Posts Tagged ‘translators’

The Translators Revived

by Alexander McClure, 1858


HAVING thus traced the history of our Common Version, through the successive steps by which it has come down to us in its present shape, it remains for us to inquire as to the persons who put the finishing hand to the work, and to satisfy ourselves as to their qualifications for the task. It is obvious that this personal investigation is of the utmost importance in settling the degree of confidence to which their labors are entitled. Unless it can be proved that they were, as a body, eminently fitted to do this work as it ought to be done, it can have no claim to be regarded as a "finality'' in the matter of furnishing a translation of the Word of God for the English speaking populations of the globe.

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The King was for appointing fifty-four learned men to this great and good work; but the number actually employed upon it, in the first instance, was forty-seven. Order was also taken, that the bishops, in their several dioceses, should find what men of learning there were, who might be able to assist; and the bishops were to write to them, earnestly charging them, at the king's desire, to send in their suggestions and critical observations, that so, as his Majesty remarks, "our said intended translation may have the help and furtherance of all our principal learned men within this our kingdom."

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(this is not part of Translators Revived)




  Editor's Notes: The original marginal notes are included in [blue brackets] within the body of the text. Some supplemental notes, defining uncommon words, are included in {green braces} within the text. The text, not counting the green additions, is Public Domain, and may be freely used to the glory of God. Section ( § ) and verse numbers have been added for ease of reference and navigation. A clickable link index has been added. In the text, clicking on a section number returns you to the index. Note: If these two words; 1. Greek, 2. Greek, look the same: You need to be sure you have the "Symbol" font on your system (symbol.ttf or symbol.fon or possibly symbole font.) The Windows, Mac, and Adobe "Symbol" font are the same as far as the Greek part of the font. Most of the letters are the same as their english equivalents. C is greek Chi. F is greek Phi. Q is greek Theta. W is greek Omega. Y is greek Psi. Upper-case V is lower case greek final s.

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(this is not part of Translators Revived)






The Translators of the Bible wish Grace, Mercy and Peace, through JESUS CHRIST, our Lord.

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I.    The First Westminister Company–translated the historical books, beginning with Genesis and ending with the Second Book of Kings.


He was born at London, in 1565. He was trained chiefly at Merchant Taylor's school, in his native city, till he was appointed to one of the first Greek Scholarships of Pembroke Hall, in the University of Cambridge. Once a year, at Easter, he used to pass a month with his parents. During this vacation, he would find a master, from whom he learned some language to which he was before a stranger. In this way after a few years, he acquired most of the modern languages of Europe. At the University, he gave himself chiefly to the Oriental tongues and to divinity. When he became candidate for a fellowship, there was but one vacancy; and he had a powerful competitor in Dr. Dove, who was afterwards Bishop of Peterborough. After long and severe examination, the matter was decided in favor of Andrews. But Dove, though vanquished, proved himself in this trial so fine a scholar, that the College, unwilling to lose him, appointed him as a sort of supernumerary Fellow. Andrews also received a complimentary appointment as Fellow of Jesus College, in the University of Oxford. In his own College, he was made a catechist; that is to say, a lecturer in divinity.

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II.    The Cambridge Company–translated Chronicles to the end of the Song of Songs.


He is commemorated as "one of the best linguists in the world." He was a student, and afterwards a fellow, of Trinity College, Cambridge, and King's Professor of Hebrew. He was actively employed in the preliminary arrangements for the Translation, and appears to have stood high in the confidence of the King. Much dependence was placed on his surpassing skill in the oriental tongues. But his death, which took place in May, 1605, disappointed all such expectations; and is said to have considerably retarded the commencement of the work. Some say that his death was hastened by his too close attention to the necessary preliminaries. His stipend had been but small, and after many troubles, and the loss of his wife, the mother of a numerous family, he was well provided for by Dr. Barlow, that he might be enabled to devote himself to the business of this great Translation. He died of a quinsy, after four days' illness, leaving eleven orphans, "destitute of necessaries for their maintenance, but only such as God, and good friends, should provide." He was author of a Latin exposition of five of the minor Prophets, and of a work on chronology. Dr. Pusey, of Oxford, says, that Lively, "whom Pococke never mentions but with great respect, was probably, next to Pococke, the greatest of our Hebraists."

