Les versions anciennes

Voici donc les principales dates de  parution des  versions bibliques qui ont vu le jour du Xe siècle au XVIIe siècle, soit entre les années 900 ap JC et 1700 ap JC. Certaines de ces versions sont encore en usage aujourd'hui. 

 

 La Bible enfin traduite en français

 Les traductions médiévales de la Bible en prose française, c'est-à-dire des Bibles écrites comme celles que nous lisons aujourd'hui et qui ressemblaient aux versions latines au point de pouvoir être prises pour elles, sont peu nombreuses...  Les premières « vraies » traductions intégrales datent de la fin du XIIIe siècle. Les traductions du Psautier en langues germaniques et romanes comptent parmi les plus anciennes traductions connues (XIIe siècle).

 Entre la parution de la Vulgate et le XIIe siècle en France, la Bible est essentiellement lue en latin. La Réforme de la Vulgate dans l’Empire franc est l’œuvre de Charlemagne... . Le siècle de Charlemagne est celui de l’affrontement et de la dispersion de deux types de manuscrits, ceux émanant d’Angleterre et ceux circulant depuis l’Espagne. Deux hommes vont incarner cet antagonisme, Alcuin et Théodulfe. Le premier fait venir, en 796, de York, sa ville natale, la bibliothèque que lui a léguée son maître, lui même disciple de Bède le Vénérable, avec les meilleurs manuscrits de la Vulgate qu’il connaissait. Or ce dernier est l’héritier du travail déjà ancien sur la Bible entrepris auparavant en Angleterre où se développent précocement en Europe les premières traductions en langue vernaculaire du texte latin...La période carolingienne est donc, avec Alcuin et Théodulfe, la grande période charnière de redécouverte du texte avant la grande réforme franciscaine des textes latins. Il est même important de rappeler qu'avant la réforme carolingienne on ne connaissait le texte que de seconde main...

En même temps, on « raconte » aussi les histoires de la Bible en latin, c'est-à-dire tout ce que l'on dit (les gloses) sur un verset particulier : c'est le cas du texte de Pierre le Mangeur intitulé Historia Scholastica. C'est une sorte d'Histoire sainte rédigée à l'intention des moines itinérants en guise de pro memoria dans la perspective des disputes qu'ils auraient pu avoir à soutenir avec les hérétiques. Il s'agit de petits opuscules qui traitent de la matière biblique en la divisant en chapitres clairement distingués. Pour chaque personnage, on trouve mention d'une citation de la Glossa ordinaria ou d'un fait d'érudition. Le texte latin de l'Historia Scholastica, vade-mecum des moines itinérants, premier livre d’histoire (achevé avant 1173) de la main de Petrus Comestor, le Magister in Historiis, s’est imposé jusqu'au XVIe siècle comme référence incontestable et unique encyclopédie à portée de main tant des étudiants que des moines prêcheurs...

 L'influence de Pierre Comestor sur la perception du texte au XIIIe siècle est fondamentale. Son ambition pédagogique trouvera son aboutissement dans deux ouvrages qui vont révolutionner la pensée occidentale, l’Histoire générale d’Alphonse X et la Bible historiale de Guyart des Moulins. Cette dernière servira de base à plus d’une traduction moderne, à commencer par celle tant reconnue de Jean de Rély en 1487, ce dernier s’étant simplement contenté d’y plaquer la division en versets. Alors que, jusqu’au XIIIe siècle, la Bible n’était qu’une collection de livres traduits rangés dans un ordre variable (Samuel Berger a recensé deux cents dispositions différentes), la Bible historiale complétée se lit en chapitres avec, en tête, des rubriques ou des sommaires qui en résument le contenu, conformément à l’usage grec.

Les deux premières Bibles modernes, Bibles en prose, paraissent en France entre 1250 et 1300 : d'un côté la Bible que nous connaissons généralement comme la Bible du XIIIe siècle et de l'autre la Bible historiale de Guyart des Moulins, véritable Bible interpolée en langue vernaculaire, formée de l'agglomération de la traduction du texte de la Vulgate d'un côté et de la traduction de l'Historia Scholastica du Maître en Histoires – Pierre Comestor – de l'autre. Les traductions françaises de la Bible du XIIIe siècle et de la Bible historiale de Guyart des Moulins ont construit un discours en rupture avec l’original latin

 voir article détaillé sur Wikipedia: Traductions médiévales de la Bible.

