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(4) That in such necessary changes the style of the language employed in the existing version be closely followed.
(5) That it is desirable that Convocation should nominate a body of its own members to undertake the work of revision, who shall be at liberty to invite the co-operation of any eminent for scholarship, to whatever nation or religious body they may belong.'
In accordance with the last of these resolutions, the two Houses of Convocation appointed a Committee, consisting of eight members from each House, who proceeded without delay to invite scholars belonging to different religious bodies to join one or other of the two Companies into which they divided themselves—the one for the revision of the old Testament, and the other for the revision of the New Testament—and having first drawn up some rules for the guidance of both Companies, they addressed themselves, in the month of June, 1870, to the important task which they had taken in hand, the Old Testament Company beginning their work with the revision of the Pentateuch, and the New Testament Company with that of the Synoptical Gospels.
It appears from a speech delivered by the Dean of Westminster in the Lower House of Convocation on February 16, 1871, that, in accordance with a resolution which had been adopted on July 7 in the preceding year, an invitation was addressed by the Bishop of Winchester and by the Dean of Westminster both to the Episcopalian and non-Episcopalian scholars of the United States to co-operate with the English Companies in the work of revision. The object proposed in this co-operation was not only to obtain for the respective Companies, in accordance with the fifth of the original resolutions, the aid of many competent scholars on the other side of the Atlantic, but also to secure, if possible, for the forthcoming revision, the same general reception in America which it was hoped that the co-operation of scholars belonging to the various religious bodies in England would ensure for it in this country. The invitation thus addressed to American scholars was promptly and cordially accepted, and the American Committee, divided, as in England, into two Companies, was duly organised in the course of the year 1871, and began active work in October, 1872.
The mode of operation adopted in regard both to the English and the American Companies may be briefly described as follows:-At the first revision of each book, after each verse has been read in Hebrew or Greek, and in English according to the Authorised Version, the suggestions of any absent members have been read by the respective secretaries, and any proposal made either by absent or present members, if seconded by a member present, has become a substantive proposition, to which any member has been at liberty to speak, either for or against its adoption. If approved by a simple majority of members, the vote of the absent member who proposed any emendation being taken into account, such emendation has been adopted at the first revision, subject, however, to being challenged on the second revision, on which occasion, unless approved by two-thirds of the members present, as provided by the fifth of the rules already quoted, it has fallen to the ground, and the Authorised Version, unless any other emendation has secured the same majority, has been restored. In this manner the whole of the New Testament has been not only twice, as originally proposed, but, for the greater part, thrice revised.*
In regard to the co-operation of the American Companies, the course adopted has been to transmit copies from time to time of the several books, as revised by the English Companies. The American Companies have carefully examined these copies, and transmitted to the English Companies such suggestions upon them as have been adopted by a majority of the members. These suggestions have been considered by the English Companies, and many of them adopted. A table has been drawn up of the comparatively unimportant readings and renderings of the American Companies, which is inserted at the end of the volume.
We wish we could say that the high hopes and expectations with which this important work has been undertaken and carried on are justified by the result; but, as we shall presently have occasion to show, there are grave reasons to believe that the Revised Version will not command the undivided reverence of the world, and will certainly not replace the immortai language of the English Bible. As the character of the English Version must be affected by the readings adopted in the Greek text by the Revisers, it is necessary to call attention to some salient points in connexion with it. This task is rendered easier by the publication, in a continuous text, of the readings adopted by the revisers, of which an accurate list
may seem almost superfluous to state that all the members of the two Companies, whether they are members of the Committee appointed by Convocation or not, have an equal vote on every question which arises for discussion in connexion with the work of revision. At
conclusion of the work it rests with the members of the Committee appointed by Convocation to present the results to the body by which they were appointed.
has been furnished to the Delegates and Syndics of the University Presses. We are able to see, therefore, what changes are simply matters of translation, and what result from more correct readings than the Textus Receptus supplies. We note that the passage of the three heavenly witnesses' (1 John v. 7) has been expunged, and that without note or comment, so unanimous are all critics in pronouncing it spurious. Peace also reigns on another battle-field of textual criticism, and without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh' (1 Tim. iii. 16), embodies the universally acknowledged reading. Faithfulness to their. critical canons has compelled the Revisers to omit the doxology in the Lord's Prayer, and to accept the shortened recension in St. Luke, though the doxology is found in the four Syriac Versions, the Thebaic, Gothic, and Armenian, and in Chrysostom. The pericope of the woman taken in adultery (John vii. 53-viii, 11) is inserted in the text, but enclosed in square brackets, and the conclusion of St. Mark's Gospel (Mark xvi. 9-20), while admitted to the same place, has attention called to the difficulties attending its reception. Some verses are removed from the text, and amongst them those containing the descent of the angel into the pool (John v. 3, 4); the prophecy of the parting of the garments of our Lord (Matt. xxvii. 35) at the time of the Crucifixion; the notification by St. Mark (Mark xv. 28) of the fulfilment of prophecy; the rebuke to the disciples (Luke ix. 55) when they desired to bring fire on the Samaritan village; the statement to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts viï. 37) of the necessity of faith before baptism ; and the liberty of Christians (Rom. xiv. 6) not to observe certain days. On the other hand, one verse (1 John ï. 23), which has been printed in italics, is now
Η ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ, The Greek Testament with the Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorised Version. Oxford: at the Clarendon Press, 1881.
