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that translated by J. Wickliffe, about the year 1360, but never printed, though there are manuscript copies of it in several of the public libraries. A translation, however, of the New Testament by Wickliffe was printed by
Mr. Lewis, about 1731. J. de Trevisa, who died about ? 1398, is also said to have translated the whole Bible; but
whether any copies of it are remaining does not appear, The first printed Bible in our language was that translated by W. Tindal, assisted by Miles Coverdale, printed abroad in 1526; but most of the copies were bought up and burnt by bishop Tuustal and Sir Thomas More. It only contained the New Testament, and was revised and republished by the same person in 1530. The prologues and prefaces added to it, reflect on the bishops and clergy; but this edition was also suppressed, and the copies burnt.
In 1532, Tindal and his associates finished the whole Bible, except the Apocrypha, and printed it abroad : but, while he was afterwards preparing a second edition, he was taken up and burnt for heresy in Flanders. On Tindal's death, his work was carried on by Coverdale, and John Rogers, superintendant of an English church in Germany, and the first martyr, in the reign of queen Mary, who translated the Apocrypha, and revised Tindal's translation, comparing it with the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and German, and adding prefaces and notes from Luther's Bible. He dedicated the whole to Henry VIII., in 1537, under the borrowed name of Thomas Matthews ; whence this has been usually called Mathews' Bible. It was printed at llamburgh, and license obtained for publishing it in England, by the favour of Archbishop Cranmer, and the bishops Latimer and Shaxton.
The first Bible printed by authority in England, and publicly set up in the churches, was the same Tindal's version, revised and compared with the Hebrew, and in many places amended by Miles Coverdale, afterwards bishop of Exeter; and examined after him by archbishop: Cranmer, who added a preface to it; whence this was called Cranmer's Bible. It was printed by Grafton, of the largest volume, and published in 1540; and, by a royal proclamation, every parish was obliged to set one of the copies in their church, under the penalty of forty shillings a month; yet, two years after, the popish bishops
obtained its suppression by the king. It was restored uuder Edward VI, suppressed again under queen Mary's reign, and restored again in the first year of
Elizabeth, and a new edition of it given in 1562. Some English exiles at Geneva, in queen Mary's reign, viz. Coverdale, Goodman, Gilbie, Sampson, Cole, Wittingham, and Knox, made a new translation, printed there in 1560, the New Testament having been printed in 1557; hence called the Geneva Bible, containing the variations of readings, marginal annotations, &c. on account of which it was much valued by the puritan party in that and the following reigns.
Archbishop Parker resolved on a new translation for the public use of the church; and engaged the bishops, and other learned men, to take each a share or portion : these, being afterwards joined together and printed, with short annotations, in 1508, in large folio, made what was afterwards called the Great English Bible, and com Bishops' Bible. In 1589, it was also published in octavo, in a small but fine black letter; and here the chapters were divided into verses, but without any breaks for them, in which the method of the Geneva Bible was followed, which was the first English Bible where any
distinction of verses was made. It was afterwar's priuted in large folio, with corrections, and several prolegomena, in 1572: this is called Matthew Parker's Bible. The initial letters of each translator's name were put at the end of his part; €. gr. at the end of the Pentateuch, W. E. for William Exon ; that is, William, bishop of Exeter, whose allotment ended there : at the end of Samuel, R. M. for Richard Menevensis; or, bishop of St. David's, to whom the second allotinent fell: and the like of the rest. The archbishop oversaw, directed, examined, and finished the whole. This translation was used in the churches for forty years, though the Geneva Bible was more read in private houses, being printed above twenty times in as many years. King James bore it an inveterate hatred, on account of the notes, which, at the Hampton Court conference, he charged as partial, untrue, seditious, &c. The Bishops' Bible, too, had its faults. The king frankly owned that he had seen no good translation of the Bible in English: but he thought that of Geneva the worst of all,
VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE.
After the translation of the Bible by the bishops, two other private versions had been made of the New Testament; the first by Lawrence Thomson, from Beza's Latin edition, with the notes of Beza, published in 1582, in quarto, and afterwards in 1589, varying very little from the Geneva Bible; the second by the Papists at Rheims, in 1584, called the Rhemish Bible, or Rhemish translation. These, finding it impossible to keep the people from having the scriptures in their vulgar tongue, resolved to give a version of their own, as favourable to their cause as might be. It was printed on a large paper, with a fair letter and margin: one complaint against it was, its retaining a multitude of Hebrew and Greek words translated, for want, as the editors express it, of proper and adequate terms in the English to repder them by; as the words azymes, tunike, holocaust, prepuce, pasche, &c:: however, many of the copies were seized by the queen's searchers, and confiscated; and Thomas Cartwright was solicited by secretary Wallingham to refute it; but, after a good progress made therein, archbishop Whitgift prohibited his further proceeding, as judging it improper that the doctriņe of the church of England should be committed to the defence of a puritan; and appointed Dr. Fulke in his place, who refuted the Rhemists with great spirit and learning. Cartwright's resutation was also afterwards published in 1618, under archbishop Abbot. About thirty years after their New Testament, the Romza catholics published a translation of the Old at Douay, 1609 and 1610, from the Vulgate, with annotations, so that the English Roman catholics have now the whole Bible in their mother tongue; though, it is to be observed, they are forbidden to read it without a licence from their superiors.
