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Featured English Bibles and the Apocrypha

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by rlvaughn, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I think there may be a lot of misconceptions about the Apocrypha – including thinking that the King James translation was the first English Bible to include it, or that supporters of the King James translation do not know that the Apocrypha was in the 1611 King James Version.

    Yes, the 1611 edition of the King James Bible (as well as some later printings) included the Apocrypha, 14 books between the Old and New Testaments – I Esdras, II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, The Rest of the Chapters of the book of Esther (usually called Additions to Esther), The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch (the Epistle of Jeremiah appears as Chapter Six of Baruch), The Song of the Three Holy Children, The History of Susanna, The History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasseh King of Judah, I Maccabees, and II Maccabees.

    So did the 1382 Wycliffe Bible
    So did the 1535 Coverdale Bible
    So did the 1537 Matthew Bible
    So did the 1539 Taverner Bible
    So did the 1541 Great Bible
    So did the 1560 Geneva Bible
    So did the 1568 Bishops Bible
    So did the English Revised Version (the 1901 ASV did not)

    From information I can find, William Tyndale did not finish the translation of the Old Testament before his death. Thus, we do not know whether or not he would have included the Apocrypha. This Apocrypha was also found in other language Bibles, such as Luther’s translation, the Zürich Bible, and the Spanish Reina-Valera. The Codex Vaticanus contained most of the Apocrypha and the surviving Codex Sinaiticus contains some of the Apocrypha.

    According to F. F. Bruce, Coverdale’s Bible of 1535 separated the apocryphal books from the Old Testament and placed them after Malachi (with the exception of Baruch which came after Jeremiah until it was moved after Tobit in the 1537 edition of Coverdale). (The Books and the Parchments: How We God Our English Bible, Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1950, p. 163)

    As best I can tell, both the Puritans and High-Church Anglicans subscribed to “Article VI on the Holy Scriptures” from the Book of Articles which was “agreed upon by the archbishops and bishops of both provinces and the whole clergy in the convocation holden at London in the year 1562...” Referencing the Apocrypha, Article VI stated, “And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine...”

    The Second Cambridge Company of King James translators, under the leadership of John Duport, were tasked with translating the Apocrypha. Alexander McClure lists the following reasons for not admitting the apocryphal books into the canon. Some people take this to mean the reasons of the Second Cambridge Company, but it might be an explanation by McClure instead (it is not clear to me which he meant).

    “The reasons assigned for not admitting the apocryphal books into the canon, or list, of inspired Scriptures are briefly the following. 1. Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament. 2. Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration. 3. These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord. 4. They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church. 5. They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures but themselves; as when in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places. 6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the bible, such a prayers for the dead, and sinless perfection. 7. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation. For these and other reasons, the Apocryphal books, which are all in Greek, except one which is extant only in Latin, are valuable as ancient documents, illustrative of manners, language, opinions and history of the East.” (The Translators Revived: a Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible, by Alexander Wilson McClure, pp. 185-186)

    Newer editions such as the Revised Standard Version of the Bible also included the Apocrypha. The New Testament translation was first published in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and then the Apocrypha in 1957. Some early printings of the King James Version did not include the Apocrypha. Such is also true of other versions – they sometimes had printings either with or without the Apocrypha.
     
    #1 rlvaughn, Mar 17, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    thanks, a good friend on mine did have that Rsv with apocrypha, as was a catholic bible!
     
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  3. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    What were the views of Church of England Archbishop John Whitgift (1530-1604), who crowned King James I and who was associated with several of the KJV translators, concerning the Apocrypha?

    Thomas Smith cited Archbishop Whitgift as stating at a public conference at Lambeth with Walter Travers and Thomas Sparks in December of 1583 the following: "The books called apocrypha are indeed parts of the scriptures; they have been read in the church in ancient times, and ought to be still read amongst us" (Select Memoirs of the Lives, p. 327). Benjamin Brook also quoted the same above statement made by Whitgift along with the following other statements: “The apocrypha was given by the inspiration of God.“ “You cannot shew that there is any error in the apocrypha. And it has been esteemed a part of the holy scriptures by the ancient fathers” (Lives of the Puritans, II, p. 317). Based on Whitgift’s statements, Samuel Hopkins commented: “I will only observe that the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted that the apocrypha books were part of the Holy Scriptures, were given by inspiration of God, and were without error” (The Puritans, III, p. 45, footnote 3).

