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mary of the chapters, should be purged of the said preambles or annotations, either by cutting them out, or blotting them in such wise that they might not be perceived or read; and, finally, that the Bible be not read openly in any church, but by the leave of the King, or of the ordinary of the place; nor privately by any women, artificers, apprentices, journeymen, husbandmen, labourers, or by any of the servants of yeomen or under;" but through the interest of Cranmer, a clause was inserted, allowing, "that every nobleman and gentleman might have the Bible read in their houses, and that noble ladies, gentlewomen, and merchants, might read it themselves, but no man or woman under those degrees; which was all the archbishop could obtain. In the same year Cranmer proposed in convocation, that there should be a revision of the translations of the Bible; but so many difficulties were started by Gardiner, and the proposal was so feebly supported by the other bishops, that he was unable to accomplish his object, and desisted from the attempt. In the year 1546, the last of his reign, Henry issued a proclamation, prohibiting the having and reading of Wickliff's, Tyndal's and Coverdale's translations, and forbidding the use of any other not allowed by parliament.
Though in the reign of Edward the Sixth, the
reading of the Scriptures was encouraged by royal proclamations, acts of parliament, and by every other means, and there were many impressions (s) of the English Bible, it does not appear that there was any new translation of the Bible, or even any considerable correction of the old ones, during the seven years and an half that excellent prince sat upon the throne; but it was ordered, that the Epistles and Gospels, and the Lessons, both from the Old and New Testament, should be read in English in the Churches, in the manner they now
The terrors of persecution, in the reign of Queen Mary, drove many of our principal Reformers out of the Kingdom; several went to Geneva, and there employed themselves in making a new translation of the Bible. The New Testament was published in 1557, and the remainder of the work in 1560. This is called the Geneva Bible. It was accompanied with annotations, which were, as might be expected, from the place where they were written, of a Calvinistical cast; and therefore this translation was held in high esteem by the Puritans (t).
(s) Eleven of the whole Bible, and six of the new Testament.
(t)" Above thirty editions of this were published
Soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth, a new translation of the Bible was undertaken by royal command, and under the direction of archbishop Parker. Distinct portions, fifteen at least,
by the Queen's and King's printers between 1560 and 1616, and others were printed at Edinburgh, Geneva, Amsterdam, &c. The New Testament of this is said to have been the first English edition of the Scriptures which was divided into verses. The Greek and Latin Bibles were not antiently divided into chapters or verses, at least not like those now used. Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reigns of king John and of king Henry the Third, is said to have first contrived the division into chapters; others ascribe the invention to cardinal Hugo, a dominican monk of the 13th century, who adopted also subdivisions, distinguished by the seven first letters of the alphabet placed in the margin, as convenient for the use of the Concordance, which he first planned for the Vulgate. About 1445, Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, alías Rabbi Isaac Nathan, a western Jew, to facilitate the conduct of a controversy with the Christians, introduced this division of chapters into the Hebrew Bibles, and resumed also the antient division into verses numerically distinguished by marginal letters at every fifth verse, and from him the Christians received and improved the plan; and Robert Stephens adopted the division into the New Testament, of which he published a Greek edition in 1551. Vide Præfat. Buxtorf. ad Concord. Bibl. Hebraic. Morin. Exercit. Bibl. Præf. ad Concord. Græc. N. Test. Fabricii Bibliothec. Grec. lib. 4. cap. 5. Prid. vol. 1. book 5.”—Gray.
were allotted to as many persons, eminent for their learning and abilities; they all performed the work assigned to them, and the whole was afterwards revised with great care by other critics. This translation was published in 1568, with a preface written by the archbishop; and it is generally called the Bishops Bible, because eight of the persons originally concerned in it were bishops.
The Romanists, finding it impossible to keep the Scriptures out of the hands of the common people, printed at Rheims, in the year 1582, an English New Testament, translated from the Vulgate, but they retained in it many Eastern, Greek, and Latin words, and contrived to render it unintelligible to common readers (u). The Old Testament was afterwards published at Douay, in two volumes, the former in 1609, and the latter in 1610.
In the conference held at Hampton Court, in 1603, before King James the First, between the Episcopalians and Puritans, Dr. Reynolds, the speaker of the Puritans, requested his Majesty that a new translation of the Bible might be made; alleging, that those which had been allowed
(u) Fuller, in the ninth book of his Church History, called it, "a translation which needed to be translated."
lowed in former reigns were incorrect; and in 1604, the king commissioned fifty-four learned men of the universities and other places to make a new and more faithful translation of the Bible, according to rules which he himself prescribed. Seven of those who were appointed either died before the work was begun, or declined to engage in it; and the other forty-seven were divided into six companies, who met at Cambridge, Oxford, and Westminster, and translated the books respectively assigned to them. This work was begun in the spring of the year 1607, and at the end of three years it was finished. Two persons selected from the Cambridge translators, two from those of Oxford, and two from those of Westminster, then met at Stationers Hall in London, and read over and corrected the whole. Lastly, it was reviewed by Bilson bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Myles Smith, who prefixed arguments to the several books (a). Dr. Smith wrote the preface, and the person alluded to in it as "the chief overseer and task-master," is supposed to have been Bancroft bishop of London. This translation was published in 1611; and the improvements
(x) The chronological index and marginal references were afterwards added by Bishop Lloyd, one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the reign of James the Second.