VOIR AUSSI

 http://www.biblehistoriale.fr/

 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyart_des_Moulins

 https://www.alliancebiblique.fr/archives/i-la-bible-au-xive-et-xve-siecle-premieres-traductions-en-langue-courante?ref=bible16_20_1

 https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5497445k.r=La%20Bible%2C%20traduction?rk=2339067;2  Description de la Bible écrite par Alchuin

 https://www.universdelabible.net/les-traductions-de-la-bible/les-manuscrits-originaux/les-textes-de-base?showall=1

 Chronologie des étapes : Xe siècle au XVe siècle

 

 Avant l'imprimerie

  • Vers 1090, Rashi propose pour la première fois un commentaire de la Bible hébraïque en se servant du champenois, la langue vernaculaire de son temps, pour expliquer les mots hébreux qui le nécessitent. Au même moment se diffuse le poème anglo-normand sur la Bible[1].
  • C'est en Angleterre qu'apparaissent les premières traductions. Dès la première moitié du XIIe siècle parait une traduction en prose du psautier, en anglo-normand[2].
  • Vers 1190, Herman de Valenciennes est sur le point d’achever sa mise en vers de la première histoire sainte, Li Romanz de Dieu et de sa Mere.
  • Entre 1230 et 1260 circule une traduction en francien, qu'on appelle aujourd'hui la Bible du XIIIe siècle. Cette compilation de traductions et de commentaires est une œuvre collective, la première Bible en prose, dont les quelques manuscrits anciens qui nous sont parvenus sont incomplets.
  •  Vers 1170, un marchand lyonnais, Pierre Valdo, fait traduire par des clercs, sans doute membres du chapitre cathédral de Lyon, le texte et la glose du Psautier et de plusieurs autres livres de l'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament.
  • 1226-1250, traduction de Jean Le Bon de l'Université de Paris. Inachevée et poursuivie au XIVe siècle par Jean de Sy et les dominicains Jehan Nicolas, Guillaume Vivien, et Jehan de Chambly.
  • En 1290, Guyart des Moulins est sur le point de rendre en « prose française  » l'Historia scholastica super Novum Testamentum de Pierre le Mangeur. Achevée en 1295, sa Bible historiale va demeurer pendant deux siècles la version la plus complète et reste une référence. La Bible historiale de Guyart Desmoulins ou Guyart des Moulins. Traduction et compilation de l’Historia Scholastica de Pierre le Mangeur, la plus grande partie de la Bible (d'une traduction libérale), et un assemblage de gloses et d'autres matériaux de plusieurs sources. Le contenu des manuscrits est variable, et des versions successives semblent y ajouter des livres de la Bible qui manquaient à la traduction de Guyart.
  • La Bible de Raoul de Presles est rédigée entre 1375 et 1382 sur l'ordre Charles V et s'appuie largement sur la Bible du XIIIe siècle. À sa mort, en 1382, il avait traduit tout l'Ancien Testament et avait commencé la traduction de l'Évangile de saint Matthieu[5].

 

 Après l'imprimerie

 

 http://www.textesrares.com/hliv15/bibl42.htm  Bible de Gutenberg, Bamberg, vers 1454-1456 Bible dite aussi "à 42 lignes"

 http://www.textesrares.com/hliv15/th071.htm  Bible, Bamberg, 1459-1460  (Bible dite "à 36 lignes") 

 

 Traductions du XVIe siècle

    • 1530, Bible d'Anvers, par Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples (Nouveau Testament en 1523, Ancien Testament en 1528), à partir de la Vulgate. Réimprimée en 1534 en 1541. Il s'agit de la première traduction intégrale des écritures hébraïques en français.

https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Lef%C3%A8vre_d%27%C3%89taples

 

 Traduction du XVIIe siècle

        EXTRAITS TIRÉS DE: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traductions_de_la_Bible_en_fran%C3%A7ais 

VOIR AUSSI

https://www.alliancebiblique.fr/archives/ii-le-xvie-siecle-une-renaissance-pour-la-bible?ref=bible16_20_2

http://hlybk.pagesperso-orange.fr/bible/france.htm

 

