The story behind king James’ bible, including the men who were involved in producing it
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There is a special movement, “KJV only”, which claims that the King James version is the most accurate bible-translation. Some say that it has all things right and has no errors. Some have even claimed or insinuated that translation was inspired by God. What should one think of those claims?
This article brings forth some facts regarding the King James translation and how it came to be produced, including the men who were involved in producing it. Some examples of the text of its first edition, 1611, are also included.
Some might not know this, but the KJV (1611) was merely a slight revision of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible. Later in this article there is more on this, including a text comparison. There are also some notes on the so-called “received text” or “textus receptus”, the Latin-Greek NT text compilation which was produced by the Catholic priest Gerrit Gerritszoon (“Erasmus”) and which some have erroneously claimed to have been the basis for the New Testament part of king James’ bible.
Here is a sample of the looks of the first KJV edition in 1611, a part of Genesis 1:
As you can see, the main text of the first edition of king James’ bible was printed with the antiquated Gothic or “black letter” font. It may be that that old font, and spellings and wordings that probably were archaic already in those days, were used for the purpose of producing an air of “ancientness” or “authority”.
Many might find it hard to read the old-style letters in the text sample above. Here are verses 1–12 in modern-day letters, but with the 1611 wording and spelling:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the Heauen, and the Earth. 2 And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God diuided the light from the darkenesse. 5 And God called the light, Day, and the darknesse he called Night: and the euening and the morning were the first day. 6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters: and let it diuide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament; and diuided the waters, which were vnder the firmament, from the waters, which were aboue the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament, Heauen: and the euening and the morning were the second day. 9 And God said, Let the waters vnder the heauen be gathered together vnto one place, and let the dry land appeare: and it was so. 10 And God called the drie land, Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called hee, Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the Earth bring foorth grasse, the herbe yeelding seed, and the fruit tree, yeelding fruit after his kinde, whose seed is in it selfe, vpon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought foorth grasse, and herbe yeelding seed after his kinde, and the tree yeelding fruit, whose seed was in it selfe, after his kinde: and God saw that it was good. (KJV 1611)
As was mentioned earlier, the 1611 KJ version was not a new translation. It was merely a slight revision of the 1602 edition of Bishop’s bible, with some stylistic changes, and with certain things “adjusted” according to the king’s wishes.
In the first printed version of the KJV, the publisher (the printing house) included a claim that it was “newly translated out of the original tongues”, but that was not true. The “translation group” was given forty wide-margin prints of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible (a Church of England translation), and their orders were to produce a text that was as close as possible to that 1602 edition, with as few changes as possible – but again, certain things were to be “adjusted” according to the king’s wishes.
Appendix 1 at the end of this article contains a comparison of the texts of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible and the 1611 KJV.
Appendix 2 has some notes on the so-called “received text” or “textus receptus”, the Greek part in the Latin-Greek New Testament “Novum Instrumentum Omne” which was produced by the Catholic priest Gerrit Gerritszoon, “Erasmus”. There is also a text-sample, from a 1516 edition. (Some have misleadingly claimed that Gerritszoon’s text was the basis for the New Testament part of king James’ bible.)
Appendix 3 contains another example of the text in the 1611 KJV (Hebrews 1), and links to downloadable PDF-format copies of the book of Matthew and the dedication letter, the “Epistle Dedicatorie”.
Some writers have said that those men were “among the best translators” that were found in England at that time. That might be, but really what kind of people were they?
This was in the early 1600s. Western Europe had been ruled by the Catholic Church for circa 1000 years. Even though the Church of England had broken financial and political ties with Rome, it was still basically Catholic in regard to its dogmas and practices. And so, even the men whom king James in 1604 put to produce a new bible-edition were basically Catholic, in regard to their religion.
And again, it was not a “new translation” they produced but merely a slight revision of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible.
For a list of the men whom the king selected to produce that revision, see appendix 4.
In other words: Was it made for the purpose of producing a text that was closer to the original languages? No. Read on, for more on this.
It was in 1604 that James ordered the production of a new bible-edition for the Church of England whose head he had made himself. He gave the men whom he engaged in that project, orders to produce a text that was a close copy of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible, with as few changes as possible. In other words: He ordered in 1604 a new edition, to replace one that had been published only two years earlier. And still, it was to be a close copy of the 1602 text. So, what was the point with that project?
