells us that the AV1611 slowly replaced the Geneva because the Geneva was no longer allowed to be printed in England. Importations were also limited. This meant the only viable translation available for the people was the Government version, and the Geneva slipped in popularity quite quickly. In the era of Cromwell, the Geneva was given to each soldier, but this was only a bried exception.

    Some have said this is not true and that the AV was the "people's choice" as both could be purchased/used and the people chosen the AV. That does not correlate to history.
     
  3. Bob Alkire

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    Your history agrees with the history that I was taught. I still use the KJV most of the time today(not the 1611 one)and enjoy it much. However if I had been around back then, you would have never got one in my hand.

    I guess the only other ones that I've liked a lot was the ASV 1901 and I have the NASV with in my mind is an update of the ASV1901. For years I was like A W Tozer said he was, could wait for the next new one to come out, then would buy it and read it and put it up and would be back to the King James. I have many on my book shelf that might have been read one time and many I didn't get through them one time. Don't mean they weren't good, just didn't move me away from what I had been reading.
     
  4. Jerome

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    :confused:
    OK so which is it?
     
  5. Logos1560

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    David Norton indicated that William Laud played a “role in securing the dominance of the KJB” (History, p. 104). Kenneth Bradstreet maintained that “the popularity of the Geneva Bible so disturbed King Charles and Archbishop Laud that they did everything they could think of to discredit and get rid of it” (KJV in History, p. 103). Conant noted: "So pertinaciously, indeed, did the people cling to it [the Geneva Bible], and so injurious was its influence to the interests of Episcopacy and of the 'authorized version,' that in the reign of Charles I, Archbishop Laud made the vending, binding, or importation of it a high-commission crime" (English Bible, p. 367). Edmunds and Bell affirmed that “Laud made it a high commission crime to import, print, or sell the Geneva [Bible]“ (Discussion, p. 116). Anderson pointed out that “one of the first books most strictly prohibited to be printed, imported, or sold by this Archbishop was the English Geneva Bible” (Annals, II, p. 390). Norton pointed out that Laud gave “the Geneva Bible’s commercial success as one of his reasons for its suppression” (History, p. 91). Anderson quoted Laud as saying that the “Bibles, both with and without notes, from Amsterdam” . . . “were better print, better bound, better paper, and for all the charges of bringing, sold better cheap” (Annals, II, p. 390). Laud’s decree to prohibit the importing of the Geneva Bible was around 1637. Bradstreet noted that Laud’s “propaganda campaign suggested that it was near treason to purchase a Bible printed in a foreign land when Bibles printed in England could be had” (KJV in History, p. 103). From 1637, some foreign publishers were said to print Geneva Bibles with a false date of 1599 perhaps to try to keep those who obtained them from getting in trouble with Archbishop Laud and the High Commission Court. Jack Lewis maintained that Archbishop Laud even ordered copies of the Geneva Bible burned (English Bible, p. 32). Bobrick asserted that Laud "even inserted Catholic prints of the life of the Virgin into Scottish editions of the King James Version of the New Testament and burned every copy of the Geneva Bible he could find" (Wide as the Waters, p. 278). David Katz maintained that these pictures printed in this KJV N. T. edition “were purloined from a small devotional book put out by the Jesuits at Antwerp in 1622” (God’s Last Words, p. 46). Daniell also confirmed that in 1646 William Prynne wrote that “he [Laud] would suffer no English Bibles to be printed or sold with marginal notes [i. e. the Geneva version] to instruct the people, all such must be seized and burnt . . . but himself gives special approbation for the venting of Bibles [KJV’s] with Popish pictures taken out of the very Mass book, to seduce the people to Popery and idolatry” (Bible in English, p. 458). Peter Ruckman referred to “a Catholic king (Charles I)” and to “the Papist Charles I” (History of the N. T. Church, II, pp. 5, 32) although Charles I was still a member of the Church of England.


    Daniell confirmed that the Geneva Bible "was suppressed in the seventeenth century" (Tyndale's N. T., p. xii). Norton indicated that “in fair competition” with the Geneva, the KJV “would probably have lost, but its supporters had foul means at their disposal” (History, p. 91). Norton observed: “Strangulation of the Geneva Bible in the press was the most diplomatic and effective long-term policy for the establishment of the KJB in England, Scotland and the American colonies that could have been hit on” (p. 94). Did the KJV ever face such extreme suppression and opposition from an ungodly king and state church as the Geneva Bible faced? McGrath pointed out that the Geneva Bible did not need any “endorsement by the political and religious establishment to gain enthusiastic and widespread acceptance” (In the Beginning, p. 127).


    In spite of all the opposition and suppression, Paul Wegner noted that "the Geneva Bible gave it [the KJV] competition for about fifty years" (Journey from Texts, p. 311). David Beale pointed out that the Geneva Bible "would remain the household English Bible until the 1650's" (Mayflower Pilgrims, p. 22). John Kerr maintained that “the Geneva Bible continued to be the most popular version of the Bible for a generation after the King James Version came out in 1611” (Ancient Texts, p. 92). James Baikie stated: "In England the popularity of the Geneva Bible, in spite of the efforts made to supersede it, lasted up to and through the Civil War" (English Bible, p. 243). Edwin Robertson asserted that the Geneva Bible “remained the most popular, particularly throughout the Civil War and Commonwealth period” (Makers, p. 111). Robertson wrote: "It was not until the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 that the AV really became the Bible of England" (Ibid.). Charles Pastoor and Galen Johnson agreed that “it was not until the Restoration in 1660 that the King James Bible surpassed the Geneva Bible in popularity” (Historical Dictionary, p. 175). Bradstreet also maintained that the Geneva Bible was the most popular English Bible “until the 1660’s” (KJV in History, p. 49). Thuesen also confirmed that with the Restoration the KJV “finally became the Bible for the English people” (In Discordance, p. 29). Worth also maintained that the KJV finally won the battle for supremacy with the Geneva Bible by the 1660's (Church, Monarch, and Bible, p. 158). Norton pointed out: “It was one thing for the KJB to defeat the Geneva, another for it to be the Bible” (History, pp. 106-107).


