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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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(See OLD TESTAMENT; NEW TESTAMENT; SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH; and SEPTUAGINT.) TARGUM is the general term for the Aramaic or Chaldee versions of the Old Testament Ezra established the usage of regular readings of the law (Nehemiah 8:2; Nehemiah 8:8), already ordained in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 for the feast of tabernacles, and recognized as the custom "every sabbath" (Acts 15:21). The portion read from the Pentateuch was called a parasha; that from the prophets, subsequently introduced, the haphtarah. The disuse of Hebrew and the use of Chaldee Aramaic by the mass of Jews, during the Babylonian captivity, created the need for explaining "distinctly" (mephorash ), as did Ezra and his helpers, the Hebrew by an Aramaic paraphrase. Such a combined translation and explanation was called a targum, from targeem "to translate" or "explain."

Originally it was oral, lest it might acquire undue authority; at the end of the second century it was generally read. Midrash first used in 2 Chronicles 13:22; 2 Chronicles 24:27, "story," "commentary," was the body of expositions of Scripture from the return out of Babylon to a thousand years after the destruction of the second temple. The two chief branches are the halakah, from haalak , to go, "the rule by which to walk," and the haggadah, from haagad "to say," legend.

The targums are part of the midrash. Those extant are the Targum of Onkelos (or AQUILA, Smith's Bible Dictionary) on the Pentateuch (so named not because written by Aquila but because in Aramaic it did what Aquila aimed at in his Greek version, namely, to counteract the arbitrary corruptions of the Septuagint and to produce a translation scrupulously literal, for the benefit of those not knowing the original language); the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on the first and last prophets, more probably of Rabbi Joseph the blind, in the middle of the fourth century, full of invectives against Rome (Isaiah 34:9 mentioning Armillus (Antichrist), Isaiah 10:4; Germany, Ezekiel 38:6); also his targum on the Pentateuch; the Targum of Jerusalem on parts of the Pentateuch.

The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel and the Targum of Jerusalem are twin brothers, really but one work; these were written in Palestine much later and less accurately than that of Onkelos, which belongs to the Babylonian school; Jonathan ben Uzziel, in the fourth century, cannot have been the author, for this targum speaks of Constantinople (Numbers 24:19-24), the Turks (Genesis 10:2), and even Mahomet's two wives (Genesis 21:21). The targum on the hagiographa (ascribed to Joseph the blind), namely, on Psalms, Job, and Proverbs; remarkably resembling the Syriac version; the targum on Job and Psalms is paraphrastic, but that on Proverbs most literal. Targum on the five megilloth, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes. Two other targums on Esther; targum on Chronicles; targum on Daniel.

EARLY ENGLISH VERSIONS. Among the pioneers of the KJV were Caedmon who embodied the Bible history in alliterative Anglo Saxon poetry (Bede H. E. 4:24); Aldhelm, bishop of Sherborne in the seventh century, who translated the Psalms; Bede the Gospel according to John in his last hours (Ep. Cuthberti). Alfred translated Exodus 20-23 as the groundwork of legislation, also translated some of the Psalms and parts of the other books, and "wished all the freeborn youth of his kingdom to be able to read the English Scriptures."

The Durham Book, of the ninth century (in British Museum, Cottonian manuscripts), has the Anglo Saxon interlinear with the Latin Vulgate The Rushworth Gloss of the same century is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Aelfric epitomised Scripture history and translated part of the historical books. The Ormulum of the 12th century is a Gospel paraphrase in alliterative English verse. Schorham, A.D. 1320, translated the Psalms; Richard Rolle, of Hampole, A.D. 1349, the Psalms and other canticles of the Old Testament and New Testament with a devotional exposition. In the library of Ch. Ch. Coll., Cambridge, is an English version of Mark's and Luke's Gospels and Paul's epistles. Arundel in his funeral sermon on Anne of Bohemia, wife of Richard II, says she habitually read the Gospels in English.

WYCLIFFE, A.D. 1324-1384, began with translating the Apocalypse; in" The Last Age of the Church," 1356, he translates and expounds Revelation, applying it to his own times and antichrist's overthrow. Next the Gospels, "so that pore Christen men may some dele know the text of the Gospel, with the comyn sentence of olde holie doctores" (Preface). Many manuscripts of this age are extant, containing the English harmony of the Gospels and portions of the epistles by others. Wycliffe next brought out the complete English New Testament Nicholas de Hereford proceeded with the Old Testament and Apocrypha as far as the middle of Baruch, then was interrupted by Arundel. Richard Purvey probably revised Wycliffe's and Hereford's joint work and prefixed the prologue.

