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The Chronology of the English Bible

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Linda64, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. Linda64

    Linda64 New Member

    Jul 31, 2004
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    I found this site while searching for information on Bible Versions. It is the History and Chronology of the English Bible. It starts at 440 AD to 2002.

    A Chronology of the English Bible

    listing the events in the history of the English versions of Scripture, and of the place of Scripture in the church and in society.

    440. Roman legions withdraw from Britain.
    450. Anglo-Saxon invasions and settlement of Britain displace the native Celts in the south.
    597. Pope Gregory sends missionaries to Ethelbert of Kent, in the southeast of Britain.
    669. Theodore of Tarsus becomes archbishop of Canterbury, promotes episcopal hierarchy and Roman culture in the south of Britain.
    670. The herdsman Caedmon in northern Britain composes poems based on Biblical narratives in Old English.
    825. Vespasian Psalter gives interlinear Old English translation.
    856. Danes begin large scale invasion of eastern Britain. Destruction of monasteries there.
    878. King Alfred halts Danish invasion, divides Britain by treaty. Danes inhabit northeast half of Britain.
    900. Paris Psalter gives Old English version of the first fifty Psalms.
    924. Ethelstan becomes King and pursues conciliation and fushion with the Danes. Oda (a full-blooded Dane) appointed archbishop of Canterbury.
    950. Aldred (Bishop of Durham) writes Old English between the lines of the Lindisfarne Gospels.
    970. Faerman (Priest in Yorkshire) makes the first Old English version of the Gospel of Matthew in the Rushworth Gospels, based upon Aldred's gloss.
    1000. England overwhelmed by new invasion of Danes. King Ethelred flees to allies in Normandy. Aelfric (Abbot in Oxfordshire) translates abridged Pentateuch and several other portions of Scripture into Old English. Wessex Gospels give first Old English version of all four gospels.


    This is for information only. This is not a KJVO debate thread. There are links on that site that are very informative. Please feel free to post your comments. If you have any information on Bible Versions and where they came from, feel free to post that also.
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 22, 2005
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    Fascinating, Linda. Thanks.

    Here is a similar chronology of the Japanese Bible which I have put together. I wrote a more detailed history which I would be happy to send to anyone interested in an MS Word file. Just PM me.

    By John R. Himes

    724 to 748 A. D.--A Nestorian physician lived in Japan. Through his influence the Empress Komyo apparently became a Christian, and began various works of charity uncommon to Buddhism or Shintoism. Even before that, however, there was evidently a Nestorian church in Kyoto which is now the lecture hall of the Koryuji Buddhist Temple. Unfortunately, there are no Nestorian Bible translations extant in Japanese and no proof of the existence of such.

    August 15, 1549--The Catholics under Francis Xavier arrived in Japan and began seeking to win Japan to their religion. Unfortunately, Catholic missionaries evidently did not leave a Bible translation in Japan with when their religion was outlawed by the decree of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada in 1616. Some have said that the Catholics actually did translate the Bible, publishing it in Kyoto in 1613. However, there is little evidence for this.

    1819--The first Chinese translation was that of Robert Morrison, completed in with the help of William Milne. The Greek text used was the Textus Receptus (TR). Educated Japanese were thus able to read the Bible in Chinese even before the rescription of Christianity was lifted in 1873. In 1866, Missionary Guido Verbeck led to Christ and baptized a minister of the Daimyo (ruler) of Saga named Wakasa, who was very familiar with the Chinese Bible. In fact, Wakasa later did his own private translation of the Bible from Chinese into Japanese. He died in 1874. Wakasa's daughter and her friend were saved through Wakasa's efforts in translating the Bible into Japanese from Chinese.

    1837--Karl Gutzlaff, a German missionary to China, published the first ever printed Bible portion in Japanese. His helpers were Japanese seamen, not the most educated people in the Japan of those days. His version of John, based on the TR, the only Greek text in those days, was printed in Singapore. He called it the Shinten Seisho (God of Heaven Bible).

    1851--B. J. Bettelheim published his translation of Luke, John, Acts and Romans in China. A revision of his work with the Gospels and Acts was printed in Vienna in 1872, and many copies sent to Japan.

    1871--A Baptist missionary, Jonathan Goble, published his colloquial version of Matthew from wooden blocks.

    1878--Nathan Brown of the American Baptist Mission published his colloquial translation of the New Testament. This amazing man came to Japan at age 65 from his service as a missionary in India and Burma. This was the first ever complete New Testament in Japanese.

    1880--The Moto Yaku, or "Original Translation," was published. This was the first time the entire New Testament as translated by a committee (as opposed to a one man translation) was published.

    1887--The Moto Yaku Old Testament was published, thus completing the first entire Bible in Japanese. This translation was done chiefly from the KJV, but also drew from several other sources including the TR Greek text, the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Chinese Bible and the Latin Vulgate. Thus, to its detriment, it was a double translation rather than being strictly from the Greek and Hebrew. Unfortunately, this translation was done in very difficult classical Japanese, making it hard for any but scholars to read. Also, there was another problem. The level of scholarship of the translators was not quite up to par in some areas, so serious errors were made.

    1892--Shou Ueda of the Eastern Orthodox Church came out with a translation of Matthew, and an entire New Testament from the Greek (evidently with reference to the Slav and Russian Bibles) in 1901.

