World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Bishops' Bible

Though not formally dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, the Bishops' Bible includes a portrait of the queen on its title page. The 1569 quarto edition shows Elizabeth accompanied by female personifications of Justice, Mercy, Fortitude, and Prudence.

The Bishops' Bible is an English translation of the Bible which was produced under the authority of the established Church of England in 1568. It was substantially revised in 1572, and the 1602 edition was prescribed as the base text for the Authorized King James Version of 1611.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Legacy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

The thorough Calvinism of the Geneva Bible (more evident in the marginal notes than in the translation itself) offended the high-church party of the Church of England, to which almost all of its bishops subscribed. They associated Calvinism with Presbyterianism, which sought to replace government of the church by bishops (Episcopalian) with government by lay elders. However, they were aware that the Great Bible of 1539 — which was the only version then legally authorized for use in Anglican worship — was severely deficient, in that much of the Old Testament and Apocrypha was translated from the Latin Vulgate, rather than from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. In an attempt to replace the objectionable Geneva translation, they circulated one of their own, which became known as the Bishops' Bible.

The promoter of the exercise, and the leading figure in translating was Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was at his instigation that the various sections translated by Parker and his fellow bishops were followed by their initials in the early editions. For instance, at the end of the book of Deuteronomy, we find the initials "W.E.", which, according to a letter Parker wrote to Sir William Cecil, stands for William Alley, Bishop of Exeter. Parker tells Cecil that this system was "to make [the translators] more diligent, as answerable for their doings."[1] Unhappily, Parker failed to commission anyone to act as supervisory editor for the work completed by the various translators—and was too busy to do so himself, and accordingly translation practice varies greatly from book to book. Hence, in most of the Hebrew Bible (as is standard in English Versions) the tetragrammaton YHWH is represented by "the Lord", and the Hebrew "Elohim" is represented by "God". But in the Psalms the practice is the opposite way around. The books that Parker himself worked on are fairly sparingly edited from the text of the Great Bible, while those undertaken by Grindal of London emerged much closer to the Geneva text.

In this edition, Elizabeth is flanked by allegorical virtues of Faith and Charity. Elizabeth therefore represents Hope. Beneath the portrait is a Latin text from Romans 1:16

The bishops deputed to revise the Apocrypha appear to have delivered very little, as the text in these books reproduce that of the Great Bible broadly the same. As the Apocrypha of the Great Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate, the Bishops' Bible cannot strictly claim to have been entirely translated from the original tongues.

The Bishops' Bible was first published in 1568,[2] but was then re-issued in an extensively revised form in 1572. In the revision a number of switches were made to the New Testament in the direction of more "ecclesiastical" language (e.g. introducing the term "charity" into I Corinthians 13), but otherwise to correct the text more in line with that found in the Geneva Bible; and in the Old Testament, the Psalms from the Great Bible were printed alongside those in the new translation—which had proved impossible to sing. From 1577 the new psalm translation was dropped altogether; while further incremental changes were made to the text of the New Testament in subsequent editions. The Bible had the authority of the royal warrant, and was the second version appointed to be read aloud in church services (cf. Great Bible, King James Bible). It failed to displace the Geneva Bible as a domestic Bible to be read at home, but that was not its intended purpose. The intention was for it to be used in church as what would today be termed a pulpit Bible. The version was more grandiloquent than the Geneva Bible. The first edition was exceptionally large and included 124 full-page illustrations. The second and subsequent editions were rather smaller, around the same size as the first printing of the King James Bible, and mostly lacked illustrations other than frontispieces and maps. The text lacked most of the notes and cross-references in the Geneva Bible, which contained much controversial theology, but which were helpful to people among whom the Bible was just beginning to circulate in the vernacular. The last edition of the complete Bible was issued in 1602,[2] but the New Testament was reissued until at least 1617.[2] William Fulke published several parallel editions up to 1633,[2] with the New Testament of the Bishops' Bible alongside the Rheims New Testament, specifically to controvert the latter's polemical annotations. The Bishops' Bible or its New Testament went through over 50 editions, whereas the Geneva Bible was reprinted more than 150 times.

Legacy

The translators of the King James Version were instructed to take the 1602 edition of the Bishops' Bible as their basis, although several other existing translations were taken into account. After it was published in 1611, the King James Version soon took the Bishops' Bible's place as the de facto standard of the Church of England. Later judgments of the Bishops' Bible have not been favorable; David Daniell, in his important edition of William Tyndale's New Testament, states that the Bishops' Bible "was, and is, not loved. Where it reprints Geneva it is acceptable, but most of the original work is incompetent, both in its scholarship and its verbosity".[3]

Unlike Tyndale's translations and the Geneva Bible, the Bishops' Bible has rarely been reprinted. The most available reprinting of its New Testament portion (minus its marginal notes) can be found in the fourth column of the New Testament Octapla edited by Luther Weigle, chairman of the translation committee that produced the Revised Standard Version.[4]

The Bishops' Bible is also known as the "Treacle Bible" because of its translation of Jeremiah 8:22 which reads "Is there not treacle at Gilead?", a rendering also found in several earlier versions as well such as the Great Bible. In the Authorized Version of 1611, "treacle" was changed to "balm".

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • The Holie Bible: conteynyng the Olde Testament and the Newe, scan of the first edition (1568) at the Internet Archive.
  • Studylight Version of the Bishops Bible Text.;From Studylight, An incomplete Version, lacking in the Apocrypha, which existed in the original, but in the original spelling.
  • Bishops Bible on StudyBible.info — Includes the Apocrypha.
  • Online version of Sir Frederic G. Kenyon’s article in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, 1909
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.