EARLY BIBLES UPTO 1611
The original Old Testament scrolls were, for the most part, written in ancient Hebrew. With the advance of the Greek influence and culture throughout the Middle East during the second century BC the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. This was known as the Septuagint or LXX after the seventy translators who did the work.
The majority of the New Testament books were written in Greek. Later they were translated into Latin, and then into English. Jerome the most respected Christian scholar of his day translated the Latin Vulgate of 405AD. The Vulgate became The Bible of the Western Church during the middle ages.
Monks in Northumberland in around AD 1000 created the Lindisfarne Gospel written in Anglo Saxon.
John Wycliffe produced the first Bible in English in around 1382. Each was hand written; a huge effort, which made them vulnerable to copying errors and, unaffordable to working people due to the labour involved.
After Henry VIII broke away from Rome he had a copy of the Coverdale (Great Bible) chained to the lectern in each church, but when Mary Tudor came to the throne in 1539 she ordered them to be removed.
The increasing availability of the Bible led to the emergence of diverse and hugely strongly held opinions. For example the Geneva Bible of 1560 contained such a puritan bias in its marginal notes that the bishops of the Church of England commissioned the Bishops Bible to promote a more orthodox understanding. This was published in 1568
The Vulgate of 405AD was used as the basis for the Douay Bible of 1610, translated into English for use in the Roman Catholic Church. It remains the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church today
There are more web pages on this topic to select as you wish.
The next exhibition web page (1.1) is about the Reformation. The turmoil within the churches; and the effect on the priests and individuals is a fascinating story of the politics repression, violence and terrorism of the day.
To read more about the people and events that brought about the production of the King James Version (KJV), click on one of the following links:
1.1 Background: The English Reformation
1.2 Background: The Development of Printing
1.3 Wycliffe: The First English Translation
1.4 Knox: Supporting the Reformation
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