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Featured The KJV Translators Superior Language Skills

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Jordan Kurecki, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    The following quote is from D.A. Waite's book "Defending the King James Bible"

    THREE SUPERIOR KING JAMES OLD TESTAMENT TRANSLATORS.

    1. The Accomplishments of Lancelot Andrews. First we will consider the Old Testament translators of the KING JAMES BIBLE and the accomplishments of Dr. Lancelot Andrews. He was the president or director of the Westminster group that translated twelve books altogether, from Genesis to 2 Kings. That was the task of Company One.

    a. First of all, he acquired most of the modern languages of Europe at the University of Cambridge. He gave himself chiefly to the Oriental tongues and to divinity [this is from TRANSLATORS REVIVED by Alexander McClure, p. 78].

    b. Second, Lancelot Andrews' manual for his private devotions, prepared by himself, is wholly in the Greek language. You can see the man was accomplished. Many Christians today don't even have private daily devotions. Of those who do, how many do you know who have made up private devotions manuals? And of the people who have made up private devotions manuals, how many do you know who have written them wholly in the Greek language? This most certainly indicates a linguistic superiority. [op. cit., p. 86]

    c. Third, "Such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental, that had he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he might have served as interpreter-general." [op. cit., p. 86] That is a great statement, isn't it?

    d. Fourth, "In his funeral sermon by Dr. Buckeridge, Bishop of Rochester, it is said that Dr. Andrews was conversant with FIFTEEN LANGUAGES." [op. cit., p. 87] Certainly he was a respected and superior translator. I don't know of any of these modern translators of the AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION, NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NEW ENGLISH VERSION, etc. who are conversant with as many as fifteen languages, do you?

    2. The Acumen of William Bedwell. Dr. William Bedwell was also in Company One, the Westminster group translating the books of Genesis through 2 Kings from the Hebrew into the English. Let us note a few things about him:

    a. First, he was justly reputed to be "an eminent Oriental scholar."
    b. Second, his fame for Arabic learning was so great that scholars sought him out for assistance. To him belongs, as

    McClure stated:

    "the honor of being the first who considerably promoted and revived the study of the Arabic language and literature in Europe." [op. cit., p. 101]

    c. Third, in Antwerp, in 1612, he published in quarto an edition of the Epistles of St. John in Arabic with a Latin version. Now, I don't know anything about Arabic, but to have an edition of 1, 2, and 3rd John with Latin and Arabic would take a tremendously capable scholar, a capable BUILDER of this building, the KING JAMES BIBLE.

    d. Fourth, he also left many Arabic manuscripts in the University of Cambridge, with numerous notes and a font of types for printing them.

    e. Fifth, for many years he was engaged in compiling an Arabic lexicon in three volumes [a lexicon is a dictionary]. [op. cit., pp. 100-101]

    f. Sixth, as McClure wrote:

    "Some modern scholars [in 1857 when McClure wrote his book] have fancied we have an advantage in our times over the translators of the KING JAMES days of 1611 by reason of the greater attention which is supposed to be paid at present [in 1857] to what are called the 'COGNATE' and 'Shemitic' languages, especially the Arabic, by which much light is thought to be reflected on Hebrew words and phrases. It is evident, however, that Mr. Bedwell and others among his fellow laborers, were THOROUGHLY CONVERSANT in this part of the broad field of sacred criticism."

    g. Seventh, Dr. Bedwell also began a Persian dictionary, which is among Archbishop Laud's manuscripts still preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. [op. cit., pp. 101-102]

    This William Bedwell, with his Arabic, Persian, and other Oriental languages, was greatly superior to our modern translators. Many modern "translators" come up to a word, and in a footnote somewhere. or in an index at the bottom of the page, they'll say the meaning of this Hebrew word is uncertain; so they have some other rendition of it. Well, the meaning of it is uncertain, perhaps, to these men who were living in 1960, when the NASV came out, in 1969, when the NIV came out or in 1979, when the New KING JAMES came out; but these men who translated the KING JAMES BIBLE knew their cognate languages well. They understood these references and there was no question in their minds about what most of these words meant. It is a strange thing; yet people doubt and question the authenticity, superiority, and the knowledge of these KING JAMES TRANSLATORS. Cognate languages are simply sister languages related to Hebrew like Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, and so on. They are related like brother and sister.