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III.    The Oxford Company–translated beginning of Isaiah to the end of the Old Testament.


This divine was president in his company; a station which shews how high he ranked among his brethren who knew him; though but little relating to his character and history has come down to our times. The offices filled by him were such as to confirm the opinion that his learning and piety entitled him to the position he occupied in this venerable society, of scholars. At the time of his appointment to aid in the translation of the Bible, he had been Royal Professor of Hebrew in the University for thirteen years. His occupancy of that chair, at a time when the study of sacred literature was pursued by thousands with a zeal amounting to a passion, is a fair intimation that Dr. Harding was the man for the post he occupied. When commissioned by the King to take part in this version of the Scriptures, Dr. Harding was also President of Magdalen College. He was at the same time rector of Halsey, in Oxfordshire. The share which he, with his brethren, performed, was, perhaps, the most difficult portion of the translation-work. The skill and beauty with which it is accomplished are a fair solution of the problem, "How, two languages being given, the nearest approximation may be made in the second, to the expression of ideas already conveyed through the medium of the first?"


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IV.    The Second Oxford Company–translated the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Revelation of St. John the Divine.


This person, the president of his company, was born of worthy parentage, at Malden, in the County of Surrey. He was bred at Westminster School; and then entered, in 1575, as student of Christ's Church, one of the Oxford colleges. As it is a matter of some interest, shewing that he went through an extensive course of study, the dates of his various degrees will be given. In 1578, he graduated as Bachelor of Arts; in 1581, he proceeded as Master of Arts; in 1589, he became Bachelor in Divinity; and in 1595, he was made Doctor in Divinity. The successive degrees of the greater part of the persons belonging to the list of Translators could be given, but are omitted for the sake of brevity. It is enough to record, that they nearly all attained to the highest literary honors of their respective universities.

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V.    The Fifth Company of Translators at Westminster–translated all of the Epistles of the New Testament



The fifth company of Translators was composed of seven divines, who held their meetings at Westminster. Their special portion of the work was the whole of the Epistles of the New Testament. The president of this company was Dr. William Barlow, at the time of his appointment, Dean of Chester. He belonged to an ancient and respectable family, residing at Barlow, in Lancashire. He was bred a student of Trinity Hall in the University of Cambridge. He graduated in 1584, became Master of Arts in 1587 and was admitted to a fellowship in Trinity Hail in 1590. Seven years later, Archbishop Whitgift made him sinecure Rector of Orpington in Kent. He was one of the numerous ecclesiastics of that day, who were courtiers by profession, and studied with success the dark science of preferment. When Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was beheaded for high treason in the year 1600, Dr. Barlow preached on the occasion, at St. Paul's Cross, in London. He was now a "rising man." In 1601, the prebendship of Chiswick was conferred upon him, and he held it till he was made Bishop of Lincoln. In the year 1603, he became at the same time, Prebendary of Westminster and Dean of Chester. This latter prebendship, he held in "commendam" to the day of his death…

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VI.    The Sixth Company of Translators at Cambridge translated the apocryphal books.

  • Dr. John Duport, Dr. William Brainthwaite, Dr. Jeremiah Radcliffe
  • Dr. Samuel Ward
  • Dr. Andrew Downes, John Bois
  • Dr. John Ward, Dr. John Aglionby, Dr. Leonard Hutten Dr. Thomas Bilson, Dr. Richard Bancroft

The King James translators did not consider Apocrypha scripture:

Why the Apocrypha Isn’t in the Bible?

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