Skip to comments.The "Inconvenient Tale" of the Original King James Bible
Posted on 03/17/2012 7:26:45 AM PDT by GonzoII
The "Inconvenient Tale" of the Original King James Bible
By Gary Michuta
In 1604, the Church of England commissioned a new English translation of the Scripture, which later became known as the King JamesVersion. According to it dedication to the king, the hope was that this new version would counteract the barbs of Catholics and a foil to the self-conceited Protestants who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil [Preface and dedication to the King, 1611 King James Bible], namely religious dissenters like the Baptists and others. Ironically, the Church of England had moved to other translations and the King James Bible (K.J.V.) had become, at least for a time, the translation for those groups that would have been considered dissenters. Today, the New International Version has become the best selling translation among Protestants, but the King James is still widely used and revered by non-Catholics.
Some may be tempted to dismiss the omission of these books from the King James Bible as superfluous add on to the translation and that its omission really does not change anything important about the King James Bible. On the contrary, the so-called "Apocrypha formed an integral part of the text, so much so that the Protestant scholar E. G. Goodspeed once wrote:
[W]hatever may be our personal opinions of the Apocrypha, it is a historical fact that they formed an integral part of the King James Version, and any Bible claiming to represent that version should either include the Apocrypha, or state that it is omitting them. Otherwise a false impression is created. [Story of the Apocrypha (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939, p. 7]
If you pick up a modern copy of the King James Version and open to the title page, chances are youll not see any mention of the deliberate omission of these books (e.g. The King James Version without the Apocrypha). After all, who would want to put a negative statement about a product on the title page? However, perhaps to avoid false advertising, publishers do notify you that books are missing by cleverly stating the contents in a positive fashion like The King James Version Containing the Old and New Testaments. If you didnt know that the Apocrypha was omitted, youd probably assume that complete King James Bible since most modern Protestant Bibles contain only the Old and New Testaments anyway. Hence, as Goodspeed warns a false impression is created.
The King James Apocrypha had a much more integral roll in its early editions than simply being an appendix unconnected to the two Testaments. Instead, the 1611 King James Bible included (like the Geneva Bible) cross-references from the Old and New Testaments to the so-called Apocrypha. Like modern cross-references, these were meant to refer the reader back to the text cited in order to provide further light on what had just been read. There were 11 cross-references in the New Testament and 102 Old Testament that referred Protestant readers back to the Apocrypha. The New Testament cross-references were:
Like the early editions of the Geneva Bible, the editors of the Authorized Version believe that the non-Catholic readers should aware of what the Apocrypha had to say in regards to these passage. While some are mere correspondences of thought, others point to an awareness or even a dependence upon the Apocrypha by inspired New Testament writers. I detail these important passages in Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger: The Untold Story of the Lost Books of the Protestant Bible (Grotto Press, 2007).
In addition to the eleven cross-references in the New Testament, the 1611 King James also sported 102 cross-reference in the Old Testament as well bringing to total up to 113 cross-references to and from the Apocrypha overall. No wonder Goodspeed could say that the "Apocrypha" was an integral part of the King James Bible!
The King James Bible was not the only early Protestant Bible to contain the Apocrypha with cross-references. As we have seen in a previous article (Pilgrims Regress: The Geneva Bible and the Apocrypha), the "Apocrypha" also played an integral role in other Protestant Bibles as well.
As I mentioned earlier, translations serve as historical snapshots of the beliefs of the translators and readers. The very presence of these cross-references shows that the translators believed that the "Apocrypha" was at work within the New Testament writings and that Protestant Bible readers would benefit from reading and studying the New and Old Testaments in light of these books. Sadly, today this noble heritage has been lost.
Now You Read Them, Now You Dont
Those who viewed the "Apocrypha" as somehow being the last vestige of "popery" pressed for the Apocrypha appendix and its cross-references to be removed altogether from the Bible. In 1615, George Abbott, the Archbishop of Canterbury, went so far as to employ the power of law to censure any publisher who did not produce the Bible in its entirety (i.e. including the "Apocrypha") as prescribed by the Thirty-nine Articles. However, anti-Catholic hatred and the obvious financial advantages of printing smaller Protestant Bibles began to win out against the traditionalists who wanted the Bible in the form that was given in all previous Protestant translations up until that point (in the form of Luther's Bible - with the Apocrypha between the Old and New Testaments). The "Apocrypha" remained in the King James Bible through the 1626, 1629, 1630, and the 1633 editions. By 1632, public opinion began to decidedly turn against the "bigger" Protestant Bibles. Of the 227 printings of the Bible between 1632 and 1826, about 40% of Protestant Bibles contained the "Apocrypha." The Apocrypha Controversy of the early 1800's enabled English Bible Societies to flood the bible-buying market with Apocrypha-less Protestant Bibles and in 1885 the "Apocrypha" was officially removed with the advent of the Revised Standard Version, which replaced the King James Version.