    In 1660, the monarchy was restored, and the supremacy of the Anglican Church was also restored. During this Restoration, Charles II was king from 1660-1685. Justo Gonzalez pointed out that “on his deathbed, Charles II declared himself a Catholic, thus confirming the suspicions of many of the persecuted Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians” (Story of Christianity, II, p. 163). McGrath observed that after 1660 "the King James Bible was now seen as a pillar of Restoration society, holding together church and state, the bishops and monarch, at a time when social cohesion was essential to England's future as a nation" (In the Beginning, pp. 288-289). McGrath added that "the most significant factor" in the KJV's final triumph over the Geneva Bible "appears to have been the fact that it was associated with the authority of the monarch at a time when such authority was viewed positively" (p. 289). McGrath noted that the Geneva Bible came to be viewed as a "seditious text" in Great Britain "because it had been the preferred translation of the detested Puritan faction" (p. 289). Bradstreet suggested that “the distaste with which the English people viewed the Puritan excesses under Cromwell led to a general repudiation of all things Puritan, and the fate of the Geneva Bible was sealed” (KJV in History, p. 106).


    In an article in the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Daniell wrote; "Contrary to the later prevailing view, it [the KJV] was disliked on its first appearance, and only overtook the Geneva Bible for commercial and political reasons. Idolization of the King James Version did not begin until the later eighteenth century" (Vol. I, p. 225). Norton also confirmed: “In spite of the later perception of the KJB’s superiority, this publishing triumph owed nothing to its merits (or Geneva’s demerits) as a scholarly or literary rendering of the originals: economics and politics were the key factors. It was in the very substantial commercial interest of the King‘s Printer, who had a monopoly on the text, and the Cambridge University Press, which also claimed the right to print the text, that the KJB should succeed” (History, p. 90).

     
  6. Logos1560

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    According to what I have read, the "Pocket Bible" was not a complete Geneva Bible. It only included some selected verses or portions from the Geneva Bible.
     
  7. rsr

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    That, I think, is the nub of the matter.
     
  8. Jerome

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    And none of the precious notes:tear:

    A complete Geneva would require a mighty big pocket:laugh:
     
  9. Harold Garvey

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    So why did they abandon it?
     
  10. rsr

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  11. Dr. Bob

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    The AV had no real "notes", but hundreds of alternative words that the translators said could be used. Of course, these disappeared in later revisions of the AV so that today some think only the words in the present text were "perfect". Even the Anglican translators knew better and that some Greek words could have 3-4 different English words.

    Bottom line. If our government today banned all printing, electronic media, etc of the KJV in any form, and would not allow importing of it, how long would it take until other translations replaced it?

    I'd say a "generation" (30-35 years). So 1611 to 1650 would have seen the gradual decline in the Geneva and other translations, and ascendancy of the AV. Exactly what history tells us. By the Restoration of the monarchy the AV was the commonly-accepted English translation.
     
  12. Thinkingstuff

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    Isn't it true that the AV was never really authorized by any authoritative bible authority or governing body?
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Actually I just read the cover page from Edition 1 of 1611 and it says [in modern spelling] "Newly translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revisited by His Majesty's special commandment".

    That would sure seem "authorized" by the Government to me.
     
  14. Johnv

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    That's been answered. They didn't "abandon" the Geneva, but were instead required to use the AV1611 by government mandate. The AV1611 slowly replaced the Geneva because the Geneva was no longer allowed to be printed in England. The Crown had made it illegal to print or own any translation other than the AV1611. The Government-sanctioned AV1611 was by default the only translation available.
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    I must have misunderstood Metzger.
     
  16. SolaSaint

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    Didn't most of the early American Puritans use the Geneva Bible? Seems like R C Sproul states this in the Reformation study bible.

    Has anyone ever seen the Bible Museum in Eureka Springs, AR? It really is a great place to go see if your ever in the area. They have about every Bible ever printed.
     
  17. robycop3

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    Many a KJVO, looking for something...ANYTHING...to justify their KJVO stuff, place a lotta emphasis upon the word "authorized". HUMAN"authorization" of God's word doesn't matter one quark to GOD.
    King Jehoiakim didn't exactly authorize GOD'S word to Jeremiah-he cut it up & burned it. But did it go away? Newp! God simply had Jerry & Baruch re-write it, but because of Jehoiakim's sin of burning it, He added more to it.
    Yes, the Geneva was abandoned cuz the British govt. tried to end its printing, and another factor was that the price of the AV came down so that more ordinary people could afford a copy. (Originally, the AV, with its TAX STAMP, etc. was beyond the financial reach of the common man.)
     
  18. AntennaFarmer

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    "Why did the Calvinists abandon the Geneva Bible?"


    Perhaps they just wanted an up-to-date translation in "modern" English.
     
  19. Jerome

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    Puritans and Puritanism in Europe and America: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia (2006), p. 324:
     
  20. Jerome

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    Elsewhere you wrote:
    Where can I read more about this?
     

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