    In the third portion of his Works as edited by John Ayre, John Whitgift is cited as saying or writing the following: “The apocrypha that we read in the Church have been so used of long time; as it may appear in that third council of Carthage, and 47 canon, where they be reckoned among the canonical books of the Scripture. They may as well be read in the church, as counted portions of the old and new testament; and, forasmuch as there is nothing in them contrary to the rest of the Scripture, I see no inconvenience, but much commodity that may come by the reading of them” (Works of John Whitgift, pp. 349-350). William Daubney asserted: “Archbishop Whitgift makes some remarkably strong statements in support of the Apocrypha, in relying to objections: ‘The Scripture here called Apocrypha, abusively and improperly, are Holy Writings, void of error, part of the Bible, and so accounted of in the purest time of the Church and by the best writers; ever read in the Church of Christ, and shall never be forbidden by me, or by my consent” (Use of the Apocrypha, p. 72; Strype, Life and Acts of John Whitgift, Vol. III, p. 137).

    Is there any evidence that the KJV translators rebuked or criticized Archbishop Whitgift for publicly maintaining that the books called apocrypha are part of the scriptures?
     
  4. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    In contrast to the KJV, some of the earlier English Bibles had a clear disclaimer stating that the Apocrypha books were not inspired. KJV defender Thomas Holland acknowledged that the 1611 KJV did not have “an explicit disclaimer, as in the Geneva Bible” (Crowned, p. 94). Arthur Farstad noted: “Unlike its predecessors, which clearly stated that the apocryphal books were not part of the canon of Scripture, the 1611 Version contained no comments about the canonicity of the Apocrypha, thus leaving the question open” (The NKJV, p. 24).

    Before the Apocrypha in the 1560 Geneva Bible, the translators’ disclaimer began with the following: “These books that follow in order after the prophets unto the New Testament, are called Apocrypha, that is books, which were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the Church, neither yet served to prove any point of Christian religion.“

    In the 1611 edition of the KJV on the same page with the table that gives the order how the Psalms are to be read, there is also this heading: “The order how the rest of holy Scripture (beside the Psalter) is appointed to be read.“ On the next pages of the 1611 that lists the lessons from the “rest of holy Scripture” are included some readings from the Apocrypha. Thus, these pages of the liturgical calendar in the 1611 KJV assigned portions of the Apocrypha to be read in the churches.
     
  5. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    The actual high regard that the Church of England of the 1500's and 1600's had for the Apocrypha can be seen in The Books of Homilies.

    These books were a collection of "authorized sermons" that were intended to be read aloud in the state churches. The first book of twelve homilies was issued in 1547 with authority of the Council. A second book with twenty-one homilies was issued in 1571 under Queen Elizabeth. Davies observed that "the first book of homilies was issued as a standard of Biblical doctrine and preaching for the nation" (Worship and Theology, I, p. 231). Hughes noted that King James I laid down that "preaching ministers are to take the Articles of 1563 and the two Books of Homilies 'for a pattern and a boundary'" (Reformation in England, p. 399). Does that suggest that the KJV translators were required to accept them as a boundary or standard? Peirce pointed out that in the Church of England's Homilies: "Baruch is cited as the Prophet Baruch; and his writing is called, 'The word of the Lord to the Jews'" (Vindication, pp. 537-538). Peirce also claimed that in the Homilies "the book of Tobit is attributed to the Holy Ghost" (p. 538).
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    IF that viewpoint was the prominent one among the 1611 translators, then they were far from creating a perfect translation, as erred even in what was canon and inspired!
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Did you look for any?
     
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  8. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I have looked to obtain copies of many of the writings of the KJV translators as I can find or to locate copies that I could read. There are no known books written by some or many of the KJV translators.
     
  9. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Both Whitgift and Geneva's statement recognize the reason for calling these books Apocrypha -- they are scripta apocrypha, or uncanonical writings. Of course, Geneva translators subscribed to the reason for the name, while Whitgift disagreed. The statement about Whitgift above also recognizes that he was aware of objections to those writings being part of the Bible.
    If you are aware that there are few books written by some or many of the KJV translators, isn't it a bit disingenuous to ask,
    Whether there is any direct rebuke or criticism of Whitgift, I know not. However, one prominent translator, the one who suggested the new translation to King James, is on record as an opponent of the Apocrypha as Scripture. Censura Librorum Apocryphorum was published posthumously in two volumes (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). As I understand it, these are his lectures about the subject given at Oxford. One problem for many of us is that it is in Latin.

    If I may insert a little humor into a serious discussion, in Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611 — 2011, Gordon Campbell reports: "John Rainolds, who was one of the translators, had given a series of 250 lectures in which he argued the Apocrypha was uncanonical; after that many lectures, any listener who was still awake would surely be convinced."
     
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  10. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    While all the KJV translators were members of the Church of England, they are sometimes divided into two groups. The majority of the KJV translators would have been part of the High Church party in the Church of England with views more similar to those of Archbishop John Whitgift and Archbishop Richard Bancroft. A smaller number had been once part of the Puritan party in the Church of England although they had been forced to conform (or keep silent about some matters) by the 1604 canons by Richard Bancroft.

