Old King James Bibles


#1

Something we don’t hear, but maybe we should, is the the old King James Bible (before the American Standard Version, or mid-19th century and earlier) is actually an older version of the RSV-CE! This is true, if the Old King James Bible includes the Apocrypha of course.

Consider that our current MOST favored Catholic Bibles are the RSV-CE ones. It is the Bible of Choice for the Ignatius Study Bible and the Navarre Study Bible.

In the appendix of many RSV-CE bibles, there is a list of all the differences between the RSV-CE and the RSV Bibles. Guess which Bible the Old King James Bibles exactly match?! :wink: Pat yourself on the back if you guessed the RSV-CE!

The ONLY difference I could find, was Luke 1:28 where the RSV-CE say “Full of Grace” and the RSV says “favored one.” Guess which Bible the NABRE exactly matches here. That’s right NOT the RSV-CE, but the RSV. What does the Old King James Bible say? “highly favored one.” Sounds more Catholic than the NABRE to me! :wink:

There is no list of differences for the OT in the appendix, which probably means, that other than adding the Apocrypha, there is little difference of note between the RSV-CE and the RSV.

I find this VERY interesting, as Bible Publisher Mathew Carey (a Catholic American who immigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1784 and then published the FIRST Catholic D/R Bible ever printed in the USA in 1790, in his prospectus, made a plea to American Protestants to buy this Bible for the sake of accuracy! A few Protestants DID take him up on his challenge. Beginning in 1801 Carey started publishing the King James Bibles with Apocrypha, and for the next 25 yrs. became the largest Bible publisher in the USA. (He published one more D/R Bible in 1805.)

I wonder how Carey would view the current situation? Would modern Catholic Americans dare read the Old King James Bibles he used to publish? I know I do! :smiley:


#2

I understand the KJV authors made use of a lot of the Rheims translation of the New Testament.


#3

I know that the NAB and /RE have their supporters, but I cannot fathom why, except for that oft-cited “approved” status. That, and the USCCB website is not entirely clear regarding the other prior approved versions. Many are relegated to page 2, as I recall.

Anyway, I find the Oxford/Cambridge Revised English Bible w/Apocrypha to be a more Catholic, better daily reader. It was produced with the input from the Catholic Churches of England, Wales Scotland and Ireland. It renders Gabriel’s greeting in Luke 1:28 as “Greetings, most favored one.” That agrees with Elizabeth’s declaration in Luke 1:42 much more than the NAB does. If “most favored” is not more correct/Catholic than “favored one”, I’ll eat my copy!

Sadly, no Catholic edition is forthcoming, as I made inquiry and the technology used to store the REB translation is not easily edited into the Catholic books :frowning:

Oh! Back on topic, the KJV rightly translates Paul’s forgiving of sins (2 Cor 2:10) “in the person of Christ” - in persona Christi - a translation that nearly all modern bibles have abandoned.


#4

For those who like to throw Bible verses at each other, attempting to prove points by the “accuracy” of the translation, comparative Bible studies is a great indoor pasttime. However, the New American Bible translation is the one presently read from the pulpit, and that version with the authentic teaching that goes along with it is good enough for me.


#5

Bearing in mind that you cannot buy the liturgical version of the NAB/RE, and that the liturgical NAB/RE bears Vatican mandated changes in order to be approved for liturgical use. As well, the catechism relies on the Revised Standard Version in English.

Gratuitous on my part, but IMO the NAB is insipid and some of the notes can be absolutely corrosive to the faith. And, where did the prayer to the Holy Spirit before reading the scriptures go? Yak yak yak…I’m nearing the end of my life. I can have a few complaints. I think I’ve earned them.


#6

[quote=po18guy]As well, the catechism relies on the Revised Standard Version in English.
[/quote]

Hah! I’d forgotten that. :smiley: Thanks. :thumbsup:

I find the Oxford/Cambridge Revised English Bible w/Apocrypha to be a more Catholic, better daily reader. It was produced with the input from the Catholic Churches of England, Wales Scotland and Ireland. It renders Gabriel’s greeting in Luke 1:28 as “Greetings, most favored one.”

I’m not familiar with that one, but I will have to look into it. Lucky for the UK, they also have the NCB, which is the 1966 Jerusalem Bible with the Grail Psalms, for use in their liturgy.

Also little known is that the Greek Orthodox Church uses (or can use) the King James Version (with the Apocrypha) in their liturgies.

[quote=venite adoremus]However, the New American Bible translation is the one presently read from the pulpit, and that version with the authentic teaching that goes along with it is good enough for me.
[/quote]

Except in Luke 1:28, we hear from the pulpit “Hail, Full of Grace.” try and find that in your NAB. Also in Isaiah 7:14, from the pulpit we hear “and a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son” but try and find that in your NAB. :rolleyes: There are also the inclusive language tidbits that we don’t hear from the pulpit… :wink: But we DO hear the pedestrian language, so I suppose that’s something. yay NAB.


#7

No, it’s not. What is read is the 1970 Old Testament, now out of print, and the 1986 New Testament but with modifications.

You will not hear your 2011 NAB read at Mass.

The 2011 IS better, however, than the 1970 edition.


#8

I’ve taken this a step further and compared my Old King James Bible to Ward’s Errata. Granted, this was written in the 1680s, and compares the Vulgate’s D/R translation with the KJV (as of 1688) But Thomas Ward was thoroughly cognizant of the Greek translation, and questions their translation of Greek/Hebrew words.