ROBERT ESTIENNE 

https://francearchives.fr/commemo/recueil-2009/39480  Robert 1er Estienne

http://levigilant.com/texte_recu/estienne.htm

http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~wulfric/tiden/dlg.htm  (Dictionarium Latinogallicum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  LES VIEILLES VERSIONS MANUSCRITES EN LATIN

 

 

 La Bible de Louis d'Orléans (1101-1200)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8490079x/f10.item.r=La%20Bible.zoom

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55000809r/f5.item.r=La%20Bible.zoom

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6000745p/f8.item.r=La%20Bible.zo

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b52506323q/f5.item.r=La%20Bible.zoom

 

 Biblia sacra [dite Bible de saint Louis] (1260-1275)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8447291v/f17.image.r=La%20Bible

 

Bible de Robert de Billyng  (Texte de la Vulgate avec prologues (f. 1-642); Etienne Langton, Interpretationes hebraicorum nominum (f. 643-705) - 1317-1337

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105097447/f15.item.r=La%20Bible.zoom

 

 

 

 LES VIEILLES VERSIONS MANUSCRITES EN FRANÇAIS

 

 https://www.utm.edu/staff/bobp/vlibrary/bible.shtml   (Liste des manuscrits contenant les textes bibliques en langue vernaculaire)

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k912118/f3.image.r=La%20Bible,%20traductionLa%20Sainte%20Bible%20versions  Les Bibles provençales et vaudoises / par Samuel Berger 

Justinianus,Codex, traduction anonyme en français (1240-1250)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8455783p/f11.image.r=La%20Bible,%20traduction

 

Bible historiale de GUYART DESMOULINS. Français (1301-1400)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10721532k.r=La%20Bible

 

Bible traduction de Raoul de Presle(1401-1500)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b107209281/f6.item.r=La%20Bible,%20traduction.zoom

 

Neuchâtel : Pierre de Vingle, 1535

 https://www.e-rara.ch/gep_g/doi/10.3931/e-rara-5690

https://www.e-rara.ch/gep_g/content/titleinfo/1751440

 

La Saincte Bible contenant le vieil et nouveau Testament (1566)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k79025x/f1.item.r=.zoom (T1)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k790268.r= (T2)

 

 

 

 

 

 


 La Bible en France, ou Les traductions françaises des saintes Ecritures

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k114647d/f3.item.r=La%20Bible,%20traduction


 

la-premiere-bible-en-francais-1535

la_bible_des_reformateurs_0

Bible de Jean Calvin 1550

Bible de Sacy (1665-1708)

http://jesusmarie.free.fr/bible_sacy.html

 

http://jesusmarie.free.fr/bible_sacy.html (commentée) (32 vol) (1665-1708)

http://456-bible.123-bible.com/saci/saci.htm  (1759)

https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Bible_Sacy (1855) (2 vol)

https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Livre:Lemaistre_de_Sacy_-_La_sainte_Bible_1855.pdf

http://gallica.bnf.fr/services/engine/search/sru?operation=searchRetrieve&version=1.2&collapsing=disabled&query=dc.relation%20all%20%22cb361184598%22  (Version Sacy 1730)

 

LE MAISTRE DE SACY, MARILLIER ET MONSIAUX (1789)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon01lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.1)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon02lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.2)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon03lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.3)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon04lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.4)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon05lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.5)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon06lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.6)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon07lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.7)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon08lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.8)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon09lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.9)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon10lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.10)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon11lema#page/n5/mode/2up (T.11)

https://archive.org/stream/lasaintebiblecon12lema#page/n7/mode/2up (T.12)

 

SACY(AT), LALLEMANT(NT), DELAUNAY(NOTES)  1860

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k57748471.r=Bible%20de%20Sacy (T.1)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5752652g.r=Bible%20de%20Sacy (T.2)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5720324p.r=Bible%20de%20Sacy (T.3)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k57203008.r=Bible%20de%20Sacy (T.4)

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k57202517.r=Bible%20de%20Sacy (T.5)

 

 http://gallica.bnf.fr/services/engine/search/sru?operation=searchRetrieve&version=1.2&collapsing=disabled&query=dc.relation%20all%20%22cb36589002k%22

 

 SA BIOGRAPHIE ET SON OEUVRE

 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis-Isaac_Lemaistre_de_Sacy

 http://www.amisdeportroyal.org/societe/?Le-Maistre-de-Sacy-Isaac-Louis.html

 http://livresanciens-tarascon.blogspot.com/2015/11/la-sainte-bible-de-le-maistre-de-saci.html

 

 


 

 VOIR ICI LA VERSION DE LA BIBLE  SACY DE 1725

bible_sacy_genese

version sacy 1725


 

La Bible en milieu francophone

Quelques dates importantes de la Bible en milieu francophone


Ier-Ve siècles Les habitants de la Gaule sont latinisés par les Romains.


