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In this Volume are printed, in parallel columns, the Authorised Version of 1611 and the Revised Version, of which last the Old Testament appeared in 1885 and the New Testament in 1881.
The left hand column contains the text of the Authorised Version as usually printed, with the marginal notes and references of the edition of 1611, the spelling of these being conformed to modern usage. In the left hand margin are also placed, in square brackets, the more important differences between the edition of 1611 and the text now in use, whether these differences are due to corrections of the edition of 1611 or to errors which have subsequently crept in.
The right hand column contains the Revised Version, with its marginal notes and references.
The Prefaces of the Revisers, and the lists of renderings preferred by the American Committee, are also included in this Volume.
The Revision of the Authorised Version was With regard to the variations in the Massoretic undertaken in consequence of a Resolution passed Text itself, the Revisers have endeavoured to by both houses of the Convocation of the Pro- translate what appeared to them to be the best vince of Canterbury, as has been fully explained reading in the text, and where the alternative in the Preface to the Revised Version of the reading seemed sufficiently probable or important New Testament, which was first published in they have placed it in the margin. In some few May 1881. When the two Companies were ap- instances of extreme difficulty a reading has been pointed for carrying out this work, the following adopted on the authority of the Ancient VerGeneral Principles, among others, were laid down sions, and the departure from the Massoretic by the Revision Committee of Convocation for Text recorded in the margin. In other cases, their guidance :
where the versions appeared to supply a very 'l. To introduce as few alterations as pos- probable though not so necessary a correction of sible into the Text of the Authorised Version the text, the text has been left and the variation consistently with faithfulness.'
indicated in the margin only. 2. To limit, as far as possible, the expression In endeavouring to carry out as fully as posof such alterations to the language of the Author- sible the spirit of Rules i and 2, the Revisers ised and earlier English Versions.'
have borne in mind that it was their duty not to 4. That the Text to be adopted be that for make a new translation but to revise one already which the evidence is decidedly preponderating; existing, which for more than two centuries and and that when the Text so adopted differs from a half had held the position of an English classic. that from which the Authorised Version was They have therefore departed from it only in made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.' cases where they disagreed with the Translators,
'7. To revise the headings of chapters and of 1611 as to the meaning or construction of a pages, paragraphs, italics, and punctuation.' word or sentence; or where it was necessary for
In order to shew the manner in which the Old the sake of uniformity to render such parallel Testament Company have endeavoured to carry passages as were identical in Hebrew by the out their instructions, it will be convenient to same English words, so that an English reader treat the subjects mentioned in the foregoing might know at once by comparison that a differrules in a somewhat different order.
ence in the translation corresponded to a difference It will be observed that in Rule 4 the word in the original; or where the language of the Text is used in a different sense from that in Authorised Version was liable to be misunderRule 1, and in the case of the Old Testament stood by reason of its being archaic or obscure; denotes the Hebrew or Aramaic original of the or finally, where the rendering of an earlier several books. In this respect the task of the English version seemed preferable, or where by Revisers has been much simpler than that which an apparently slight change it was possible to the New Testament Company had before them. bring out more fully the meaning of a passage of The Received, or, as it is commonly called, the which the translation was already substantially Massoretic Text of the Old Testament Scriptures
accurate. has come down to us in manuscripts which are of It has been thought advisable in regard to the no very great antiquity, and which all belong to word ‘JEHOVAH' to follow the usage of the Authe same family or recension?. That other re- thorised Version, and not to insert it uniformly censions were at one time in existence is probable in place of LORD' or 'God', which when printed from the variations in the Ancient Versions, the in small capitals represent the words substituted oldest of which, namely the Greek or Septuagint, by Jewish custom for the ineffable Name according was made, at least in part, some two centuries to the vowel points by which it is distinguished. before the Christian era. But as the state of It will be found therefore that in this respect knowledge on the subject is not at present such the Authorised Version has been departed from as to justify any attempt at an entire reconstruc- only in a few passages, in which the introduction tion of the text on the authority of the Versions, of a proper name seemed to be required. the Revisers have thought it most prudent to Terms of natural history have been changed adopt the Massoretic Text as the basis of their only where it was certain that the Authorised work, and to depart from it, as the Authorised Version was incorrect and where there was sufTranslators had done?, only in exceptional cases. ficient evidence for the substituted rendering. In
cases of doubt the alternative rendering has been 1 The earliest MS. of which the age is certainly known
given in the margin ; and even where no doubt See, for instance, 2 Sam. xvi. 12; 2 Chr. iii. 1, xxii.
existed, but where there was no familiar English 6; Job xxxvii. 7; Ezek. xlvi. 10; Am. v. 26; Hag. i. 2.
equivalent for the original word, the Old Version
bears date A.D. 916.