All the foregoing are translated from the Latin Vulgate. The prologue says: "a translater hath grete nede to studie well the sentence both before and after. He hath nede to lyve a clene life and be ful devout in preiers, and have not his wit occupied about worldli things, that the Holie Spirit, author of all wisdom, cunnynge and truthe, dresse him in his work and suffer him not for to err" (Forshall and Madden, Prol. 60). In spite of Arundel's opposition the circulation was so wide that 150 copies are extant, and Chaucer (Persone's Tale) quotes Scripture in English, agreeing with Wycliffe's translation. Its characteristics are a homely style, plain English for less intelligible words, as "fy" for Raca (Matthew 5:22), "richesse" for Mammon (Luke 16:9; Luke 16:11; Luke 16:13), and literalness even to a fault.

TYNDALE begins the succession which eventuated in our authorized version. By his time Wycliffe's English had become obsolete, and his translation being from the Latin Vulgate could not satisfy Grecian scholars of Henry VIII's reign. At the age of 36 (A.D. 1520) Tyndale said, "ere many years I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of Scripture than the great body of the clergy now know." Erasmus in 1516 published the first edition of the Greek Testament; Tyndale knew hint at Cambridge. in 1522 Tyndale in vain tried to persuade Tonstal, bishop of London, to sanction his translating the New Testament into English. The "Trojans" of Oxford (i.e. the friars) declared that to study Greek would make men pagans, to study Hebrew would make them Jews. Tyndale had sufficient knowledge of Hebrew to qualify him for translating Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Jonah in 1530 and 1531.

But the New Testament was his chief care, and in 1525 he published it all in 4to at Cologne, and in 8vo at Worms. Tonstal ordered all copies to be bought up and burnt. Tyndale's last edition was published in 1535; his martyrdom followed in 1536, his dying prayer being, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." The merit of his translation is its noble simplicity and truthfulness: thus "favour" for "grace," "love" for "charity," "acknowledge" for "confess," "repentance" for "penance," "elders" for "priests," "congregation" for "church." Tyndale was herein in advance of his own and the following age; the versions of the latter relapsed into the theological and ecclesiastical terms less suited to the people.

His desire to make the Bible a people's book has acted on succeeding versions, so that our English Bible has ever been popular rather than scholastic. "I call God to record (says he) against the day we shall appear before the Lord Jesus to give a reckoning of our doings, that I never altered one syllable of God's word against my conscience, nor would this day, if all that is in the world, whether pleasure, honour, or riches, might be given me."

MILES COVERDALE published his Bible in 1535, probably at Zurich, and at Cromwell's request, who saw that "not until the day after doomsday" (Cromwell's words) were the English people likely to get their promised 'Bible from the bishops if he waited for them. Coverdale's version was much inferior to Tyndale's, who made it his one object in life, whereas Coverdale "sought it not neither desired it," but undertook it as a task given him. Coverdale followed "the Douche (Luther's German version) and the Latine," but Tyndale laboured for years at Greek and Hebrew.

Coverdale returned from Tyndale's faithful plainness to waver between equivocal and plain terms, as" penance" and "repentance," "priests" and "eiders." Mary is from the Vulgate hailed (Luke 1:28) "full of grace." David's sons are "priests" (2 Samuel 8:18). 'Chief butler" replaces Rabshakeh as in Luther. He includes Baruch in the canonical books, and is undecided as to the authority of the Apocrypha. Fresh editions were printed in 1537, 1539, 1550, 1553. Later he assisted in the Genevan edition.

THOMAS MATTHEW'S folio Bible, dedicated to the king, appeared in 1537; printed to the end of Isaiah abroad, thenceforward by the London printers Grafton and Whitechurch. This was the assumed name of JOHN Rogers, the first martyr of the Marian persecution, who became acquainted with Tyndale at Antwerp two years before his death. It is a reproduction of Tyndale's New Testament and of the parts of the Old Testament by Tyndale, the rest being taken with modifications from Coverdale. He and Tyndale just before the latter's imprisonment had determined to edit the complete Bible and Apocrypha, based on the original not on the Vulgate, etc., as Coverdale's, which was the only existing whole Bible in English.

Rogers, by aid probably of Poyntz, the Antwerp merchant who had helped Tyndale, got as far as Isaiah; Grafton and Whitechurch took up the speculation then, suppressing the name of Rogers known as Tyndale's friend, and substituting Thomas Matthew. Cranmer approved of the Bible, saying "he would rather than a thousand pounds it should be licensed." Cromwell obtained the king's license. A copy was ordered by royal proclamation to be set up in every church, the cost being divided between the clergy and the parishioners. Henry VIII thus, unwittingly perhaps, sanctioned a Bible identical with Tyndale's which his acts of parliament had stigmatized. This was the first authorized version. The Hebrew terms Neginoth, Shiggaion, Sheminith, are explained.

