THE KING JAMES VERSION 1611
A remarkable combination of things came together at the right time:
· Firstly the King wanted an English translation to separate the country from the influence of Rome, to make the country more independent and to the people receive word from the king rather than the Pope.
· Secondly there were a few individuals who devoted their lives to translate The Bible. Notable examples being John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale and Martin Luther. The Catholic Church leaders resisted their work and some of them had to live as exiles to evade capture.
· Thirdly Johannes Gutenberg had developed movable typesetting so that durable and reusable metal letters could be used to produce significant print runs economically.
· Fourthly there was a desire among the people to learn to read and write, and to read The Bible for themselves. Thus the local priests had less control over them and they found for themselves hope in their difficult lives.
William Tyndale was a vicar born in Gloucestershire and produced his first translation of the New Testament in 1525. He was opposed by the church and the bishops, and fled abroad to finish his work and smuggle copies back to England. He was put to death for his work before he could complete the translation of the Old Testament. His translation was considered the best and had significant influence on the King James Version.
King James commissioned a panel of translators to consider existing material and produce one version for the country to use. When it was finished he reviewed it himself, authorised it and sent it to the Kings printers in 1611
The King James Version set the standard and style of the English language for many years. Its influence can be seen if we compare the language of The Bible with that of other classic books.
The internet has lots of information about the early translators and how they devoted their lives to the work.
Macclesfield library have also made available some books which could help – please see any of the librarians.
To read more about the production of the King James Version (KJV), click on one of the following links:
2.1 Favoured Version for 300 Years
2.2 Rules to Translators
2.3 The Canon of Scripture
2.4 Tyndale's Earlier Work
2.5 Coverdale & the Great Bible
2.6 Support from Luther
To return to the the main Exhibition Event web page, click here