Friday, October 07, 2016

Principles for Revising the KJV

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I spent the morning today looking through some of the minutes and papers from the revisers of the English Bible (i.e., the Revised Version). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the minutes on the New Testament. But I did come across some interesting collateral material. For example, the funding put up by the University of Oxford and Cambridge was £20,000 and they retained the profits from printing. Also, the NT committee, at least from what I saw, took detailed notes for each verse whereas the OT minutes were essentially a record of attendance and a note on the point in the text reached in each meeting. All the meetings opened with prayer. I also didn’t realize that Charles Hodge was on the committee for the American edition.

Here are the general principles for the revision for both the Old and New Testament committees:

From MS Add. 6924

9 comments :

  1. Please keep reading into those NT Committee minutes -- it would be interesting indeed if they include more than merely attendance and portions covered. Especially interesting would be any comments regarding text-critical discussions between Hort and Scrivener.

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    1. Yes, it would be very interesting to see Scrivener's agreements and dissent from the RV. Are his papers in any of the Cambridge college libraries?

      Andrew Wilson

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    2. Maurice and Andrew, I’ve now been through the six volumes of minutes from the NT meetings. In the first few meetings, they kept vote tallies for various decisions. But after that, it is merely a record of who was present and what changes were adopted. It doesn’t include any real record of voting or discussion. There is more material to go through, but it is mostly letters and other collateral material from the committees. So I do not expect to find what you’re looking for there either.

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  2. So far all I have been able to confirm is that he was not present at the meetings on the Apocrypha.

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  3. Maurice, note the reticence Westcott expresses on his responsibility for the text behind the RV: "the text of the Revisers does not represent the peculiarities of my own personal opinion." See here

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  4. Does anyone think that the revisors kept the fourth principle? Or was that principle flagrantly violated on practically every page? I say that it was flagrantly violated on practically every page.

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    1. James,
      I assume you take this stance based on your belief that preponderance requires a greater quantity of evidence, such as in the variety of Majority Text positions including your EE.
      Maybe, the editors knew preponderance means weighted evidence and made their decisions based on this criteria.
      Tim

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    2. Timothy Joseph,
      That is incorrect; I advocate many minority readings, and I, too, advocate weighing the evidence -- just not in the sense of handicapping the horses so that the right horse always wins.
      The question at hand is a simple matter of whether the RV has all the footnotes that adherence to that principle would require. Clearly, it does not and it is not even close.

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    3. James, no, they were not able to indicate all the changes in the margin as they originally planned because it was not practical in terms of printing. Scrivener explains in his Parallel Edition: ‘The special design of this volume is to place clearly before the reader the variations from the Greek test represented by the Authorised Version of the New Testament which have been embodied in the Revised Version, One of the Rules laid down for the guidance of the Revisers by a Committee appointed by the Convocation of Canterbury was to the effect “ that, when the Text adopted differs from that from “which the Authorised Version was made, the alteration be indicated “in the margin.” As it was found that a literal observance of this direction would often crowd and obscure the margin of the Revised Version, the Revisers judged that its purpose might be better carried out in another manner. They therefore communicated to the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses a full and carefully corrected list of the readings adopted which are at variance with the readings “presumed to underlie the Authorised Version,” in order that they might be published independently in some shape or other.’

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