The last English Bible was that which proceeded from the Hampton Court conference, in 1003; where many exceptions being made to the Bishops' Bible, king James gave order for a new one; not, as the preface expresses it, for a translation altogether new, lior yet to make a good one better; or, of many good ones, one hest. Fifty four learned men were appointed to this oflice by the king, as appears by his letter to the archbishop, dated 1004; which being three years before the trans tion was entered upon, it is probable seven of them were either dead, or had de
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clined the task ; since Fuller's list of the translators makes but forty-seven, who, being ranged under six divisions, entered on their province in 1607. It was published in 1613, with a dedication to James, and a learned preface; and is commonly called king James' Bible. After this, all the other versions dropped, and fell into disuse, except the epistles and gospels in the Common Prayer Book, which were still continued according to the bishops' translation, till the alteration of the liturgy, in 1661, and psalms and hymns, which are to this day continued in the old version.
The judicious Selden, in his Table-talk ; speaking of the Bible, says,
“ The English translation of the Bible is the best translation in the world, and renders the sense of the original best; taking in for the English translation the Bishops' Bible, as well as king James. The translators in king James' time took an excellent way. That part of the Bible was given to bin who was most excellent in such a tongue (as the Apocrypha to Andrew Downs) : and then they met together, and one read the translation, the rest holding in teir hands some Bible, either of the learned tongues, or French, Spanish, or Italian, &c. If they found any fault, they spoke; if not, he read on.” King James' Bible is that now read by authority in all the churches in Britain.
Notwithstanding, however, the excellency of this translation, it must be acknowledged that our increasing acquaintance with oriental customs and manners, and the changes our language has undergone since king James? time, are very powerful arguments for a new translation, or at least a correction of the old one. There have been various English Bibles with marginal references by Canne, Hayes, Barker, Scattergood, Field, Tennison, Lloyd, Blayney, Wilson, &c.
III. WELSII. There was a Welsh translation of the Bible made from the original in the time of queen Elizabeth, in consequence of a bill brought into the house of commons for this purpose in 1563 : it was printed in folio in 1588. Another version, which is the standard translation of that language, was printed in 1620 : it is called Parry's Bible. An impression of this was printed in 1690, called Bishop Lloyd's Bible : these were in folio.
TENSIONS OF THE BIBLE.
The first octavo impression of the Welsh Bible was inade in 1630.
IV. Irish. About the middle of the sixteenth century, Bedell, bishop of Kilmore, set on foot a translation of the Old Testament into the Irish language, the New Testament and the Liturgy having been before translated into that language: the bishop appointed one King to execute this work, who, not understanding the oriental languages, was obliged to translate it from the English. This work was received by Bedell, who, after having compared the Irish with the English translation, compared the latter with the Hebrew, the LXX, and the Italian version of Diodati.. When it was finished, the bishop would have been himself at the charge of the impression; but bis design was stopped, upon advice given to the lord lieutenant and the archbishop of Canterbury that it would seem a shameful thing for a nation to publish a Bible translated by such a despicable hand as King: however, the manuscript was not lost, for it went to press in 1685, and was afterwards published. *
V.GAELIC, or ERSE. A few years ago, a version of the Bible in the Gaelic or Erse language was published at Edinburgh, where the gospel is preached regularly in that language in two chapels, for the benefit of the natives of the Highlands.
The remaining languages into which the Bible has been translated are the Arabic, Armenian, Bengalee, Bohemian, Chaldee, Coptic, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Ethiopic, Flemish, French, Georgian, German, Gothic, Grison, Icelandic, Indian, or North American, Malabrian, Malayan, Persian, Polish, Samaritan, Sclavonianor Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Syriac, and Turkish.
Nearly THIRTY versions of various parts of the Scriptures are now preparing for publication, under the auspices of the British and FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY : not quite TWENTY of these have been issued from the press of the learned BAPTIST MISSIONARIES at Serampore, and the rest under the care of the Auxiliary Society at Calcutta.
* For some part of this sketch, we are indebted to Mr. Buck's very excellent Theological Dictionary, a third edition of which has beenlately published.