Ve-XIIe siècles La Bible existe en traduction latine, dans une version dite de la « Vulgate ». L’usage en est réservé au clergé, et le peuple l’entend de même en latin.


XIIe siècle Apparition des premiers textes bibliques en français (langue d’oïl).


XIIIe-XVIe Adaptations de l’histoire de la révélation biblique ; quelques traductions des
siècles Psaumes, des Évangiles et des Épîtres.


XVIe siècle La Bible entière traduite pour la première fois en français :


1530 La Bible de Lefèvre d’Étaples (Anvers). Traduction à partir du latin.
1535 La Bible d’Olivétan (Neuchâtel). Traduction à partir de l’hébreu et du grec. Ces deux traductions sont en français de l’époque.
1555 La Bible de Castellion (Bâle).
1566 La Bible de René Benoist (Paris).
1578 La Bible de Louvain : le prototype des Bibles catholiques romaines.
1588 La Bible de Genève : le prototype des Bibles francophones protestantes.
1667 Le Nouveau Testament de Mons.
1672-93 La Bible de Lemaître de Sacy/Port-Royal (réédition 1990).
1678 Avec la révocation de l’édit de Nantes, les protestants perdent le droit d’imprimer leurs textes religieux, chose qui implique également l’interruption de toute publication des traductions françaises de la Bible.


Les réformés sont donc forcés de trouver leurs écrits à l’étranger :


1707 La Bible de David Martin (Amsterdam).
1744 La Bible de Jean-Frédéric Ostervald (Neuchâtel).
1799-1804 Sous le Consulat, les protestants peuvent reprendre l’impression biblique.
XIXe siècle Le siècle des sociétés bibliques.
1880 La Bible de Louis Segond (Oxford).
1894-1904 La Sainte Bible d’Augustin Crampon (Paris) est la première Bible catholique à être traduite à partir des textes originaux hébreu et grec.
1899-1905 La Bible du Rabbinat (révisée en 1973).


XXe siècle Se manifeste un développement qualitatif et quantitatif, qui fait naître des versions interconfessionnelles, laïques, missionnaires, telles que :


1950 La Bible des moines de Maredsous (révisée en 1968).
1956 La Bible de Jérusalem (révisée en 1973 et 1998).
1956-1959 L’Ancien Testament de la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.
1969-1974 La Bible traduite par Pierre de Beaumont (révisée en 1981).
1971 Le Nouveau Testament de la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.
1971 Le Nouveau Testament en français courant (révisée en 1996).
1972 Le Nouveau Testament de la Traduction OEcuménique de la Bible (1988).
1973 La Bible d’Émile Osty.
1975 L’Ancien Testament de la Traduction OEcuménique de la Bible (1988).
1977 La Traduction liturgique (avec le Nouveau Testament entier en 1993).
1978 La Bible à la Colombe, version révisée de la Bible de Segond.
1982 La Bible en français courant (révisée en 1997).
1985 La Bible d’André Chouraqui.
1986- La Bible d’Alexandrie. Traduction en cours de la Septante en français.
1994 La Bible des communautés chrétiennes (1998 pour la Bible des peuples).
2001 La Bible, Nouvelle traduction. Bayard et Médiaspaul.
2002 Une nouvelle révision de la Bible Segond.

 http://livresanciens-tarascon.blogspot.com/2013/02/la-sainte-bible-de-louis-et-daniel.html

 https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5500167q/f10.image   (Catalogue des Bibles)

 https://www.bibliorama.org/liste-des-parutions-de-la-bible/


 

