Sunday, August 3, 2008

Responses to King James-Onlyists

Check out this page which had a lot of interesting (and thorough) rebuttals against the arguments of KJV-onlyists.

A good number of the people the author answers in the site seem to assert that the "1611 King James Version is the Word of God."

However, the KJV that most of us are familiar with right now is not the original 1611 KJV, but a later revision (the text commonly called today as the 'King James Version' is the 1769 Oxford Edition by Benjamin Blayney; incidentally, Blayney's revision also originally had the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha; however he removed marginal cross-references to these boks, wherever these had been provided by the original translators), with the spelling (proper and uniform spelling was still a rather foreign concept in English when the KJV was first published) and at times, even the wording itself changed in these revisions (Blayney's edition differed from the original 1611 edition in 24,000 places; since then, further six were introduced and 30 of Blayney's proposed changes were reverted); so technically, the KJV widely distributed and found on the internet today is not the original 1611 Authorized Version, but a later revision.

If we believe that the Word of God is not to be tampered with, then Blayney, F.S. Parris (who edited the Cambridge edition of the KJV in 1762 which Blayney superseded) and others of their ilk had committed a grave blunder. And considering that Blayney's edition is the one most commonly found right now, then the Word of God that is the King James Version that we have now might be corrupted!

I'd note that one of the people whom the owner of the site rebuts has an interesting statement:

Those who put together the NIV did it to make money. The NIV bible is a copyrighted book. The King James Bible, on the other hand, is 80 to 90 percent the work of William Tyndale. He received revelation from God to translate the Bible into English so that even the plowboy could understand the scripture. He tried to obtain a license from the State church, but was turned down. Because God was calling him to do it, he fled England and went to Germany. He secretly translated and printed the Bible, often fleeing for his life.
Tyndale's concern was not making money or copyrighting the text. Even today the King James Bible is not copyrighted. Tyndale was driven by God to do the translation and was eventually strangled and burned for his efforts.
The statement that 'the KJV is under public domain' is only applicable in countries which are not under the control of the British Sovereign, like America.

Perhaps it is a little known fact to many of you (at least, those of you who are not in the UK) that even in the present day, the rights to the King James Version is held by the British Crown under perpetual Crown copyright; thus, only publishers who have a letters patent (a legal instrument in the form of an open letter issued by a monarch or government, granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or to some entity such as a corporation) are licensed to reproduce the KJV there.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the publishing rights to the KJV are held by the Queen's Printer (presently this position is held by the Cambridge University Press), while in Scotland, it is held by the Scottish Bible Board (the publishing house Collins prints the Bible under license from that Board). The terms of the letters patent prohibit those other than the holders, or those authorized by the holders from printing, publishing or importing the KJV into the United Kingdom. This protection that the King James Version (and the Book of Common Prayer) enjoy is a relic of former ages, when the British Crown held a monopoly over all printing and publishing in the United Kingdom.

Tyndale may have had noble (in his view, at least) intentions, but to say that just because other Bibles are copyrighted and the KJV is not (outside of the UK), then it follows that their respective translators are only in it for the money (I'm not saying they're all innocent, though) and that these translations are not better is a rather twisted logic, in my opinion. So the copyrighted=false argument does not really hold water as the KJV itself is still in copyright in the UK and soon enough a good number of presently-copyrighted Bible translations will soon become public domain after a considerable period of time, that is if their copyrights aren't renewed.

Sure, Tyndale may have set out to translate the Scriptures for the plowboy or the common layman (Neither he, nor John Wyclif were the first people to translate the Bible into English, however, contrary to popular belief), but can the modern-day layman understand the English of the Authorized Version (I should also note that even during the time of its publication, the English of the King James Version was already quite antiquated), much less in its original (1611) form?

Now, do not think that I hate the King James Version, nor am I denying the impact it had on the English language itself and on many people; on the contrary, I do find the King James Version quite beautiful itself (though there are other more beautiful, in my opinion, translations out there). I only find it irksome that people would taut a single translation of the Bible (be it the King James or the Douay-Rheims or whatever), put it on par (or even above) the original texts, and then claim that the English version is the true word of God and all the others are deceptions of the Devil.

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