    A word may not be clear, or maybe the word is what they call a hapaxlegomenon. Hapax means "once" andlegomenon means "spoken or written." This particular word was used only once in all the New Testament Greek or Old Testament Hebrew. So it is difficult to tell sometimes what these hapaxlegomena (in the plural) mean. They go to other sources to try to understand the meaning. The translators of the KING JAMES, who knew Arabic, Persian,

    Aramaic, Coptic, and all the various cognate languages, could go to these languages and understand very clearly. But the men living today, because they don't know these cognate languages as well [they don't know fifteen languages like Andrews for example], just throw up their hands and say the meaning of the Hebrew is not certain.

    3. The Acceptability of Miles Smith. Dr. Miles Smith was in Company Three, the Oxford Group. That group translated a total of seventeen books, from Isaiah through Malachi. Here is some of the background on Dr. Smith:

    a. First, he was one of the twelve translators selected to revise the work after it was referred to them for the final examination.

    b. Second, Dr. Smith was employed to write that most learned and eloquent preface to the KING JAMES BIBLE.

    c. Third, he went through the Greek and Latin Fathers, making his annotations on them all. There were 100 Church Fathers that wrote extensively from 100 to 300 A. D. There were 200 more who wrote from 300 to 600 A. D. He read through all of them in Greek and Latin and made his own comments on each of them.

    d. Fourth, he was well acquainted with the Rabbinical glosses and comments. These are marginal comments in the Hebrew language.

    e. Fifth, so expert was he in the Chaldee (which is related to the Hebrew), the Syriac and the Arabic, that they were almost as familiar as his native tongue.

    f. Sixth, Hebrew, he had at his finger's ends. An extremely proficient man, and certainly SUPERIOR in his qualifications to translate our KING JAMES BIBLE. [op. cit., pp. 141-43]

    D. TWO SUPERIOR KING JAMES NEW TESTAMENT TRANSLATORS.

    Let us take a look at the superiority of two of the New Testament translators of the KING JAMES BIBLE.

    1. The Activities of Henry Savile. Sir Henry Savile was in Company Four, the Oxford group. That group had the task of translating six books: the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation. Here is some of the background on Henry Savile:

    a. First, he became, very early, famous for his Greek and mathematical learning. b. Second, he became tutor in Greek and Mathematics to Queen Elizabeth.

    c. Third, he translated the histories of Cornelius Tacitus and published the same with notes. Tacitus was a Latin historian, and Savile translated his work into English. The translators of these new versions, I'm sure, wouldn't be able to translate anything this complicated in Latin. In our country, Latin used to be required in the lower grades. In many schools it was a requirement for graduation from High School. Years ago that was the case; but now, in some schools, you don't have to take any foreign language at all. Some require you to take one--maybe French, German or Spanish. I took a year of Latin in college, but didn't have to take it in High School. I took Spanish there, and French in college. Of course I studied Hebrew and Greek in Seminary.

    d. Fourth, Henry Savile published, from the manuscripts, the writings of Bradwardin against Pelagius, the Writers of English History Subsequent to Bede, and Prelections on the Elements of Euclid. Euclid was concerned with geometry and wrote in Greek. Savile translated that, and other learned works in English and Latin. He certainly had to have tremendous skill in order to do so. Some of the works in Greek are most difficult.

    e. Fifth, he is chiefly known, however, for being the first to edit the complete work of Chrysostom, the most famous of the Greek Fathers. John Chrysostom had many pages that he wrote to the people to whom he ministered, and Savile was the first to completely edit his work. His edition of 1,000 copies was made in 1613, and makes eight immense folios. A folio is the size of a large dictionary or encyclopedia. That was a monumental task. I don't know any of the modern translators of the new versions (or perversions) who come anywhere near the superiority and skill of this man.

    f. Sixth, Sir Henry Savile was one of the most profound, exact, and critical scholars of his age and "meet and ripe" [as McClure noted] to take a part in the preparation of our incomparable version. [Cf. McClure'sTRANSLATORS REVIVED, pp. 164-69].

    2. The Academics of John Bois.
     
  2. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    Background of John Bois.

    (1) First, John Bois was carefully taught by his father. That is a good thing, isn't it? Fathers should teach more things to their children instead of leaving it up to the schools or Sunday School teacher. Talk about a child prodigy-- at the age of five years he had read the Bible--IN HEBREW. Think what kind of people in our day have anything even approaching the background of this man, John Bois. These men were giants compared to the scholarly "pygmies" walking the earth today. The reason it makes me provoked is that men are ridiculing the KING JAMES BIBLE as being old fashioned, outdated, inadequate, inferior--heaping up adjectives against this precious Book. They say the KING JAMES BIBLE TRANSLATORS were inferior and didn't have the privilege of all the learning we have today. The truth is absolutely the reverse. We don't have the privilege of all the learning that they had. Ask if any of the translators of the modern versions have read the Bible through at the age of five! They probably couldn't even read at five. Then put those other two words on the end--"IN HEBREW" and see what they say to that. They probably won't believe you. But this is found in McClure's book, TRANSLATORS REVIVED (p. 200).