The answer is that it was for political reasons James was not satisfied with the 1602 translation. And so, in January 1604, a few months after he was coronated as the king of England, [a] he ordered a revision of that 1602 version.
A part of the background is that James claimed that he was a “heavenly king” who was “not answerable to any man”. He used the “divine right of kings” dogma [b] as an excuse for his de facto dictatorship. He had a problem – some English bibles of the 1500s had marginal notes that were not in favour of tyrants. It appears that he wanted to produce a new “standard bible” which did not have such annoying notes. Also: He gave orders to the effect that the new text was to be written in such a way that it supported “church hierarchies” of the old (Catholic) type. – He needed those things, in order to stay in power. That is: In order to control the people of England for the purpose of securing his own power-position, he needed the help of the local priests in the Church of England. He could not personally control them, but he could do that by the help of a “church hierarchy”. This was one of the reasons why the men whom he in 1604 set to produce a new edition of the 1602 text, were given specific orders in regard to certain things. There is more on this, later in this article.
a James (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) became the king of Scotland as a child, on 24 July 1567. He was then called James VI (of Scotland). On 24 March 1603 when the Scottish and English crowns were united, he became also the king of England and Ireland, and was called James I (of England).
b The “divine right of kings” dogma is discussed later in this article.
Some have claimed that the NT part of the KJV was based on a “superior Greek text”. But, the facts are different.
For the first, king James’ bible was not a “new translation based on the original languages”, even though the printing house made such a claim. It was merely a slight revision of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible. Consequently, the 1611 KJV text contains peculiarities that are not found in any earlier text except for the 1602 BIS. – Some of the men in the “translation committee” may have looked even at some Hebrew and Greek texts, or at some earlier translations (Latin, English, or other), but again, they were told to produce a text that was as close as possible to the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible.
Secondly, the New Testament part of the 1611 KJV contains some wordings that are not supported by any Greek text, but which are found in the Latin text of the Catholic Vulgate version. The reason for this is that English bible-translations, including the 1602 BIS which was the basis for king James’ bible, have in many ways been influenced by Catholic things.
Regarding the so-called “textus receptus”, the Greek part in the Latin-Greek NT which the Catholic priest Gerrit Gerritszoon alias “Erasmus” in the early 1500s produced for a Swiss book printer, see appendix 2 at the end of this article.
The 1611 KJV included even the Apocrypha. Why? Well, because the Catholic Vulgate version had it. The Apocrypha was still there, also in the 1769 Oxford edition of the KJV. (Most present-day “KJVs” are of a much later date. In many of them, numerous textual changes have been made since 1769, not to mention 1611.)
A note: The first edition of the KJV went into print in 1611, but it appears that it was 200 years later, in the 1800s, that some began to use the phrase “Authorised Version”, as a name in capitalised form.
The question is, in what way or sense could king James’ bible be seen as “authoritative”? Let us consider who “authorised” it.
As was noted earlier, James the dictator king ordered in 1604 a revision of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible. It was for political reasons that he wanted a new text where certain things were adjusted. He had made himself the “head” of the Church of England, and now he wanted a bible which would make it easier for him to control that church, and through it the people of that country. Thus, king James’ bible was indeed produced “at his majesty’s special command”, just as is stated in many KJV bibles – by the king’s “authority”, and for his goals and purposes.
So, it was the dictator king who was the “authority” behind that new edition.
Concerning “authority”: James actually claimed that it would be right to call him “god”. He acted as if he was a “heavenly king” with a “divine right” to rule. He claimed that he was “not answerable to any man”. Later in this article, there are some notes on the “divine right of kings” dogma.
(Regarding the word and concept “authority” – the article nsa060.htm considers the matter of “biblical authority” and “spiritual authority”, that is, the question, who can speak for God?)
The concept “church hierarchy”, with “ranks” and “ordination”, is of Catholic origin. It has no basis in the Greek text of the New Testament. And yet, for instance king James’ bible contains wordings which cause the readers to think that those things are biblical. The reason for this is that James the king wanted the Church of England to continue to be controlled by a hierarchical system of the Catholic type. Earlier, when that church was fully Catholic, things were more simple for those in power. Common people were not expected to read the Bible, and only a few had access to it. But, by the beginning of the 1600s even some “common” people were beginning to read it. (A part of that matter was that English bibles, “non-authorised” editions, were produced in Switzerland and transported to England.) That could easily lead to problems for the king as well as for the religious system which he needed for staying in power.
