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St George's News

Waterlooville's Parish Magazine


A brief history - Part Four

In 1870, the Church of England decided to revise the Authorized Version. The New Testament appeared in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1895. This 'Revised Version' was popular to start with, but this popularity did not last. Most individuals and churches still preferred the Authorized version.

Since then, there have been several modern English translations of the Bible which have tried to replace the out-of-date language of the older versions and to reproduce the flavour of everyday speech. The editing of these translations has also made improvements to the printed form of the text of the Bible. For example, paragraphs separate the text into logical divisions, dialogue is enclosed in quotation marks, and poetry is printed to show its verse form.

Among the earliest of the numerous translations of the Bible that appeared in the twentieth century was 'The American Standard Version' of 1901, produced by a committee of American translators. In Britain, R.F.Weymouth's 'The New Testament in Modern Speech' appeared in 1903. The Scots Biblical scholar James Moffatt translated the Bible twice. His second version (New Testament 1913, Old Testament 1924) used a rather free, colloquial style. The U.S. translator Edgar Godspeed published a translation of the New Testament in 1923, and four other American scholars produced a version of the Old Testament in 1927. Their efforts, which sought to reflect the flavour of contemporary American speech, appeared in 1931 as 'The Bible: An American Translation'. After the Second World War more versions became available. The National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America sponsored a translation called the 'Revised Standard Version', which became highly popular. The New Testament was published in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and the Apocrypha in 1957. A new revision of this version, called 'The Common Bible', appeared in 1973. Then there is 'The New English Bible', a completely new translation, of which the New Testament was available in 1961 and the complete Bible in 1970. This was revised and appeared as 'The Revised English Bible with Apocrypha' in 1989. The American Bible Society produced 'The Good News Bible' in 1966, the English version appearing ten years later. Another new translation, the New International Bible came into being in 1973. With all these, plus the numerous versions produced for children, is it any wonder that the Bible outsells any other book that has been printed.

Bill Hutchings

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