    (2) Second, by the time Bois was six years old he not only wrote Hebrew legibly but in a fair and elegant character. If any of you know anything about Hebrew, it's not always easy to make the letters. He was writing them in a fair and elegant character at the age of six. [TRANSLATORS REVIVED , p. 200].

    (3) Third, he soon distinguished himself by his great skill in Greek, writing letters in that language to the Master and Senior Fellows at his college. If you know anything about the Greek language, you don't usually write letters in Greek. It's difficult enough to translate from the Greek into the English without composing letters, or talking in New Testament, or Classical Greek. This man was a skilled man, not only in the Hebrew but also in the Greek. [TRANSLATORS REVIVED , p. 200].

    (4) Fourth, in the chambers of Dr. Downe, the chief university lecturer in the Greek language, Bois read with him twelve Greek authors in prose--the hardest that could be found both for dialect and phrase. It was a common practice for this young man to read and study in the University Library at four a.m. and stay without intermission until eight in the evening, a total of sixteen hours straight. [op. cit., p. 201]

    The Classical Greek language has a number of divisions as far as its history. You go way back in the early Greek and you have the Homeric Greek. I studied Homeric Greek while majoring in Classical Greek and Latin at the

    University of Michigan. We studied Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Now that is an entirely different Greek and hard to understand. Then Classical Greek is a little different in spelling, dialect, rules, and grammar. The Classical Greek had Ionic, Doric, and Attic. The Attic Greek was the branch that became what we call the Koine Greek. But before that was the Byzantine Greek. The Septuagint Greek was Koine Greek. The Koine period was roughly from 300 B. C. to 300 A. D. The Koine Greek, the common Greek, used in everyday language, was the Greek of the New Testament. Then we have modern Greek which is somewhat different and pronounced differently. But Bois used the Classical Greek and had twelve of the hardest authors in prose and poetry.

    I remember when I studied Classical Greek at the University of Michigan. I was first of all majoring in Science and Math and was in the Pre-Medical major, intending to be a medical doctor. Then the Lord called me to His service, and changed my direction. I had to go to Seminary, so I changed my major. The seminary I was intending to enter (Dallas Theological Seminary), at that time, required eight hours of Greek before you could enter. So I majored in Greek and Latin, taking thirty hours between them. Before that, I had not had any language at all of a technical nature. I knew Spanish, but Greek was difficult at first. I took the beginning Classical Greek and took the advanced Classical Greek from Dr. Warren E. Blake who was head of the Classical Department at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He was a scholar and very competent in his understanding of the Greek language. I remember we had to translate various authors in Attic Greek, especially Plato's Apology, the life of Socrates which told how he would refute all those who would argue with him. It was difficult Greek! I would look at English translations and then look at the Greek. The trouble was the translations weren't literal translations like the KING JAMES BIBLE is, so it was hard to figure out what the Greek was actually saying.

    I remember many a time the Professor would give a deep sigh as I was trying to translate, making no sense whatever out of the Greek words, but I did the best I could. So I think of John Bois, and twelve of the most difficult authors his teacher could find as Bois went flying successfully through them.

    (5) Fifth, John Bois' library contained one of the most complete and costly collections of Greek literature that had ever been made. So, he was not only skilled as to his ability, but also had an extensive library to go with it. [TRANSLATORS REVIVED , p. 203].

    (6) Sixth, he was equally distinguished for his skill in Greek and Hebrew.

    (7) Seventh, he was one of the twelve translators who were sent, two from each company, to make the final revision at Stationer's Hall in London. This lasted nine months. If there were a problem in Hebrew or Greek, he had the answers.

    (8) Eighth, he took notes of all the proceedings of this committee. He was the secretary. His notes, by the way, are some of the only evidences we have today telling us how they went about things. [TRANSLATORS REVIVED , p. 204].

    (9) Ninth, he left at his death as many leaves of manuscript as he had lived days in his long life. I looked up his age, and he lived eighty-three years and eleven days. That totals 30,306 days. Imagine leaving over 30,000 pages of writing. A voluminous writer, scholar, reader, and worker.

    (10) Tenth, he was so familiar with the Greek Testament that he could, at any time, turn to any word that it contained. [TRANSLATORS REVIVED , pp. 199-208].