It is said that James felt, “No bishop, no king.” In other words: If the king had in his control a level of “higher churchmen” who in their turn controlled the local priests and through them the common people, then the king was more likely remain in power. So, he saw to it that support for “church hierarchy” of the old Catholic type was included in the “new” bible-edition which he ordered in 1604. In that connection, he ordered “the old ecclesiastical words to be kept”. This meant that for instance such words as “bishop” and “church” were to be used, instead of properly translating the relevant words in the Greek text of the New Testament.
And, he saw to it that men of his liking had “high” positions in the Church of England. Those men helped James to stay in power, and he recompensed them for this. Some of those men were in the group which produced a new bible-edition for him (a revision of the 1602 edition of Bishop’s bible).
Among the originally Catholic concepts that were retained (and to a degree even emphasised) in James’ bible, were “ordination” and “offices” – a “spiritual hierarchy”. (Those things have no basis or support in the Greek text of the NT. The articles nea020.htm and nea010.htm have some notes on that matter.)
Also: The KJV text causes its readers to think that elders in the saints’ fellowships acted as “rulers”. Wordings of that kind had been used already in earlier English translations, but in James’ bible those things were made even more accentuated, emphasised. – The article nea040.htm takes a closer look at such passages as Hebrews 13:7 and 17 where translators have made it seem that the saints were “ruled” by elders.
James was coronated as the king of England in 1603. The previous year, 1602, the Church of England had published a new edition of “Bishops’ bible”. But, in those days, the Geneva Bible (an English translation produced in Switzerland, originally in 1560) was still in popular use. The Geneva contained some marginal notes that were not favourable to dictators. This disturbed James. Nor was he satisfied with the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible. And so, he ordered the production of a new edition. It was to be a close copy of the 1602 text, but with certain things “adjusted” according to his orders, and without marginal notes of the annoying kind. (There was a written 14-point instruction list in this regard, but James’ hand-picked men in the translation committee, and perhaps especially the final editors, may have received further orders of various kinds. And anyway, it is obvious that many of them knew well what James wanted.)
In a speech to the parliament (which he regarded as nothing), James claimed that kings
“haue power of raising, and casting downe: of life, and of death: Iudges ouer all their subiects, and in all causes, and yet accomptable to none but God onely”
(“Accomptable” = accountable.)
And, he even claimed that
“kings are iustly called Gods”
The article nwa021.htm has some notes on the “divine right of kings” dogma.
Much could be said about that bible-edition, but it is enough to note that it was not in any way “inspired”. Also, its claimed “accuracy” is a mere myth. It is not any better than other bible-versions; it contains bias and errors and even purposely twisted things, just as other translations do. It is simply a bible-edition which James the dictator ordered, for his own political purposes.
Here, some might wonder why so many preachers and “theologians” praise the KJ version, and speak against other translations. Well, perhaps they do that for the reason that the KJV contains many wordings which make it easier for preachers to control people.
Are there better translations, then? Well, some are worse while some others are not quite as bad, but it is important to understand that there are no “good” translations. Virtually all existing bible-versions have been produced by persons employed or controlled or influenced by the churches and rulers of this world. (Or then, the translators have copied things from earlier translations of that kind.) Consequently, believers should not put their faith in some specific translation but should strive to study the Bible in more depth. The articles nga020.htm, nsa010.htm and nsa020.htm have some notes on keys, tools and helps for bible-study.
See also the “recommended reading” section, after the appendixes below.
The men whom king James in 1604 put to produce a new bible-edition for him, were given forty wide-margin loose-leaf prints of the 1602 edition of Bishops’ bible (a Church of England translation). Their orders were to produce a text that was as close as possible to that 1602 version, with as few changes as possible, but with certain things “adjusted” according to the king’s wishes.
Below, the left-hand column contains the text on a page in the 1602 BIS which the “translators” were given as a basis for the revised text which James ordered. The right-hand column contains the same passage, as it is in the 1611 KJV.