    John Rainolds or Reynolds, who died in 1607, had been part of the Puritan party. The fewer Puritan-leaning makers of the KJV would have likely been more opposed to acceptance of the Apocrypha books than the larger High Church group may have been.
     
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  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Looking at the works of Whitgift, it appears that his statements on the Apocrypha are particularly in reply to the "Admonition to Parliament" (inciting them to establish a presbyterian government in the Church) and to related writings of the Puritan Thomas Cartwright. This appears to be circa 1574, before he became Archbishop of Canterbury. This is not to say he did not address it in other contexts or after he became Archbishop. However, it doesn't seem as Archbishop that he led the church to adopt a stronger statement in favor of the Apocrypha, which remained "yet doth it [i.e., the church] not apply them [i.e., the Apocrypha] to establish any doctrine." When Whitgift favored Richard Hooker and forbade Walter Travers to preach at the Temple Church, he put Hooker in a position to complete his Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie. Perhaps (and this is a tentative suggestion) more of the High Church Anglicans held closer to Hooker's view than Whitgift's. Hooker writes:
    In reading statements of Cartwright, Whitgift, and Hooker, it becomes noticeable that some of the disagreement about reading the Apocrypha (and other related matters) is based on the Reformed view of the Regulative Principle, which the Puritans held but the Anglicans did not. Interestingly, Whitgift held the theology of Calvin, but not the ecclesiology.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Much prefer them to be put in a separate bible by themselves, stating the Apocrypha!
     
  13. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    From what I have read, I think that there are more misconceptions and misinformation about the Apocrypha from KJV-only authors than non-KJV-only authors. I do not recall any non-KJV-only advocate claiming that the KJV was the first English Bible to include the Apocrypha.

    Many supporters of the KJV or KJV-only advocates do not seem to know that the Apocrypha was still in the 1769 Oxford edition and in most Oxford and Cambridge editions in the 1800's. If the official English printers of the KJV in the 1800's printed an edition without the Apocrypha, it was usually because it was a special edition printed for the British Foreign Bible Society or another Bible society that did not want it included.
     
  14. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Some of the statements cited were made in 1583, several years after 1574.

    Thomas Smith cited Archbishop Whitgift as stating at a public conference at Lambeth with Walter Travers and Thomas Sparks in December of 1583 the following: "The books called apocrypha are indeed parts of the scriptures; they have been read in the church in ancient times, and ought to be still read amongst us" (Select Memoirs of the Lives, p. 327). Benjamin Brook also quoted the same above statement made by Whitgift along with the following other statements: “The apocrypha was given by the inspiration of God.“ “You cannot shew that there is any error in the apocrypha. And it has been esteemed a part of the holy scriptures by the ancient fathers” (Lives of the Puritans, II, p. 317). Based on Whitgift’s statements, Samuel Hopkins commented: “I will only observe that the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted that the apocrypha books were part of the Holy Scriptures, were given by inspiration of God, and were without error” (The Puritans, III, p. 45, footnote 3).
     
  15. Logos1560

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    Jeffrey Miller asserted: "Different translators in the Second Cambridge Company seem to have used different editions of the Apocrypha's Greek" (Feingold, Labourers, p. 260). There were some textual differences in those varying editions.

    Samuel Ward is said to have used the 1597 Frankfurt edition of the Aldine Septuagint.

    John Bois is said to have used the 1587 Rome edition of the Septuagint or Sixtine Septuagint based on Codex Vaticanus.

    Nicholas Hardy asserted that Bois' copy of the Sixtine Septuagint "contains thousands of marginal and interlinear annotations in Bois's neat, distinctive hand" (Feingold, Labourers, p. 279).

    William Branthwaite had Melanchthon's 1545 edition of the Aldine Septuagint.
     
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  16. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    We can only speak from our own experiences. While I wrote in the OP that there may be the misconception "that the King James translation was the first English Bible to include" the Apocrypha, the thought of that possibility arises from people who have said or wrote to me suggesting that was the case. Most of them, when pressed, admit that it was in English Bibles before then -- which to me makes it the worse, since they were trying to pawn off something they knew was not true.
     
    #16 rlvaughn, May 10, 2021
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  17. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The 1611 should have not included them in their translation, or should have stated as the Geneva that were not to be regarded as being inspired as the 66 books were!
     
  18. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Or Wycliffe, Coverdale, Matthew's, Taverner, Great Bible, Bishops, English Revised Version, and Revised Standard?
     
  19. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    None of them should have included them.....
     
  20. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    So you would not be as forgiving and judge these upon their times and culture as you are willing for Calvin?
     
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