This year is the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Translation of the Bible from the Hebrew language, to Greek, and then to English has a very interesting history. For many years it was illegal to translate the Bible from the Latin, an offence punishable by death.
Today, of course, the Bible is available to us in a variety of English versions and we forget the struggle and sacrifice it took to bring us the King James Version.
Here's the King James Version time line:
1380 The first hand-written English manuscript of the Bible is produced by John Wycliffe. He translated it from the Latin. There was such opposition to Wycliffe's work within the church that his remains were exhumed, burned and scattered in the river.
1407 The English Parliament passes a law prohibiting English Bibles.
1440 Around this date Johannes Gutenburg invented the printing press and by 1500 presses were in operation throughout Western Europe.
1525 William Tyndale, an English scholar and translator who became a leading figure in Protestant reformism completes his translation of the New Testament.
1529 Martin Luther publishes his German translation of the New Testament.
1535 Myles Coverdale completes Tyndale's translation and publishes the so-called Coverdale Bible, the first complete English Bible in print.
1536 Tyndale, after a year in prison, is tried for heresy, choked and impaled on a stake. His last words were, "God, open the King of England's eyes."
1537 King Henry VIII gives permission for English Bibles to be bought and sold in England.
1539 Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Cantebury, and a leader in the English Reformation, produces the Great Bible, which is distributed to every church, chained to the pulpit, and readers are provided for the illiterate.
1543 The English Parliament passes a law forbidding any English translation other than the Great Bible of Cranmer.
1555 Cranmer is burned at the stake.
1568 The Bishop's Bible is produced, a revision of the Great Bible, inder the order of Elizabeth I.
1575-1576 The Geneva Bible is printed in England, the work of English refugees from 'Mary Queen of Scots' persecutions who had fled to Geneva. This is the so-called 'breeches Bible" because they said God sewed fig leaf breeches for Adam and Eve. Verses were added for the first time, and this is the first translation based solely on the original Greek and Hebrew texts.
1603 Elizabeth I dies, James VI of Scotland becomes King James I of England.
1611 The King James Version of the Bible is printed. 54 scholars, working in teams checking each others' work, used all widely accepted English translations as well as all available original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. They printed the Apocrypha as a separate section. The stated goal is "not to make a bad version good, but to make a good one better."
2011 All Whitehorse United Church people read their Bibles with thanksgiving and awe.
Posted by Bev and Hank