    So we have some translators here that certainly are superior by any standard you can think of or imagine. For the other translators, consult B.F.T. #1419, #584, or #804 referred to above. We never need to be ashamed of the men who gave us the KING JAMES BIBLE. They were skilled builders, building on the proper foundation with every tool at their disposal. They knew English, Greek, Hebrew, and the cognate sister languages. They applied their skills and did the job in a superior fashion.
     
  3. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    McClure has some interesting comments on those who might attempt to compete with the work of the KING JAMES BIBLE translators. He wrote:

    "And what has not been done by the most able and best qualified divines, is not likely to be done by obscure pedagogues, broken-down parsons, and sectaries of a single idea, and that a wrong one,--who, from different quarters, are talking big and loud of their `amended,' `improved,' and `only correct' and reliable re-translations, and getting up `American and Foreign Bible Unions' to print their sophomorical performances. How do such shallow adventurers appear along side of those venerable men whose lives have been briefly sketched in the foregoing pages! The newly-risen versionists, with all their ambitious and pretentious vaunts are not worthy to `carry satchels' after those masters of ancient learning. Imagine our greenish contemporaries shut up with an Andrews, a Reynolds, a Ward, and a Bois, comparing notes on the meaning of the original Scripture! . . . Let tinkers stock to the baser-metals; and heaven forefend that they should clout the golden vessels of the sanctuary with their clumsy patches. . . ." [McClure, op. cit., pp. 233-34]
     
  4. Jordan Kurecki

    Jordan Kurecki Well-Known Member
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    a couple of the other translators:

    John Overall. Dr. Overall received his doctor's degree at Cambridge University. He was celebrated for the appropriateness of his quotations from the Church Fathers. He had spoken Latin so long, it was troublesome to him to speak English in a continued oration

    Richard Brett. "He was skilled and versed . . . in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and Ethiopic tongues. He published a number of erudite works, all in Latin." He was a member of the Old Testament Oxford group. [McClure, op. cit., p. 144]
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Might I suggest you keep your posts short and to the point.
    Leave a link to something if there is a long article rather than using multiple posts.

    I’ve got nothing against the translators of the KJV, they were among the most skilled translators in their time.

    But so much more has been discovered since their time.

    Such as the use of Koine Greek, which was not really pieced together until the 19th century.
    And there are so many, many, many manuscripts available at hand, that they did not have knowledge of or access to in their time.

    Additionally there were Hebrew words that the translators of the KJV could only guess at (sometimes wrongly). Some of these meanings have been discovered and corrected.
    Our understanding of Biblical Hebrew has advanced.

    The growth of knowledge in the biblical languages did not stop in 1611.

    Rob
     
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  6. Rob_BW

    Rob_BW Well-Known Member
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    They were among the most skilled translators to ever walk the earth.

    But they stil translated into Early Modern English. :)
     
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  7. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Were the Church of England makers of the KJV actually spiritually superior and more sound in doctrine than any other Bible translators?

    Regardless of their claimed knowledge, the makers of the KJV were not infallible and perfect.

    They could still make mistakes in their textual criticism decisions and translation decisions that a supposedly lesser scholar could detect.

    Can you explain how these claimed superior KJV translators could leave errors uncorrected from the 1602 edition of the Bishops' Bible in their 1611 edition of the KJV?

    If these errors are merely assumed to be the fault of the printers, it still would not explain why the claimed superior KJV translators left them still uncorrected many years in later editions of the KJV. Several of the KJV translators held positions of authority where they could have required these errors be corrected in later editions if they were aware of them. Seventeen of the early editions of the KJV printed at London in the 1600's had the error "Jehoiachin" [the name of the wrong king] at 2 Kings 24:19 kept uncorrected from the 1602 Bishops' Bible.
     
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  8. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Miles Smith would not agree with your modern KJV-only view. Miles Smith and the other KJV translators actually rejected some of the arguments used for one perfect translation view in their day [the Latin Vulgate-only view].

    Gustavus Paine maintained that Miles Smith, final editor of the KJV with Thomas Bilson, “protested that after Bilson and he had finished their editing, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen more changes.” He gave as an example Bancroft's insistence on using "the glorious word bishopric even for Judas in Acts 1:20" (Men Behind the KJV, p. 128). Paine added: “The fact that Smith was the one to protest Bancroft’s amendments suggests that he stood against both Bilson and Bancroft in such matters as the importance of bishoprics” (Ibid.). Concerning the fourteen changes, Benson Bobrick asserted: “One of them was to insist on that ‘glorious word Bishopric’ for the titular authority of Judas in Acts 1:20” (Wide as the Waters, p. 248). David Teems wrote: “Because an argument followed between Smith and Bancroft, the Translators’ draft obviously read ‘And his charge’ (Geneva Bible) and not bishopricke” (Majestie, p. 232). Edward Whiston asserted that “many of those in King James’ time (had they been as well conscientious in point of fidelity and godliness, as they were furnished with abilities, they) would not have moulded it to their own Episcopal notion rendering episkope, (the office of oversight) by the term Bishoprick Acts 1:20 as they do in 14 places more” (Life, p. 44).