|Bishops’ bible, 1602:||King James’ bible, 1611:|
|23:28 But Jesus turning backe, unto them, sayd, Yee daughters of Hierusalem, weepe not for me, but weepe for your selues, and for your children.||23:28 But Iesus turning vnto them, said, Daughters of Hierusalem, weepe not for me, but weepe for your selues, and for your children.|
|29 For behold, the dayes are comming, in the which they shall say, Happie are the barren, and the wombes that neuer bare, & the paps which neuer gaue sucke.||29 For beholde, the dayes are comming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that neuer bare, and the paps which neuer gaue sucke.|
|30 Then shall they beginne to say to the mountaines, Fall on vs, and to the hilles, Couer vs.||30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountaines, Fall on vs, and to the hils, Couer vs.|
|31 For if they doe these things in a moist tree, what shall be done in the drie?||31 For if they doe these things in a green tree, what shalbe done in the drie?|
|32 And there were two other euill doers, led with him, to be put to death.||32 And there were also two other malefactors led with him, to bee put to death.|
|33 And after that they were come to the place which is called Caluarie, there they crucified him, and the euill doers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.||33 And when they were come to the place which is called Caluarie, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.|
|34 Then sayd Iesus, Father, forgiue them, for they wote not what they doe: And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.||34 Then said Iesus, Father, forgiue them, for they know not what they doe: And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.|
|35 And the people stoode beholding, and the rulers mocked him with them, saying, He saued other men, let him saue himselfe, if he bee verie Christ, the chosen of God.||35 And the people stood beholding, & the rulers also with them derided him, saying, Hee saued others, let him saue himselfe, if he be Christ, [the] chosen of God.|
|36 The souldiers also mocked him, comming to him, and offering him vineger,||36 And the souldiers also mocked him, comming to him, and offering him vineger,|
|37 And saying, If thou bee the king of the Iewes, saue thy selfe.||37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Iewes, saue thy selfe.|
|38 And a superscription was written ouer him with letters of Greeke, and Latin, and Hebrewe, THIS IS THE KING OF THE IEWES.||38 And a superscription also was written ouer him in letters of Greeke, and Latin, & Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE IEWES.|
|39 And one of the euill doers, which were hanged, railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, saue thy selfe and vs.||39 And one of ye malefactors, which were hanged, railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, saue thy selfe and vs.|
|40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, fearest thou not God, seeing thou art in the same damnation?||40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, Doest not thou feare God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?|
|41 And we truely are righteousely punished; for we receiue according to our deeds, but this man hath done nothing amisse.||41 And we indeed iustly; for we receiue the due reward of our deeds, but this man hath done nothing amisse.|
|42 And he sayd vnto Iesus, Lord, remember me when thou commest into thy kingdome.||42 And he said vnto Iesus, Lord, remember me when thou commest into thy kingdome.|
|43 And Iesus said vnto him, Uerely, I say vnto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise.||43 And Iesus said vnto him, Uerily, I say vnto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.|
|44 And it was about the sixt houre, and there was a darkenesse ouer all the earth, vntill the ninth houre.||44 And it was about the sixt houre, and there was a darkenesse ouer all the earth, vntill the ninth houre.|
|45 And the Sunne was darkened, and the vaile of the temple was rent, euen thorow the middes.||45 And the Sunne was darkened, and the vaile of the temple was rent in the mids.|
|46 And when Iesus had cried with a loude voice, hee sayd, Father, into thy hands I will commend my spirit: And when he thus had said, he gaue vp the ghost.||46 And when Iesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: And hauing said thus, he gaue vp the ghost.|
|47 When the Centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, Verely this was a righteous man.||47 Now when the Centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.|
|48 And all the people that came together to that sight, when they sawe the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.||48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.|
|49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afarre off, beholding these things.||49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood a farre off, beholding these things.|
|50 And beholde, there was a man named Ioseph, a counseller, and hee was a good man, and a iust,||50 And behold, there was a man named Ioseph, a counseller, and hee was a good man, and a iust.|
|51 (The same had not consented to the counsell and deed of them) which was of Arimathea, a citie of the Iewes, which same also waited for the kingdome of God.||51 (The same had not consented to the counsell and deede of them) he was of Arimathea, a city of the Iewes (who also himselfe waited for the kingdome of God.)|
|52 He went vnto Pilate, and begged the body of Iesus.||52 This man went vnto Pilate, and begged the body of Iesus.|
|53 And he had taken it downe, he wrapped it in linnen cloth, and layd it in a sepulchre that was hewen in stone, wherein neuer man before was layd.||53 And he tooke it downe, and wrapped it in linnen, and layd it in a Sepulchre that was hewen in stone, wherein neuer man before was layd.|
|54 And that day was the preparing of the Sabboth, and the Sabboth drew on.||54 And that day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.|