    1897--J. Batchelor completed and printed his translation of the New Testament in the language of the Ainu (indigenous tribes people), basing it on the TR Greek New Testament. This translation is still being printed for the purpose of research in the Ainu language, which is dying.

    1917--The Japanese Classical Bible was published, with the Old Testament remaining just it was in the Moto Yaku, and the New Testament being a revision. For the revision, for the first time a modern critical text was used, that of Eberhard Nestle. This New Testament was still in classical Japanese.

    1910--Emil Raguet who was the first Catholic to translate the complete New Testament into Japanese, working from the Latin Vulgate.

    1959--Another Catholic, Eusebio Brian, produced a Japanese Old Testament from the Vulgate.

    1959--Franciscan NT published, translated from the Vulgate.

    1980--Franciscan OT published, translated from the Vulgate.

    1928--A great Japanese scholar named Naoji Nagai completed and published the Shin Keiyaku (New Covenant), his one-man version of the New Testament from the Stephanus TR Greek text. It was a wonderful and accurate translation, so much so that when it was reprinted in the 1990's, it quickly sold out. However, since it was a one-man translation, was in the very difficult classical Japanese, and consisted of only the New Testament, it never became widely used except as a study Bible for pastors and missionaries. The Nagai Yaku unfortunately is now out of print. Thus, as of this writing there are no Japanese New Testaments available from the TR Greek text.

    1954--The New Testament translation of the Kougo Yaku (Colloquial Version) was finished. This translation was controversial for several reasons, the main ones being that it translated the Greek future active indicative tense with a potential verb, and it used the RSV for reference.

    1955--The Old Testament translation of the Kougo Yaku (Colloquial Version) was finished. Thus, the first complete Colloquial bible in Japanese was completed.

    1965--The New Testament of the Shinkai Yaku, a conservative translation produced largely along the lines of the NASV. Nestle's 24th edition was used for the Greek text. This is the Bible used by virtually all Fundamentalists and most Evangelicals in Japan, since it is the most conservative and literal translation.

    1970--The Old Testament of the Shinkai Yaku, done from Kittle's Hebrew text (3rd edition), was published.

    1975--The Ribingu Baiburu New Testament, translated from the English Living Bible was published. The Old Testament was published in 1978.

    1978--An effort from the TR Greek text by independent Baptists, the Kijun Yaku ("Standard Translation") project produced a pilot version of the Gospel of Mark, but it had many errors of translation and orthography. A handwritten first draft was eventually finished of the entire New Testament, but its whereabouts is unfortunately unknown.

    1987--The Shin Kyoudou Yaku, or The New Interconfessional Version was published. Since it was a cooperative effort of Protestants and Catholics, done by "dynamic equivalence," this version was rejected from the start by Bible-believing Christians. [​IMG]
  3. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf New Member

    Mar 14, 2005
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    Quite interesting. A couple qq-

    How reliable (maybe not the best word) is the Shinkai Yaku compared with the TR, if you have had a chance to look?

    And secondly, a personal opinion from you as to why the Kijun Yaku project came to such an end.

    Don't care to start a discussion out of thread but just curious. You may PM me if you wish. Thanks!
  4. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Aug 20, 2002
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    The 'historical' list is more on the order of propaganda
    than something useful. For example, a minor translationist,
    John Darby, is given much more emphasis than the King James Version
    is given. I know I have three different King James Versions that I use
    and others i don't use. But none of the history
    of the KJVs is documented in this Chronology.

    Entries about John Darby:

    1800. Birth of John Nelson Darby, first theologian of modern Dispensationalism.

    1830. John Nelson Darby inaugurates Pauline restorationist
    Plymouth Brethren movement in Dublin.

    1859. John Nelson Darby's New Translation of New Testament with critical notes.

    1864. John Nelson Darby visits America for the first time,
    promotes fully developed Dispensationalism among Presbyterians in lecture tour.

    1882. Death of John Nelson Darby.

    1890. J.N. Darby's English Old Testament

    Entries about the King James Versions (KJVs).
    Note that only three of them talk about a KJV instead of
    some other version. These three are denoted with a star (*):

    *1607. Work on King James Bible begun.

    *1611. King James Bible (dedicated to James) published
    and authorized in England.

    1755. John Wesley's New Testament revises the KJV with
    use of Bengel's Greek New Testament

    *1769. "Oxford Standard Edition" of King James version published.

    1870 English parliament asks bishops of the
    Church of England to form a committee for
    the revision of the King James version.
    Revision committee is formed, and work
    begins on the English Revised Version.
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 22, 2005
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    Hi, Mexdeaf. On your first question, the Shinkai Yaku, being based on Nestle's Greek text, would be considered a modern version, so omits the typical verses an MV omits as compared to the TR. As a translation, it is quite literal and fairly good by Japanese standards. However, the pool of scholars in Japan is very small, since only about .5% of the population are evangelical Christians. So it would not be very good when compared to the best English versions.

    Concerning your second question, I think it deserves its own thread, so I'll start one and see who is interested.
  6. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>

    Dec 11, 2001
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    I wonder about a lot of things in the chronology, but bible-researcher.com is a good site. F.G. Kenyon's work is worth reading.
  7. mioque

    mioque New Member

    May 23, 2003
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    I'm a bit surprised that the chronology mentions Vaticanum I in 1870 which had no influence on any English edition of the Bible as far as I know, but neglects to mention Vaticanum II in 1962 which did play a part in shifting the RC Bible translation practice from translating from the Vulgata to translating from the original languages.
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