It is hard to pin point the exact date where the King James Bible no longer contained the "Apocrypha." It is clear that later editions of the KJV removed the "Apocrypha" appendix, but they continued to include cross-references to the "Apocrypha" until they too (like the Geneva Bible) were removed as well. Why were they removed? Was it do to over-crowded margins? The Anglican scholar William H. Daubney points out the obvious:
These objectionable omissions [of the cross-references] were made after the custom arose of publishing Bibles without the Apocrypha. These apparently profess to be what they are not, entire copies of the Authorized Version Plainly, the references to the Apocrypha told an inconvenient tale of the use which the Church intended should be made of it; so, either from dissenting influence without, or from prejudice within the Church, these references disappeared from the margin. [The Use of the Apocrypha In the Christian Church (London: C. J. Clay and Sons, 1900), 17]
What was the inconvenient tale these cross-references told? They showed that the so-called Apocrypha actually plays a much greater role that most modern Protestants are willing to admit. Moreover, the cross-references showed that the church believed that knowledge of the so-called "Apocrypha" and their use in the New Testament benefited Christians who wished to understand the Bible. Sadly today, many Protestants use the King James Bible have been handed on to them in an unaltered and uncompromised form. The reality is that its contents had undergone several substantial changes beginning with Martin Luther's gathering together the Deuterocanon and placing it in an "Apocrypha" appendix and later when that appendix (and its cross-references) were removed altogether from Protestant Bibles.
****If God inspired someone to write a “novel” to convey religious truth then praise the Lord. It would still be God’s novel and I’ll read it. ***
One could easily hijack the thread here. Some make that same claim about a novel written about 1830 New York and is the prime belief of a certain Presidential candidate. That false book is still printed in Salt Lake City.
But then there are lots of others such as THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST that also make that claim.
An assertion that only begs the question of whether they are, in fact, a "second canon," as opposed to interestamental religious literature not having the authority of God-breathed Scripture.
The Deuterocanonical books do have some benefit - but not as scripture. Indeed, there are so many fallacies, historical flaws, and even contradictions with the rest of firmly established scripture to make them easily discernible from true scripture. Yet they do represent a snapshot of life, particularly in the intertestamental period, because there are not a lot of records from that time. They also give some insight as to the context of what was to come in the New Testament period - particularly the Maccabees, which records a great deal of the political tensions of the time.
***I and others more educated than myself are no fans of the NAB Bible..it has problems. ***
Yet it has lots of NIHIL OBSTATS and IMPRIMATURS.
Thanks for all of your answers. I have some familiarity with the content of the apocryphal books, and understand some of the arguments for and against inclusion, but I wondered why the author made a very compelling argument...almost. Left out the conclusion, the reason for the argument. I would have liked to have known that.
The Lord certainly had knowledge of the Deuterocanonicals:
Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus' statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus' golden rule "do unto others" is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.
Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus' statement "you will know them by their fruits" follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.
Matt. 9:36 - the people were "like sheep without a shepherd" is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.
Matt. 11:25 - Jesus' description "Lord of heaven and earth" is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.
Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
Matt. 16:18 - Jesus' reference to the "power of death" and "gates of Hades" references Wisdom 16:13.
Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 - Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.
Matt. 24:15 - the "desolating sacrilege" Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.
Matt. 24:16 - let those "flee to the mountains" is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.
Matt. 27:43 - if He is God's Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.
Mark 4:5,16-17 - Jesus' description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.
Mark 9:48 - description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.
Change the order, change the books from the one outlined in Isaiah and the pattern disappears. This tells you what the intended structure is for Scripture.
That wouldn't imply that they agree with every scholars'
view on the particular genre of every book. Catholics are
free to investigate these matters and draw reasonable
conclusions though they will have their critics.
I'm sorry, but that simply is not true. The bigger issue is the authority by which Canon was established and the Protestant necessity to undermine that Catholic authority. It is the only rational condition under which they can exist.
And if you pick up a first edition of the King James Version as published in 1611, chances are you'll not see any mention of the deliberate inclusion of these books, as the original title page cleverly states the contents in the fashion, "The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New," without any mention of the Apocrypha.
Seemingly this author did not bother to look this fact up before attempting to spin the modern KJV as being more devious than it actually is.
But can it claim to have been present in a book used by or referenced to by Christ and His Apostles. Of course, no.
Take a look at what you call citations of the Apocrypha:
“Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.”
Here is what I’m referring to:
Mat 2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
Mat 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Mat 4:6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “’He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “’On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “’You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Mat 11:10 This is he of whom it is written, “’Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
Mat 21:13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
Notice the difference? I have...
Cardinal Cajetan & Jerome were right.
“This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a “helmeted” introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, therefore, which generally bears the name of Solomon, and the book of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd are not in the canon.” - Jerome
I have no objection to someone reading the Apocrypha. I have a number of translations of it myself. But SCRIPTURE is different:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” - 2 Tim 3
Would you rather have half a meal or a whole meal with all the entrees?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Thanks for posting that!
Wouldn’t early Christians, indeed even Christ & the Apostles have been familiar, if not conversant, with these books, or at least with their content?
While I’m not suggesting any tinkering with any Bible, wouldn’t they be at least important from a scholarly perspective?
They were actually familiar with them.
“The bigger issue is the authority by which Canon was established and the Protestant necessity to undermine that Catholic authority.”
Remember - the reason the Council of Trent addressed the canon was because no previous Council had done so authoritatively. When Luther was translating the Bible, it was NORMAL for scholars (like Cajetan) to reject the Apocrypha as authoritative in matters of doctrine & teaching (and thus scripture, since ALL scripture is good for that).
Thanks for that source.
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