|55 The women that followed after, which had come with him from Galilee, followed after, beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was layd.||55 And the women also which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the Sepulchre, and how his body was layd.|
|56 And they returned, and prepared sweete odours and ointments, but rested the Sabboth day, according to the commandement.||56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandement.|
|24:1 But vpon the first day of the Sabboths, very early in the morning, they came vnto the sepulchre, bringing the sweete odours, which they had prepared, and other women with them.||24:1 Now vpon the first day of the weeke, very earely in the morning, they came vnto the Sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certaine others with them.|
|2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.||2 And they found the stone rolled away from the Sepulchre.|
|3 And they went in, but found not the bodie of the Lord Iesu.||3 And they entred in, and found not the body of the Lord Iesus.|
|4 And it came to passe, as they were amazed thereat, beholde, two men stood by them in shining garments.||4 And it came to passe, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.|
|5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they sayde vnto them, why seeke ye the liuing among the dead?||5 And as they were afraid, and bowed downe their faces to the earth, they said vnto them, Why seek ye the liuing among the dead?|
|6 He is not here, but is risen: Remember how he spake vnto you when he was yet in Galilee,||6 He is not heere, but is risen: Remember how he spake vnto you when he was yet in Galilee,|
|7 Saying, The Sonne of man must bee deliuered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise.||7 Saying, The Sonne of man must be deliuered into the hands of sinfull men, and be crucified, and the third day rise againe.|
|8 And they remembred his words,||8 And they remembred his words,|
|9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things vnto those eleuen, and to all the remnant.||9 And returned from the Sepulchre, and told all these things vnto the eleuen, and to all the rest.|
|10 It was Marie Magdalene, and Ioanna, & Marie Iakobi, & other that were with them, which told these things vnto the Apostles.||10 It was Marie Magdalene, & Ioanna, & Mary the mother of Iames, and other women that were with them, which tolde these things vnto the Apostles.|
|11 And their wordes seemed to them fayned things, neither beleeued they them.||11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they beleeued them not.|
|12 Then arose Peter, and ranne vnto the sepulchre, and when he had looked in, hee sawe the linnen clothes layd by themselues, and departed, wondring in himselfe at that which was come to passe.||12 Then arose Peter, and ranne vnto the Sepulchre, and stowping downe, hee behelde the linnen clothes layd by themselues, and departed, wondering in himselfe at that which was come to passe.|
|13 And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emaus, which was from Hierusalem about threescore furlongs.||13 And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emaus, which was from Hierusalem about threescore furlongs.|
|14 And they talked together of all these things that had come to passe.||14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.|
|15 And it came to passe, that while they communed together, and reasoned, Iesus himselfe drew neere, and went with them.||15 And it came to passe, that while they communed together, and reasoned, Iesus himselfe drew neere, and went with them.|
|16 But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him.||16 But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him.|
|17 And he sayd vnto them, What manner of communications are these that yee haue one to another as ye walke, and are sad?||17 And he said vnto them, What maner of communications are these that yee haue one to another as yee walke, and are sad?|
|18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, sayd vnto him, Art thou onely [End of page.]||18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, saide vnto him, Art thou onely […]|
Again, the 1611 KJV was not a “new translation from the original languages” as the printing house claimed. It was simply a slight revision of the 1602 BIS, but with certain “adjustments” according to the king’s wishes.
There are strange claims regarding the so-called “Erasmian text”. Some have spoken much about its supposed “supremacy”. Some have claimed that it was the basis for the New Testament part of king James’ bible. But, the facts are different.
The “Erasmian” or “TR” text was compiled by a Catholic monk and priest, a Dutchman whose name apparently was Gerrit Gerritszoon (ca. 1466–1536). He used the Latin name “Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus”. The part “Erasmus” was probably after the “saint” Erasmus of Formiae who appears in some Catholic stories.
In the early 1500s, Gerritszoon produced a new Latin translation of the New Testament, at the request of the book printer Johann Froben in Basel in Switzerland. This was for commercial purposes, publishing and book sales. In that publication, Gerritszoon included even a Greek text, along with his new Latin text. It is not clear why he included the Greek, but some think that it may have been for the purpose of proving the “superiority” of his new Latin translation. His Latin-Greek NT was published in 1516, under the title “Novum Instrumentum Omne”. Here is a text-sample from the 1516 edition, parts of Mark 3 and 4 (Latin in the right-hand column; Greek on the left):
Gerritszoon produced his Latin-Greek New Testament in a haste. Apparently, he did not even have access to Greek manuscripts for all of the NT. It is said that in a number of passages where he lacked a Greek text, he created one by translating the Latin text of the Catholic Vulgate. This, and other things in connection with his hasty work, brought many errors into his text.