The Transmission of the Bible to English

The Transmission of the Bible to English


500 BC: Completion of All Original Hebrew Manuscripts which make Up The 39 Books
of the Old Testament.
200 BC: Completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts which contain The 39 Old
Testament Books AND 14 Apocrypha Books.
1st Century AD: Completion of All Original Greek Manuscripts which make Up The
27 Books of the New Testament.
390 AD: Jerome's Latin Vulgate Manuscripts Produced which contain 80 Books (39 Old
Test. + 14 Apocrypha + 27 New Test).
500 AD: Scriptures have been Translated into Over 500 Languages.
600 AD: LATIN was the Only Language Allowed for Scripture.
995 AD: Anglo-Saxon (Early Roots of English Language) Translations of The New
Testament Produced.
1384 AD: Wycliffe is the First Person to Produce a (Hand-Written) manuscript Copy of
the Complete Bible in English (80 Books). Wycliffe had no access to Greek or Hebrew
manuscripts and was thus totally reliant on the fourth century Latin translation of St.
Jerome.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wyclif

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wyclif/


1455 AD: Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press; Books May Now be mass-produced
Instead of Individually Hand-Written. The First Book Ever Printed is Gutenberg's Bible in
Latin.
1516 AD: Erasmus Produces a Greek/Latin Parallel New Testament.
1522 AD: Martin Luther's German New Testament.
1526 AD: William Tyndale's New Testament; The First New Testament to be Printed in
the English Language. (Worms edition)
1530 AD: Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old
Testament is Printed.
1531 AD: Tyndale's translation of the Book of Jonah is Printed.
1534 AD: Tyndale's revised New Testament is Printed.
1535 AD: Myles Coverdale's Bible; The First Complete Bible to be printed in the
English Language (80 Books: O.T. & N.T. & Apocrypha).
1537 AD: Matthews Bible; The Second Complete Bible to be Printed in English. Done
by John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers (80 Books).
1539 AD: The "Great Bible" Printed; The First English Language Bible to be
Authorized for Public Use (80 Books).
1560 AD: The Geneva Bible Printed; The First English Language Bible to Add
Numbered Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books).
1568 AD: The Bishops Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a
Revision (80 Books).
1609 AD: The Douay Old Testament is added to the Rheimes New Testament (of 1582)
Making the First Complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the Latin Vulgate (80
Books).
1611 AD: The King James Bible Printed; Originally with 80 Books. The Apocrypha was
Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving 66 Books.
1782 AD: Robert Aitken's Bible; The First English Language Bible (a King James
Version without Apocrypha) to be Printed in America.
1791 AD: Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas Respectively Produce the First Family Bible
and First Illustrated Bible Printed in America. Both were King James Versions.
1808 AD: Jane Aitken's Bible (Daughter of Robert Aitken); The First Bible to be Printed
by a Woman.
1833 AD: Noah Webster's Bible; After Producing his Famous Dictionary, Webster
Printed his Own Revision of the King James Bible.
1841 AD: English Hexapla New Testament; an Early Textual Comparison showing the
Greek and 6 Famous English Translations in Parallel Columns.
1846 AD: The Illuminated Bible; The Most Lavishly Illustrated Bible printed in America.
A King James Version.
1885 AD: The "Revised Version" Bible; The First Major English Revision of the King
James Bible.
1901 AD: The "American Standard Version"; The First Major American Revision of the
King James Bible.
1971 AD: The "New American Standard Bible" (NASB) is Published as a "Modern and
Accurate Word for Word English Translation" of the Bible.
1973 AD: The "New International Version" (NIV) is Published as a "Modern and
Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation" of the Bible.
1982 AD: The "New King James Version" (NKJV) is Published as a "Modern English
Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James."


