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THE left-hand pages of this Volume contain, in parallel columns, the two English Versions which were published in 1611 and 1881 respectively.
The left-hand column contains the Authorised Version, with its Marginal Notes. This Version has been reproduced, substantially, as it was first given to the public, no notice having been taken of the changes which were made from time to time (without known authority) in subsequent Editions. Typographical errors, and false references, have, however, been corrected. Italics have been used for the words which were printed in small type in 1611, and for these only. Inconsistencies in the employment of capital letters in the Edition of 1611 have sometimes been removed when they seemed likely to perplex the reader. The punctuation of 1611 has been generally followed: in a few instances, in which it was inconsistent, or tended to obscure the sense, it has been altered. The spelling has been generally conformed to modern usage.
The right-hand column contains the Revised Version of 1881, with its Marginal Notes. The Revisers' Preface, and the list of readings and renderings preferred by the American Committee and recorded at their desire, are also contained in this Volume.
The right-hand pages contain the Greek Text, as it appeared in The Greek Testament with the Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorised Version,' which was edited for the Delegates of the Clarendon Press by Archdeacon Palmer in 1881. It may be convenient to give the following extracts from his Preface.
This Volume is intended to serve as a companion to the Revised Version of the New Testament. The Revisers are not responsible for its publication. It is stated in the Preface to their Revision, that they did not esteem it within their province "to construct a continuous and complete Greek Text." They adopted, however, a large number of readings which deviated "from the text presumed
to underlie the Authorised Version"; and they put a list of these readings into the hands of the Delegates and Syndics of the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses, in order that they might be brought in one way or another before the public. The Delegates of the Oxford Press have thought it most convenient to introduce them into a continuous Greek text, and to set at the foot of each page the readings which they displace, together with those readings which are noticed in the Margin of the Revised Version. The body of the text is taken from the third edition of Stephanus, published in 1550.
'The notation employed is as follows:
A. denotes the Authorised Version of 1611.
the third edition of Stephanus, published in 1550. the Margin of the Revised Version.
November 1, 1882.
'To the great mass of the readings placed below the text no distinguishing letter has been added. These are readings found in Stephanus' edition of 1550, and presumed (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) to have been accepted by the Translators of 1611. They might have been denoted by the letters A.S.; but it seemed. needless to repeat that combination so often. It has been employed in special cases only, as for example, where a reading of the Margin is recorded in the same note.
When A. stands without S., it denotes a reading apparently followed in the Authorised Version, which is not found in Stephanus' edition of 1550, but is found in some other edition of the Greek text published in the sixteenth century.
'When S. stands without A., it denotes a reading found in Stephanus' edition of 1550, which does not seem to have been followed in the Authorised Version.
'With regard to the readings distinguished by the letter M., no attempt has been made in this volume to discriminate the various kinds and degrees of authority which the Revisers ascribe to the readings noticed in their margin. It is presumed that the Revised Version will be in the hands of the reader.'
THE English Version of the New Testament here presented to the reader is a Revision of the Translation published in the year of Our Lord 1611, and commonly known by the name of the Authorised Version.
That Translation was the work of many hands and of several generations. The foundation was laid by William Tyndale. His translation of the New Testament was the true primary Version. The Versions that followed were either substantially reproductions of Tyndale's translation in its final shape, or revisions of Versions that had been themselves almost entirely based on it. Three successive stages may be recognised in this continuous work of authoritative revision: first, the publication of the Great Bible of 1539-41 in the reign of Henry VIII; next, the publication of the Bishops' Bible of 1568 and 1572 in the reign of Elizabeth; and lastly, the publication of the King's Bible of 1611 in the reign of James I. Besides these, the Genevan Version of 1560, itself founded on Tyndale's translation, must here be named; which, though not put forth by authority, was widely circulated in this country, and largely used by King James' Translators. Thus the form in which the English New Testament has now been read for 270 years was the result of various revisions made between 1525 and 1611; and the present Revision is an attempt, after a long interval, to follow the example set by a succession of honoured predecessors.
I. Of the many points of interest connected with the Translation of 1611, two require special notice; first, the Greek Text which it appears to have represented; and secondly, the character of the Translation itself.
1. With regard to the Greek Text, it would appear that, if to some extent the Translators exercised an independent judgement, it was mainly in choosing amongst readings contained in the principal editions of the Greek Text that had appeared in the sixteenth century.
Wherever they seem to have followed a reading which is not found in any of those editions, their rendering may probably be traced to the Latin Vulgate. Their chief guides appear to have been the later editions of Stephanus and of Beza, and also, to a certain extent, the Complutensian Polyglott. All these were founded for the most part on manuscripts of late date, few in number, and used with little critical skill. But in those days it could hardly have been otherwise. Nearly all the more ancient of the documentary authorities have become known only within the last two centuries; some of the most important of them, indeed, within the last few years. Their publication has called forth not only improved editions of the Greek Text, but a succession of instructive discussions on the variations which have been brought to light, and on the best modes of distinguishing original readings from changes introduced in the course of transcription. While therefore it has long been the opinion of all scholars that the commonly received text needed thorough revision, it is but recently that materials have been acquired for executing such a work with even approximate completeness.
2. The character of the Translation itself will be best estimated by considering the leading rules under which it was made, and the extent to which these rules appear to have been observed.
The primary and fundamental rule was expressed in the following terms :—“The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops' Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the truth of the Original will permit.' There was, however, this subsequent provision:"These translations to be used, when they agree better with the text than the Bishops' Bible: Tindale's, Matthew's, Coverdale's, Whitchurch's, Geneva.' The first of these rules, which was substantially the same as that laid down at the revision of the Great Bible in the reign of Elizabeth, was strictly observed. The other rule was but partially followed. The Translators made much use of the Genevan Version. They do not however appear to have frequently returned › the renderings of the other Versions named in the rule, where those Versions differed from the Bishops' Bible. On the other hand, their work shews evident traces of the influence of a Version not specified in the rules, the Rhemish, made from the Latin Vulgate, but by scholars conversant with the Greek Original.
Another rule, on which it is stated that those in authority laid great stress, related to the rendering of words that admitted of different interpretations. It was as follows:-'When a word hath divers significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by