My old King James Bible still has the faults found by Thomas Ward, but when I compare these same passages with the NABRE, it is in complete agreement (almost) with the KJV “errors.” So for example the KJV translates Presbyters as “elders.” The NABRE doesn’t even translate it, but just uses the word “Presbyters” in the English text.

It’s too bad Thomas Ward’s criticisms are brushed aside as irrelevant today. The same criticisms he makes of the KJV, could also work against the NAB or NABRE.

But I don’t mean to turn this thread into a NAB bashing one. I have the NABRE study Bible, and it does have its uses.

My main interest was in highlighting the Catholicity of the old King James Bible (by today’s standards), and its use as an old RSV-CE. To be honest, the contemporary D/R Bibles seem easier to read compared to the old King James Version, which was rarely updated, in a meaningful way, and maintained a very archaic (if sometimes poetic) turn of phrase. Although the Oxford revision of 1769 is something of a landmark. One that was in general use by the beginning of the 19th century. It is also easy to understand why Bishop Challoner had little hesitation in using some/many renderings of KJV in his revision of the D/R.

In a sense they are cross pollinated. The original KJ Bible translators followed many leads from the original D/R bible, and later on, Bishop Challoner returned the favor by using many expressions from the KJV in his revision. And now today, the English Catholic Bible of choice seems to be the RSV-CE!


#9

I may be falling into ‘curmudgeon-ness’ in my old age, but words have meaning. The Sacred Tradition has meaning. Tradition should illumine scripture translations more than dictionaries, etymology or “historical-critical” methods. Tradition seems to have been downplayed (or over-ruled) in both the NAB and /RE. The H-C method clearly shows in the NAB translation and is grossly emphasized in some of the notes and intros.

With the possible exception of the Good New Translation, I believe the NAB and /RE are the worst English language translations extant. The Catholic Living Bible strikes me as equal or better, for good grief!

OK, a diversion somewhat back to topic: The KJV is lauded for its Old Testament, and rightly so. But the New is quite another matter. Consider 2 Corinthians 2:10 “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;”

“Forgave I it”??? Clumsy.


#10

OK, a diversion somewhat back to topic: The KJV is lauded for its Old Testament, and rightly so. But the New is quite another matter. Consider 2 Corinthians 2:10 “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;”

Good example of the archaic expressions retained in the old King James Bible.

Meanwhile in the D/R it is: “And to whom you have forgiven anything, I also; for what I forgave, if I have forgiven anything, it was for your sakes in the person of Christ,”

There are innumerable examples like this, where the D/R is clearer. Probably thanks to Challoner’s revision, and McMahon’s tweaking of that one. But then there are those ones that the KJV says in such a memorable way, such as this morning’s Psalm (146,9):

In the D/R “The Lord keepeth the strangers, he will support the fatherless and the widow: and the ways of sinners he will destroy.”

In the KJV: “The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.” :wink:


#11

Well, the Catholic Church wants us to read Catholic versions of Scripture. However,…

A long time ago, when I started debating Protestants on the Internet, I quoted exclusively from the DR and other Catholic Bibles. The complaint I got was that I was using a biased Bible.

So, I started using the KJV. I assumed that I would have to correct some of what it teaches. But, I was surprised to find out that I could use the KJV as effectively as any Catholic Bible.

However, for edification, I use Catholic versions.


#12

I have no argument with you on that!

However, what I am pointing out in this thread, is that if you like the RSV-CE, you should have no complaints against the old King James Bible with Apocrypha. IOW, the renderings are just as Catholic in the old King James Bibles and in the RSV-CE ones.

Another point I was making is exactly what your Protestant opponents complained of. There is nothing sinister about the Old King James Bible. In fact, one might actually have more gripes against the D/R Bible in that the notes can sometimes be anti-Protestant, (even in the Challoner Bibles -which were far less polemic than the original D/R) whereas the Old King James Bible restricts its notes to variations in word translation. So your Protestant friends have some cause to be wary of the D/R (and by extension, all Catholic Bibles.) But then that is exactly the prejudice Catholics have against the old King James Bibles!

I guess what I am saying is that the old King James Bibles deserve to be respected by Catholics as good translations for their time, and (as it turns out) even our own time, since the RSV-CE is basically the old King James Bible without the archaic expressions! :wink:

I admit I am generalizing, as the RSV-CE does take advantage of some of the discoveries of our own day, like the dead sea scrolls, in clearing up a few otherwise obscure passages etc.


#13

Indicating why the Church, in her wisdom, set in stone the Latin Vulgate as a reliable translation, since the Church was unified at the time and Latin is a language which cannot change. All major forms of science use Latin to this day, and for good reason. In stark contrast, English cannot remain the same, which makes scripture translations a fluid and potentially dangerous endeavor.


#14

As it turns out, it’s not so much stone as it is clay. The Vatican’s official Nova Vulgata has been updated (or corrected) based on the Hebrew/Greek texts since 1984. It would be interesting if there was a list of changes from the Clementine Vulgate…


#15

I must admit that I am somewhat concerned about those “updates”, as the trend has been toward modernism and historical-critical methodology. If I had to choose between Saint Jerome and some unseen, unnamed committee comprised of laity, religious sisters and brothers, priests and bishops, well…


#16

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