has been allowed to remain', and the more ac- rendered in the Authorised Version by “grave', curate term has been placed in the margin. 'pit', and 'hell’. Of 'these renderings 'hell', if it
In some words of very frequent occurrence, the could be taken in its original sense as used in Authorised Version being either inadequate or the Creeds, would be a fairly adequate equivalent inconsistent, and sometimes misleading, changes for the Hebrew word; but it is so commonly unhave been introduced with as much uniformity as derstood of the place of torment that to employ appeared practicable or desirable. For instance, it frequently would lead to inevitable misunder•the tabernacle of the congregation' has been standing. The Revisers therefore in the historical everywhere changed to the tent of meeting', on narratives have left the rendering the grave' or account of Exodus xxv. 22, xxix. 42, 43, and also 'the pit' in the text, with a marginal note 'Heb. because the tabernacle of the congregation' con- Sheol to indicate that it does not signify the veys an entirely wrong sense. The words 'ta- place of burial'; while in the poetical writings bernacle' and 'tent', as the renderings of two they have put most commonly 'Sheol' in the text different Hebrew words, are in the Authorised and the grave' in the margin.
In Isaiah xiv. Version frequently interchanged in such a man- however, where hell is used in more of its ner as to lead to confusion; and the Revisers original sense and is less liable to be misunderhave endeavoured throughout the Pentateuch to stood, and where any change in so familiar a preserve a consistent distinction between them. passage which was not distinctly an improvement Their practice in regard to the words 'assembly' would be a decided loss, the Revisers have conand “congregation' has been the same in principle, tented themselves with leaving 'hell’ in the text, although they have contented themselves with and have connected it with other passages by introducing greater consistency of rendering with putting Sheol' in the margin. out aiming at absolute uniformity. In conse- In connexion with this it may be mentioned quence of the changes which have taken place in that ‘Abaddon', which has hitherto been known the English language, the term 'meat offering' to the English reader of the Bible only from the has become inappropriate to describe an offering New Testament (Rev. ix. 11), has been introduced of which flesh was no part; and by the alteration in three passages (Job xxvi. 6; Prov. xv. 11, to 'meal offering a sufficiently accurate repre
xxvii. 20), where a proper name appears to be sentation of the original has been obtained with required for giving vividness and point. the least possible change of form.
The Hebrew word Ashérah, which is uniformly As regards the use of words, there are only a and wrongly rendered 'grove' in the Authorised few cases in which it has been found needful to Version, most probably denotes the wooden deviate from the language employed in the Au- symbol of a goddess ; and the Revisers therefore thorised Version. One of these deviations occurs
have not hesitated to introduce it as a proper so frequently that it may be well to state briefly name in the singular (Judg. vi. 25, &c.), with the why it was adopted. The word 'peoples' was plurals Asherim (Ex. xxxiv. 13, &c.) and Asheroth nowhere used by King James's Translators in the (Judg. iii. 7, &c.), following the analogy of the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it oc- Baalim (Judg. iii. 7) and the Ashtaroth (Judg. ii. curs only twice (Rev. x. 11, xvii. 15). The effect 13), which are already familiar. of this was to leave the rendering of numerous In regard to the language of the Authorised passages inadequate or obscure or even positively Version, the Revisers have thought it no part of misleading Thus in one of the best known their duty to reduce it to conformity with modern Psalms (Ps. lxvii.), where the Septuagint has daoi usage, and have therefore left untouched all and the Vulgate populi, the English had ‘Let the archaisms, whether of language or construction, people praise thee, O God; let all the people which though not in familiar use cause a reader praise thee'; leaving it at least doubtful whether no embarrassment and lead to no misunderstandthe ‘nations of verse 4, or God's people, Israel, ing. They are aware that in so doing they will be referred to. And in Isaiah lv. 4, ‘Behold, I disappoint the large English-speaking race on the have given him for a witness to the people, a other side of the Atlantic, and it is a question leader and commander to the people', the word upon which they are prepared to agree to a ‘people' is naturally understood by the English friendly difference of opinion. The principle by reader to refer to Israel.
which they have been guided has been clear and Again, the Hebrew word goyim 'nations', which consistent. Where an archaic word or expression is applied to the nations of Canaan dispossessed
was liable to be misunderstood or at least was by the Hebrews, and then also to the surrounding not perfectly intelligible, they have substituted nations among whom the people of Israel were for it another, in equally good use at the time afterwards dispersed, acquired in later times a the Authorised Version was made, and expressing moral significance, which is represented in the all that the archaism was intended to convey, but Authorised Version by the rendering 'heathen' more familiar to the modern reader. In such or 'Gentiles'. While recognizing this moral sense cases the gain was greater than the loss. But in of the word, the Revisers have employed it much other instances where the word or expression, more sparingly than their predecessors had done. although obsolete, was not unintelligible, it was
Similarly, the Hebrew Sheól, which signifies the thought that the change would involve greater abode of departed spirits, and corresponds to the loss than gain, and the old rendering was thereGreek Hades, or the under world, is variously fore allowed to stand. More especially was this 1 As for instance, 'coney' (Lev. xi. 5), 'fitches' (Is.
the case when the archaism was a perfectly corxxviii. 25, 27), 'gourd' (Jon. iv. 6).
rect rendering of the original and there was no