Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The King James Bible...

As you may know the year of Our Lord 2011 marks the 400th year since the publication of the Authorized Version, otherwise known as the King James Bible. Manuscript English bibles had been in circulation since the days of the Lollards, and the Authorized Version was the third official translation of the Word of God into English, the first having been Henry Tudor's Great Bible (with its famous frontispiece), the work of Myles Coverdale, one time rector of St Magnus the Martyr; and the Bishops Bible of 1568. The Gospel and Epistle pericopes for the Lord's Supper were revised in the Prayer Book of 1662 to bring them into line with the Authorized Version, but Coverdale's psalmody remained. I have heard it said that the Douay-Rheims version influenced the scholars who translated the King James Bible, but I have no source for that.

A service of commemoration was held this day at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to mark the anniversary. I am trying to think of familiar modern phrases which come from the Authorized Version, but I can only think of Tyndale's ''Let there be light.'' Suggestions in the combox please!


  1. Bit of a cop out, I know, but David Crystal's 'Begat' is devoted to this -although his main conclusion is that the KJV merely passes on quite a lot from earlier versions.

    Examples he lists of expressions that did come only from the KJV: 'east of Eden', 'know for a certainty' 'how are the mighty fallen' (and now I've found the pages, a total of 18 expressions unique to the KJV and 27 more shared by only one other previous translation).

  2. "Manuscript English bibles had been in circulation since the days of the Lollards"

    And there are Anglo-Saxon editions of books of the Bible dating to the reign of Ælfrǣd king, I believe.

  3. This is a pretty cool site:

    Includes westt saxon gospels!

  4. Juventutem London, that list includes the original Douai Rheims. The so-called Douai Rheims that is almost always used today is the impoverished Chancellor revision.