Early English translations
Since the clergy and the upper classes were trained in Latin and much of the
rest of the population was illiterate, there was for many years little need for
translations of the Bible into English. With written material available only in
manuscript, even those able to read Latin had little access to the Biblical text.
The lay population received instruction from the clergy and through the images
presented in stone and glass on the great cathedrals.
A few translations were made of portions of the Bible; these included short
glosses to Latin texts and longer, sometimes poetic version of whole books.
Some of these were apparently created for the use of monks and nuns; there is
little indication they were available to the lay population. As manuscripts, their
circulation, even among clergy, was limited.
The rise of Protestantism, with its greater emphasis on individual access to
God, led, perhaps inevitably, to attempts to create an English Bible. If each
individual was equally able to interpret God's law without mediation from the
church, than each individual should have access to the word of God as recorded
in the Bible. Sometime between 1380 and 1384 friends and colleagues of John
Wycliffe (1330-1384) produced a very literal English translation of the Latin
Vulgate which was circulated in manuscript copies.
This translation preserved Latin constructions and word order even when they
conflicted with English usage. A revised version, circulated after Wycliffe's
death and probably created by Wycliffe's secretary, John Purvey, used English
idiom and syntax. While there was nothing heretical about either translation,
accompanying introductions and notes suggested the theological bias of the
translators, which the Catholic hierarchy associated with the Lollards, a sect of
reformers associated with John Wycliffe. Both Purvey and Nicholas of
Hereford, a contributor to the early version, were imprisoned for their activities
and some of their associates were executed. Despite this condemnation,
manuscripts of the translation, minus the incriminating notes, remained in many
Catholic homes, even after a synod of clergy at Oxford in 1408 forbade anyone
to translate, even to read, a vernacular version of the Bible without the approval
of a diocesan bishop or a provincial council.
Early Printed Bibles
The advent of printing had a far-reaching effect on the creation of an English
Bible. The first dated printed book was a Latin Psalter (1454), and the first
major work was the Gutenberg Bible (1456). A complete Hebrew Bible was
printed by 1488. A Greek New Testament was printed in 1514 but not published
until later, making Eramus's 1516 edition the first published New Testament in
Greek. These and other printings made it possible for translators to work from
the original languages rather than from the Latin Vulgate translation on which
other English versions had been based. Erasmus's edition was the basis for
Luther's German New Testament, printed in 1522, and the first English New
Testament, translated by William Tyndale and first printed in 1525.
Tyndale's Translation
Tyndale was born in 1494 or 1495 and educated at Oxford and Cambridge. As a
tutor, he translated an early work by Erasmus and came to the attention of
county ecclesiastical authorities who charged him with heresy, a charge that
was not sustained. Tyndale became convinced that much of the confusion
concerning various matters then under debate was the general ignorance of the
Bible, even among the clergy, and determined to make a vernacular English
translation from the original Greek. He could not do so legally in England,
however, without church approval. In the summer of 1523, he sought
permission for the endeavor from the Bishop of London but did not receive it.
Eventually, he decided to go abroad to work on his translation.
Printing of Tyndale's translation of the New Testament, based on Erasmus's
Greek edition, was completed by the end of February, 1526. Tyndale revised his
New testament in 1534 and 1535; the 1534 version became the definitive one.
By 1530, Tyndale had published his translation of the first five books of the Old
Testament; a year later he published an edition of Jonah. He also completed a
translation of the Old Testament books from Joshua to Second Chronicles
although it was not published until it was incorporated into "Matthew's Bible,"
in 1537. Many of Tyndale's readings found their way into the Authorized
Version of 1611 (eventually known as the King James Version).
Tyndale's Old Testament translation was the first to be rendered directly from
the Hebrew rather than from the Latin Vulgate. While most educated men of the
period read some Greek and Latin, few knew Hebrew, and Tyndale spent many
years studying the language before making his translation. The Tyndale Old
Testament, is idiomatic and surprisingly fresh. In Genesis 3, for example, the
snake replies to Eve's protests with "Tush, ye shall not die." Elsewhere we read
that Joseph was a "lucky fellow" and that pharaoh's "jolly captains" drown in
the red sea. Not only was this an English Old Testament, the volume was small
enough to fit in a pocket; anyone could carry and read these books on their
own, without the mediation of the clergy.
A Complete English Bible
By the time of Tyndale's death, a version of the complete Bible, in English and
drawing largely on Tyndale's work, was being circulated. This Bible was the
work of Miles Coverdale, an Augustinian friar who left his order under the
influence of the Reformation movement and sought safety on the continent.
There, he worked as Tyndale's assistant and proof reader before returning to
England in 1535. For much of the rest of his life, he alternated between periods
of English residence and exile, escaping death under Mary Tudor only because
of the intervention of the King of Denmark, but finally settling in England
