Trivia Minute May 2, 2016

King James Bible: The Standard Since 1611

by Marcus Michelson
Frontispiece to the King James' Bible, 1611, shows the Twelve Apostles at the top. Moses and Aaron flank the central text. In the four corners sit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, authors of the four gospels, with their symbolic animals. (Image and description via Wikimedia Commons)
Frontispiece to the King James’ Bible, 1611, shows the Twelve Apostles at the top. Moses and Aaron flank the central text. In the four corners sit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, authors of the four gospels, with their symbolic animals.
(Image and description via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1611, the King James Bible was published for the first time.

Here are some things you may not have known about it.

The first known efforts to translate the Bible into English happened in the seventh century. Aldhelm, the Bishop of Sherborne, is said to have translated the Psalms, while The Venerable Bede is said to have translated the Gospel of John. Both of them translated into Old English.

John Wycliffe translated the Bible into Middle English, which was rare for the time, as French was the language of the elite of England and Latin remained the preferred literary language. Wycliffe’s bible was banned in 1409 after he was declared a heretic and his followers were prohibited from owning Bibles, much less translating them.

William Tyndale is credited with being the first to translate the Bible into modern English directly from the original languages. It was also the first English bible to be printed using movable type in 1526. The Gutenberg Bible, which was in Latin, was first printed about 70 years prior. For his efforts, Tyndall was burned at the stake for heresy 10 years after his Bible was published. About four years after he was executed, Tyndall’s Bible was used as the basis for the first authorized English translation used by the Church of England.

In 1604, King James, who was James VI of Scotland and James I of England, began the process for a new translation. Over the course of the next seven years, 47 scholars, working in six committees, produced what has been called one of the most beautiful and scholarly achievements in English literature.

By the 1700s, the King James Version of the Bible became the standard, not only in Anglican churches, but in most English Protestant churches.

The King James Bible is also the source of more than 257 common English idioms and phrases including: “The writing is on the wall,” “woe is me,” “you reap what you sow,” “lord of the flies,” “in the wink of an eye,” “blind leading the blind” and “ a leopard can’t change its spots.”

The King James Bible is also quoted 25,000 times in the Oxford English Dictionary, the most of any source.

Our question: What institution holds the right to publish the King James Bible in the United Kingdom?

Today is Flag Day in Poland, Teachers’ Day in Iran and Bhutan, and National Education Day in Indonesia.

It’s National Brothers and Sisters Day, Great Lakes Awareness Day, International Scurvy Awareness Day and National Play Your Ukulele Day.

It’s the birthday of Russian empress Catherine the Great, who was born in 1729; songwriter Lorenz Hart, born in 1895 and soccer player David Beckham, who is 41 today.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1982, the top song in the U.S. was “I Love Rock ’N Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

The No. 1 movie was “Porky’s,” while the novel “The Parsifal Mosaic” by Robert Ludlum topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations_into_English

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_Bible_translations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_English_Bible_translations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyndale_Bible

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lollardy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_terms_derived_from_the_Bible

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_2

https://www.checkiday.com

http://www.biography.com/people/groups/born-on-may-02

http://www.billboard.com/archive/charts/1982/hot-100

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_1982_box_office_number-one_films_in_the_United_States

http://www.hawes.com/1982/1982-05-02.pdf

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