Over the decades that followed, there were published several different revisions of the so-called “Erasmian” Greek text. In other words: There are numerous differences between the text which Gerritszoon produced, and the texts which today are called “textus receptus” or “Erasmian text”.
In 1624, the Dutch Elzevier brothers printing-house in Amsterdam published an NT-edition, basing it on revised versions of the Latin-Greek NT which Gerritszoon had in the early 1500s produced for a Swiss printer (see above). In 1633, almost a century after Gerritszoon’s death, Elzevier brothers published yet another edition. In its preface, they included the promotional Latin-language sales phrase textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum, in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus, meaning, “so you have the text that is now accepted by all, in which we present nothing that has been changed or falsified”. That was not true – all did not at all accept that text, and it was not in any way without errors – but sales talk is sales talk.
It is from that Latin-language sales phrase, the part ab omnibus receptum which means “accepted by all”, that the misconceptions “textus receptus” and “received text” have then been produced.
In short: A number of writers have caused people to think that the Greek text which Gerritszoon in the early 1500s added to his new Latin NT translation, supposedly was a “received text”, as if it had been “inspired” or “received from above”. But, that is plain nonsense. Again, the Latin phrase textum ergo habes nunc ab omnibus receptum did not in any way refer to some “receiving from above” or “inspiration”. It was merely the publishers’ for sales purposes written claim that their text supposedly was “accepted by all”, ab omnibus receptum. (Which it was not.)
First, a picture of the page with Hebrews 1 in the 1611 edition of king James’ bible. In that edition, most scripture-text was printed with the already in those days antiquated Gothic or “black letter” font, perhaps for the purpose of giving the text an air of “ancientness” or “authority”. Note the archaic spelling – “diuers”, “yeeres”, “sonne”, “oyle”, et cetera, and the occasional use of v instead of u, the use of both “shal” and “shall” and also “he” as well as “hee”, and so on.
More of the 1611 KJV in photographic copy:
Some notes: Most of those men were either clergymen (priests of the Church of England), or university people, or both. In those days, universities and religion were intimately tied to each other. Also, many of them were personal favourites of James the king and upheld his dogma regarding “the divine right of kings”, and more. Further, it is important to keep in mind that in those days (early 1600s), the religion of England was basically Catholic. This was so, despite the political and financial break between the Church of England and Rome. The Church of England has never had a “reformation” of the continental type, and it certainly had not had anything of that kind back in those days. And so: The men who produced James’ bible, were basically Catholic, in regard to doctrines and practices. Politically, many of them were allies of James who acted as a dictator.
Those men worked in six groups, each group concentrating on a specific section of the Bible. It is said that 54 men were appointed to the “translation” work, but the names of them all are not known with certainty. Nor is there full agreement in regard to which group each of them worked in. And, there were even some others who assisted in the work. Thus, the list below is not to be taken as any “absolute fact”. Also: Some of the men on this list died before the work with James’ new bible-edition was finished. One of them died in 1604, without ever taking part in the work.
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Recommended reading here at the Bible Pages
What does the Bible say about authority? Who has biblical, spiritual or religious authority? Who can speak for God? → nsa060.htm
What does the Bible say about ordaining or ordination? How did the saints choose their elders? Were those elders “ordained”, and did they function as “priests” of some kind? → nea020.htm
What does the Bible say about elders? What was their role in the saints’ fellowships? → nea010.htm
Did elders in the saints’ fellowships act as “rulers”? On the translation and meaning of Hebrews 13:7, 17 and 24 and certain other passages. → nea040.htm
Are the rulers and governments of this world appointed by God? The so-called “divine right of kings” – is there such a thing? → nwa021.htm
Easy keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures. → nga020.htm
How to study the Bible in a deeper way. → nsa010.htm
Some notes on computer bibles, bible study software. → nsa020.htm
What does the Bible say about religious titles, such as “apostle”, “bishop”, “evangelist”, “father”, “pastor” and so on? → naa080.htm
The origin and meaning of the word “church”. → nga060.htm
For those who are interested: A free, printable word-search puzzle consisting of 65 archaic words from the original 1611 edition of the King James version. (The meaning of each of those old words is explained in that document.) → npa010.htm#45
Table of contents – Key-word index – Search function – On the goal and purpose of this site
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