The sabbath is "to minister the fodder of the word to simple souls" and to be "pitiful over the weariness of such neighbours as laboured sore all the week." "To the man of faith Peter's fishing after the resurrection and all deeds of matrimony are pure spiritual"; to those not so, "learning, contemplation of high things, preaching, study of Scripture, founding of churches, are works of the flesh." Purgatory "is not in the Bible, but the purgation and remission of our sins is made us by the abundant mercy of God." The introduction of "the table of principal matters" entities Rogers to be accounted "father" of concordance and Bible dictionary writers. Coverdale and Grafton in a Paris edition afterward diluted the notes and suppressed the prologue and prefaces which were too truthful for the age. Taverner's Bible in 1539 was an expurgated edition of Matthew's.

CRANMER in the same year 1539 issued his folio Bible with engraving on the title page by Holbein, the king on his throne represented giving the word of God to the bishops and doctors to distribute to the people who shout, Viva rex! A preface in 1540 bears his initials T. C. In November of the same year, in a later edition, his name and the names of his coadjutors, Cuthbert (Tonstal) bishop of Durham, and Nicholas (Heath) bishop of Rochester, appear on the title page. Words not in the original are printed in different type; an asterisk marks diversity in the Chaldee and Hebrew; marginal references are given, but no notes; shrinking from so depreciatory an epithet as the Apocrypha, the editors substitute "Hagiographa," giving Matthew's preface to these disputed books otherwise unaltered; from whence arises the amusing blunder that they were called "Hagiographa," because "they were read in secret and apart" (which was the derivation, rightly given in Matthew's preface, for Apocrypha).

In 1541 an edition states it was "authorized" to be "used and frequented in every church in the kingdom." Cranmer in the preface adopts the via media tone, which secured its retention as KJV until 1568 (Mary's reign excepted), blaming those who "refuse to read" and on the other hand blaming "inordinate reading." The Psalms, the Scripture quotations in the homilies, the sentences in the Communion, and occasional phrases in the liturgy (as "worthy fruits of penance"), are drawn from Cranmer's Bible. "Love" for "charity" appears in 1 Corinthians 13 and "congregation" for "church"; yet, with characteristic vacillation between Tyndale and the sacerdotalists, he has in 1 Timothy 4:14 "with authority of priesthood."

GENEVA BIBLE. The exiles from England at Geneva in Mary's reign, dissatisfied with Cranmer's version as retrograde, laboured two years day and night on the "great and wonderful work with fear and trembling." The New Testament translated by Whittingham was printed by Conrad Badius in 1557, the whole Bible in 1560; Goodman, Pallain, Sampson, and Coverdale laboured with him. Printed in England in 1561, James Bedleigh having the monopoly; afterwards in 1576 Barker had it, and in his family the monopoly continued for a century; 80 editions appeared between 1558 and 1611. Its cheapness and greater portableness (a small 4to, instead of Cranmer's folio), its division into verses, the Roman type then first introduced into Bibles instead of the black letter, its helpful notes, and the accompanying Bible dictionary of editions after 1578, all recommended it. Tyndale's version is its basis. It is the first Bible that omits the Apocrypha.

The calendar prefixed commemorates Scripture facts and the great reformers' deaths, hut ignores saints' days. The notes were Swiss in politics, allegiance to monarchs being made dependent on their soundness in the faith; James I was startled at the note applicable to his mother queen Mary (2 Chronicles 15:16), "herein he showed that he lacked zeal, for she ought to have died." This Geneva Bible,as published by Barker, was called "the Breeches Bible" from its translated for "aprons" breeches (Genesis 3:7), but Wycliffe had previously so translated. Beza's Latin version was the basis of its New Testament according to later reprints, and the notes are said to be from Joac. Career, P. Leseler, Villerius, and Junius. Parker consulted eight bishops and some deans and professors, and brought out "

THE BISHOPS' BIBLE" in folio, 1568-1572. The preface vindicated the people's right to read the Scriptures. This version was based on Cranmer's; it reprinted his prologue; it adopted the Genevan division of verses; it grouped the books together in classes, the legal, historical, sapiential, and prophetic: the Gospels, universal epistles, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrew as legal; Paul's other epistles as sapiential; Acts as historical; Revelation as prophetic. The translators attached their initials to the books which they severally translated. It never was popular owing to its size and cost, and scholars cared little for it. Its circulation extended little beyond the churches, which were ordered to be supplied with it. Guest, bishop of David's, translated the Psalms; Cox, bishop of Ely, Sandys of Worcester, and Bishop Alley, a good Hebraist, were among its writers; the genealogical tables were ostensibly by Speed, really by the great Hebrew scholar, Hugh Broughton.