* The New Testament by John Brown McClellan' furnishes a vigorous defence of the Textus Receptus as a whole, and contains a valuable compendium of objections to the current opinions on textual criticism. While these sheets have been passing through the press Dr. Westcott and Dr. Hort have published the first volume of their New Testament in the original Greek. It has long been anticipated by English scholars; and if the second volume fulfils the promise of the appendix in the first volume, it will furnish a unique treatise on textual criticism. As might be expected, these scholars differ in their text, in many places, from that adopted by the revisers; but these last are more cautious and conservative in their decisions.
rescued from the imputation cast upon it. The adoption of the reading, ' in whom we have redemption' (Col. i. 4), omitting δια του αίματος αυτού, and our only Master and Lord, • Jesus Christ' (Jude 4), Tòv póvov DEO TÓTNV, proves the honesty of the revisers, and gives greater weight to their opinion when they read, ‘sanctify in your hearts Christ, as • Lord' (1 Pet. iii. 15), Kúplov dè tòv Xplotóv, instead of Bebv; and the unusual collocation (in Acts xx. 28) of the • Church of God which he purchased with his own blood.' The freedom from theological bias is further shown in their rejection in John i. 18) of the only begotten God' (uovoyevns @ɛós), of which some of their number are known advocates, and for which the evidence is exceedingly strong. Some of the readings when combined with a spirited translation impart picturesqueness to the narrative, as when Mark ix. 23 is rendered. If thou canst'!; there arose therefore a questioning
on the part of John's disciple with a Jew' (John iii. 25); •What is this ? a new teaching !' (Mark i. 27); But should 'we say, From men—they feared the people’ (Mark xi. 32); •When he heard him he was much perplexed' (ńcópel) (Mark vii. 20); and I will make three tabernacles' (Toińow), in perfect accordance with Peter's impetuosity. English readers will resent the new rendering (1 Cor. xv. 55), “() death,
where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting ;' but the loss of the familiar words is inevitable, if a correct text is to be the basis of a faithful translation. We regret that the majority of the revisers determined to accept the reading év åvēpáros eúdorias (Luke ii. 14), which is opposed to a very respectable weight of critical opinion, and still more that they adopted the unrhythmical periphrasis, “ among men in whom
he is well pleased,' in place of the consecrated expression 'good-will to men.'
We must now pass to the English Version, and that we may judge the work fairly we turn to the preface where we learn the exact aim of the revisers. A faint odour of pedantry hangs over this too elaborate document, there are ominous references to the niceties of Greek grammar, and much stress is laid upon the insertion and omission of the article. We are warned, and not altogether unjustly, to suspend our judgment concerning many of the alterations that have been made for a convergence
of reasons which, when explained, would at once be accepted; 'but until so explained might never be surmised even by intel
ligent readers. The fear excited by such a sentence is, however, allayed by the panegyric pronounced on this great
• Version ’ by the revisers, who say, the longer we have been engaged upon it, the more we have learned to admire its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression, its general accuracy, the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.' But we cannot read a chapter of the Gospels without perceiving the diametrically opposite principles which govern the procedure of the revisers of 1611 and of 1881. The former coveted earnestly, as the best gifts of translators, forcible English. They determined to make their version flexible and rhythmical ; they cared but little for precision and minute accuracy; and literal reproduction of their original they utterly ignored, even to the verge of the limits prescribed to faithful rendering from one language to another. Our revisers strive, with undoubted learning and almost incredible industry, to reproduce the very order and turn of the words, the literal force of each tense and mood, and the rendering of each Greek term by the same English equivalent as far as practicable. They have obtained their ends, but at too great a price. In the Gospels, especially, they had to deal with what was, at first, a preacher's narrative, often repeated and brought into its general form by the exigencies of public audiences. It was further, in its substance, the record of men who thought as Hebrews even when they wrote as Hellenists, and therefore it presented peculiar difficulties to those who would make it the heritage of English people, and maintain as far as possible the familiar words of the former version. Our revisers have subjected their original to the most exhaustive grammatical analysis, every chapter testifies to the fear of Winer that was before their eyes, and their familiarity with the intricacies of modern verbal criticism. But the reader who was conversant with the old version—and what Englishman, cultured or untaught, was not so conversant ?—is surprised and irritated by the inversion of familiar phrases, by a multitude of minute alterations, and by the occurrence of cumbrous periphrases. Every phase of New Testament scholarship was represented in the New Testament Company, but the niceties of idiomatic English appear to have found no champion, and no voice was raised to warn these eminent scholars of the dangers that threatened their work from overrefinement. It is true that this unhappy flaw cannot destroy the labour of a decade, but it mars the symmetry and cripples the efficiency of this version to a serious degree. The following list of inversions and unnecessary changes occurring in the first chapter of St. John's Gospel will illustrate our meaning.