permanently in 1559.
Coverdale's Bible was printed in 1535 and imported into England, a dedication
to the Henry VIII being added to the imported copies. Henry had earlier
directed Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, to produce an English Bible.
When Coverdale's Bible appeared, the clergy reviewed it for heresy and,
finding none, recommended it to Henry, who approved its circulation. Unlike
Tyndale, Coverdale was unable to work from the original Hebrew and Greek.
Instead he created his version by consulting German and Latin translations. He
clearly also consulted Tyndale's translations: his Old Testament relies on
Tyndale's work for those books
Tyndale had published before his imprisonment and his New Testament is
essentially Tyndale's with some revision based on other tests. Coverdale never
identified himself with Lutheranism to the extent Tyndale did; because of this
his work met with greater acceptance, even among a court that, while no longer
Catholic, was strongly anti-Lutheran. Its acceptance was due at least in part to
the patronage of Anne Boleyn.
Soon after Coverdale's Bible was printed, a version known as "Matthew's
Bible" appeared. Again owing a great debt to Tyndaleand probably edited by
his assistant John Rogers using the pseudonym Thomas Matthew, this 1537
edition was licensed by the king.
A 1537 edition of Coverdale's Bible, printed in England (the first complete
Bible to be printed there) also received the king's license. The Great Bible of
1539, claimed to be the product of the efforts of diverse scholars, is essentially
Coverdale's revision of Matthew's Bible (which was principally a revision of
Tyndale's work). The Great Bible became the official Bible of the Church of
England and in 1543, Parliament banned Tyndale's translation. Ironically, this
act also forbade any unlicensed person to read the Bible or explain it to others
publicly and for the lower classes to read it privately. In 1546, Henry explicitly
banned both Tyndale's and Coverdale's versions, despite the fact that the Great
Bible combined the work of both men.
Controversies concerning Biblical translation continued through the reigns of
Edward VI, Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I. After the conservative reaction at the
end of Henry's reign, the Reformation movement flourished under Edward,
only to be suppressed again under Mary Tudor. Some closely associated with
the work of Biblical translation, including John Rogers and Thomas Cranmer,
were executed; others, including Coverdale, fled the continent. The Great Bible,
however, remained the official English Bible during these years, but when
Elizabeth I ordered that each parish church should have a copy of the Bible in
English a new version was available. First printed in 1560, the Geneva Bible,
produced by a group of English exiles in Geneva and strongly influenced by
John Calvin, quickly became the most widely used English Bible.
The Geneva Bible was again a revision of the Great Bible and thus highly
dependent on Tyndale's work. For the first time, however, those books of the
Old Testament that Tyndale had not translated were revised with attention to the
Hebrew originals. The Geneva Bible contained extensive notes, many of them
strongly Calvinist in content. In reaction to this Calvinist bias, a group of
English bishops, under the direction of Matthew Parker, revised once again the
Great Bible, producing a version, published in 1568, that eliminated any
offensive notes, but it never gained widespread popularity.
The Authorized Version of 1611
After James I became king in 1603, a conference of churchmen recommended
that a new translation of the Bible be created, without any marginal notes, for
use in the services of the Church of England. James, who particularly disliked
the Geneva Bible, welcomed the proposal and supervised the organization of
the project. Six panels of forty-seven men, including most of the leading
Biblical scholars of the time, divided the work of the initial translation. The
resulting draft was then submitted to a smaller group, including representatives
from each panel, for review; the resulting text was printed in 1611. The
translators agreed upon rules that may have been drawn up by James himself:
the Bishop's Bible was to serve as the basis for the new version; the most
commonly used version of proper names was to be used; the old version of
disputed words was to be used ("church" instead of "congregation"); marginal
notes would be used only to explain Greek or Hebrew words or to point to
parallel passages; existing chapter and verse division would be kept but new
headings would be created for the chapters. Although commonly called the
Authorized Version, it was never officially authorized by either church or state.
James's active participation in its creation, however, did much to recommend it
and this version, popularly known in the United States as the King James
version, became the most widely used Protestant English Bible.
The Douai Bible
The development of an English Bible was not entirely a Protestant undertaking.
At the same time that English exiles in cities such as Antwerp and Geneva
worked on a Protestant Bible, another group of exiles in northern France
worked on a Catholic Bible. The English College at Douai was founded in 1568
by William Allen, moved to Rheims in 1578 and back to Douai five years later.
During the time it was located in Rheims one of its professors, Gregory Martin,
produced a Bible in English, translated from the Latin Vulgate. The New
Testament was published in Rheims in 1582 and the Old Testament in Douai in
1609-10. Together these books form the Douai Bible, the principal English
Catholic Bible until the creation of the Jerusalem Bible in the mid-twentieth
century.

TIRÉ DE: The Bible in English: A brief history
by Kathleen Campbell

 


 

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