RHEIMS AND DOUAY. Martin, Allen (afterwards cardinal), and Bristow, English refugees of the church of Rome, settled at Rheims, feeling the need of counteracting the Protestant versions, published a version of the New Testament at Rheims, based on the Vulgate, in 1582, with dogmatic and controversial notes. The Old Testament translation was published later in Douay, 1609. The language was often very un-English, e.g. "the pasche and the azymes," Mark 16:1; "the archsynagogue," Mark 5:35; "in prepuce," Romans 4:9; "obdurate with the fallacie of sin," Hebrews 3:13; "a greater hoste," Hebrews 11:4; "this is the annuntiation," 1 John 1:5; "preordinate," Acts 13:48; "the justifications of our Lord," Luke 1:6; "what is to me and thee?" John 2:4; "longanimity," Romans 2:4; "purge the old leaven that ye may be a new paste, as you are azymes," 1 Corinthians 5:7; "you are evacuated from Christ," Galatians 5:4.

AUTHORIZED VERSION (or KING JAMES VERSION.) At the beginning of the reign of James I the Bishops' Bible was the one authorized, the Geneva Bible was the popular one. The Puritans, through Reinolds, 1604, at the Hampton Court Conference, asked for a new or revised translation. The king in 1606 entrusted 54 scholars with the duty, seven of whom are omitted in the king's list (Burnet, Reform. Records), whether having died or declined to act. Andrewes, Saravia, Overal, Montague, and Barlow represented the sacerdotal party; Reinolds, Chaderton, and Lively, the Puritans; Henry Savile and John Boys represented scholarship. Broughton, the greatest Hebrew scholar of the age, owing to his violent temper was excluded, though he had already translated Job, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, and Lamentations. A copy of 15 instructions was sent to each translator.

The Bishops' Bible was to be as little altered as the original would permit. "Church" was to be translated for" congregation," and "charity" for "love." In the case of words with divers significations, that was to be kept which was used by eminent fathers, being agreeable to the propriety of the place and the analogy of faith. No marginal notes, except for explaining Hebrew and Greek words, the principle being recognized that Scripture is its own best interpreter. Each company of translators was to take its own books, each person to bring his own corrections; the company was to discuss them, and having finished their work was to send it on to another company. Differences of opinion between two companies were to be referred to a general meeting. Scholars were to be consulted, suggestions to be invited. The directors were Andrewes dean of Westminster, Barlow dean of Chester, and the regius professors of Hebrew and Greek at both universities.

Other translations to be followed when more agreeing with the original than the Bishops' Bible, namely, Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Cranmer's, and Geneva. Two from each of the three groups of translators were chosen toward the close, and the six met in London to superintend the publication. The only payment made was to these six editors, 30 British pounds each for their nine months' labour, from the Stationers' Company. Bilson, bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Miles Smith undertook the final correction and the "arguments" of the several books. M. Smith wrote the fulsome dedication to James I, "that sanctified person," "enriched with singular and extraordinary graces," "as the sun in his strength." The version was published A.D 1611. Calvinism appears in the translated" such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47); "any man" is inserted instead of "he" in Hebrews 10:38; "the just shall live by faith, but if (any man) draw back," to avoid what might oppose the doctrine of final perseverance.

"Bishopric," on the prelatical side, is used for "oversight" (Acts 1:20); contrast the translated of the. same Greek, 1 Peter 5:2; "overseers" in Acts 20:28 (to avoid identifying "bishops" and "elders"), but in 1 Timothy 3:1 "bishop" (same Greek). This Authorized Version did not at once supersede the Bishops' Bible and Geneva Bible. Walton praises it as "eminent above all." Swift says that "the translators were masters of an English style far more fit for that work than any we see in our present writings." (Letter to Lord Oxford). The revision now proceeding (A.D. 1878) promises to be a great step in advance toward the attainment of an accurate version.

The revisers have been selected from among the ablest scholars of our times, without distinction of denomination. The main difficulty is to decide what original text to adopt for translation. Tischendorf's Authorized English Version of the New Testament (Tauchnitz edition) with the various readings of the three most celebrated manuscripts has done much to familiarize the ordinary English reader with the materials from which he must form his own opinion. The new revision it is to be hoped will do the same in both the Old Testament and New Testament. In this, as in many other questions, God leaves men to the exercise of their own judgment in prayerful dependence on His Holy Spirit.


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Versions'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/v/versions.html. 1949.

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