    In his 1648 sermon, Thomas Hill (c1602-1653), a member of the Westminster Assembly, stated: “I have it from certain hands, such as lived in those times, that when the Bible had been translated by the translators appointed, the New Testament was looked over by some of the great Prelates, (men I could name some of their persons) to bring it to speak prelatical language, and they did alter fourteen places in the New Testament to make them speak the language of the Church of England” (Six Sermons, p. 24; see also Currie, Jus Populi Divinum, pp. 37-38, Eadie, English Bible, II, p. 272, and Bridges, Patronage in the Church of Scotland, p. 6).

    The Calender of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1652-1653 as edited by Mary Green noted: “Statement that Dr. Hill declared in his sermon, and has since published, that when the Bible had been translated by the translators appointed, the New Testament was looked over by some prelates he could name, to bring it to speak prelatical language, and that he was informed by a great observer, that in 14 places, whereof he instanced five or six, it was corrupted by them. The like testimony was given by some other ancient and godly preachers who lived in those times, and some appearance hereof may yet be seen in a part of that very copy of those translations” (p. 73). John Eadie pointed out that the report of these 14 changes became part of the preamble of a bill in Parliament around 1657 (English Bible, II, p. 272). Eadie cited that preamble as noting that “the like testimony of these prelates” making those changes was “given by some other ancient and godly preachers also, who lived in those times” (Ibid.). Eadie also reported the preamble affirmed that “some appearance hereof may yet be seen in part of that very copy of these translators” (Ibid.). That important evidence asserts that some who examined the copy of the text prepared by the KJV translators for the printers saw evidence of the changes made by a prelate or prelates in that copy before it was lost or destroyed [perhaps around 1660 in the London fire].
     
  9. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    Well, sort of. They did reach back into Late Middle English for the personal pronouns, and for the person of verbs.

    thou - singular Nominative
    thee - singular Objective
    ye - plural Nominative
    you - plural Objective

    [Hint: if it starts with a "t" it is singular and if it starts with a "y" it is plural.]

    The verb forms are

    Have - 1st person
    Hast - 2nd person
    Hath - 3rd person

    (Hint: For 2nd and 3rd person look for the "s" in "hast" to identify it as "Second" person and look for the "t" in "hath" to identify it as "Third" person.)
     
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  10. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    very interesting
     
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  11. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    Do your posts in this thread suggest that your argument for your KJV-only view is in effect blind trust in claimed superior language skills and scholarship of one exclusive group of Church of England priests/Bible-critics in 1611?

    Do you trust completely the opinions and claims of those who have greater or superior knowledge in some area than you?
     
  13. Logos1560

    Logos1560 Well-Known Member
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    KJV-only advocates may likely ignore and avoid or dodge these sound observations.
     
  14. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    They (KJV translators) also included the Apocrypha neatly tucked in between the Testaments in the 1611 KJV of the Bible.

    Not a good choice agreeing with the Church of Rome Canon.
     
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  15. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I do not think any here would say that the translators of the Kjv were textual novices, or that none of them were that well versed in knowledge of the biblical hebrew/Greek, but would think that they were not infallible translators, nor were they aware of any deveopments regarding the biblical languages since their time!

    I would stack up those on the Nas/Nkjv/Esv teams against them....
     
  16. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    They didn't. They specifically exempted the Apocrypha from the canon.
     
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  17. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    That's not what I said.

    As a former KJVO adherent it was the major point of my decision to leave the KJVO camp.

    I was shocked, no matter their denials of canonicity, they included it within the covers of the first KJV publication.
     
  18. TCassidy

    TCassidy Late-Administator Emeritus
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    But they explained why they removed it from its former place in the Old Testament and segregated it between the Testaments.

    "The books of the Apocrypha, as Jerome says, are read by the church for examples of life and instruction in behaviour, but the church does not use them to establish any doctrine."
     
  19. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Ya, sounds like "Hmm, just in case the Pope is right lets put them here :Notworthy".
     
  20. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Andrewes and George Abbot were also members of the Court of High Commission, a British "Inquisition", and the Star Chamber, which performed a similar role. And their boss, Richard Bancroft, was a leader of the CofHC.So let's not be so hasty to say the AV men were all saintly.
     
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