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?
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