home sciencetext

a moment the changed temper of the audience declared itself

science 2023-12-06 19:58:01997566

Naming one other English version will complete the series of facts necessary for the consideration of the forming of the King James version. It will be remembered that all the English versions of the Bible thus far mentioned were the work of men either already out of favor with the Roman pontiff, or speedily put out of favor on that account. Thirty years after his death; Wiclif's bones were taken up and burned; Tindale was burned. Coverdale's version and the Great Bible were the product of the period when Henry VIII. was under the ban. The Genevan Bible was the work of refugees, and the Bishops' Bible was prepared when Elizabeth had been excommunicated. That fact seemed to many loyal Roman churchmen to put the Church in a false light. It must be made clear that its opposition was not to the Bible, not even to popular use and possession of the Bible, but only to unauthorized, even incorrect, versions. So there came about the Douai version, instigated by Gregory Martin, and prepared in some sense as an answer to the Genevan version and its strongly anti-papal notes. It was the work of English scholars connected with the University of Douai. The New Testament was issued at Rheims in 1582, and the whole Bible in 1609, just before our King James version. It is made, not from the Hebrew and the Greek, though it refers to both, but from the Vulgate. The result is that the Old Testament of the Douai version is a translation into English from the Latin, which in large part is a translation into Latin from the Greek Septuagint, which in turn is a translation into Greek from the Hebrew. Yet scholars are scholars, and it shows marked influence of the Genevan version, and, indeed, of other English versions. Its notes were strongly anti-Protestant, and in its preface it explains its existence by saying that Protestants have been guilty of "casting the holy to dogs and pearls to hogs."

a moment the changed temper of the audience declared itself

The version is not in the direct line of the ascent of the familiar version, and needs no elaborate description. Its purpose was controversial; it did not go to available sources; its English was not colloquial, but ecclesiastical. For example, in the Lord's Prayer we read: "Give us this day our supersubstantial bread," instead of "our daily bread." In Hebrews xiii: 17, the version reads, "Obey your prelates and be subject unto them." In Luke iii:3, John came "preaching the baptism of penance." In Psalm xxiii:5, where we read, "My cup runneth over," the Douai version reads, "My chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly it is." There is a careful retention of ecclesiastical terms, and an explanation of the passages on which Protestants had come to differ rather sharply from their Roman brethren, as in the matter of the taking of the cup by the people, and elsewhere.

a moment the changed temper of the audience declared itself

Yet it is only fair to remember that this much answer was made to the versions which were preparing the way for the greatest version of them all, and when the time came for the making of that version, and the helps were gathered together, the Douai was frankly placed among them. It is a peculiar irony of fate that while the purpose of Gregory Martin was to check the translation of the Bible by the Protestants, the only effect of his work was to advance and improve that translation.

a moment the changed temper of the audience declared itself

At last, as we shall see in our next study, the way was cleared for a free and open setting of the Bible into English. The way had been beset with struggle, marked with blood, lighted by martyr fires. Wiclif and Purvey, Tindale and Coverdale, the refugees at Geneva and the Bishops at London, all had trod that way. Kings had fought them or had favored them; it was all one; they had gone on. Loyal zest for their Book and loving zeal for the common people had held them to the path. Now it had become a highway open to all men. And right worthy were the feet which were soon treading it.


EARLY in January, 1604, men were making their way along the poor English highways, by coach and carrier, to the Hampton Court Palace of the new English king. They were coming from the cathedral towns, from the universities, from the larger cities. Many were Church dignitaries, many were scholars, some were Puritans, all were loyal Englishmen, and they were gathering in response to a call for a conference with the king, James I. They were divided in sentiment, these men, and those who hoped most from the conference were doomed to complete disappointment. Not one among them, not the King, had the slightest purpose that the conference should do what proved to be its only real service. Some of the men, grave and earnest, were coming to present their petitions to the King, others were coming to oppose their petitions; the King meant to deny them and to harry the petitioners. And everything came out as it had been planned. Yet the largest service of the conference, the only real service, was in no one's mind, for it was at Hampton Court, on the last day of the conference between James and the churchmen, January 18, 1604, that the first formal step was taken toward the making of the so-called Authorized Version of the English Bible. If there are such things as accidents, this great enterprise began in an accident. But the outcome of the accident, the volume that resulted, is "allowed by all competent authorities to be the first, [that is, the chief] English classic," if our Professor Cook, of Yale, may speak; "is universally accepted as a literary masterpiece, as the noblest and most beautiful Book in the world, which has exercised an incalculable influence upon religion, upon manners, upon literature, and upon character," if the Balliol College scholar Hoare can be trusted; and has "made the English language," if Professor March is right. The purpose of this study is to show how that accident occurred, and what immediately came from it.

With the death of Elizabeth the Tudor line of sovereigns died out. The collateral Stuart line, descending directly from Henry VII., naturally succeeded to the throne, and James VI. of Scotland made his royal progress to the English capital and became James I. of England. In him appears the first of that Stuart line during whose reign great changes were to occur. Every one in the line held strongly to the dogma of the divine right of kings, yet under that line the English people transferred sovereignty from the king to Parliament.[1] Fortunately for history, and for the progress of popular government, the Stuart line had no forceful figures in it. Macaulay thinks it would have been fatal to English liberty if they had been able kings. It was easier to take so dangerous a weapon as the divine right of kings from weak hands than from strong ones. So it was that though James came out of Scotland to assert his divine and arbitrary right as sovereign, by the time Queen Anne died, closing the Stuart line and giving way to the Hanoverian, the real sovereignty had passed into the hands of Parliament.

[1] Trevelyan, England Under the Stuarts.

Copyright Notice

he website materials are all from the internet. If there are any infringement issues, please contact us and delete them immediately after verification!