over, first with warm water, finally with brandy, then

We need not seek more instances. These are enough to illustrate the saying that here is an honest version, the fruit of the best scholarship of the times, without prejudice.

over, first with warm water, finally with brandy, then

II. A second trait of the work as a version is its remarkable accuracy. It is surprising that with all the new light coming from early documents, with all the new discoveries that have been made. the latest revision needed to make so few changes, and those for the most part minor ones. There are, to be sure, some important changes, as we shall see later; the wonder is that there are not many more. The King James version had, to be sure, the benefit of all the earlier controversy. The whole ground had been really fought over in the centuries before, and most of the questions had been discussed. They frankly made use of all the earlier controversy. They say in their preface: "Truly, good Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better. That hath been our endeavor, that our work." Also, they had the advantage of deliberation. This was the first version that had been made which had such sanction that they could take their time, and in which they had no reason to fear that the results would endanger them. They say in their preface that they had not run over their work with that "posting haste" that had marked the Septuagint, if the saying was true that they did it all in seventy-two days; nor were they "barred and hindered from going over it again," as Jerome himself said he had been, since as soon as he wrote any part "it was snatched away from him and published"; nor were they "working in a new field," as Origen was when he wrote his first commentary on the Bible. Both these things--their taking advantage of earlier controversies which had cleared many differences, and their deliberation--were supplemented by a third which gave great accuracy to the version. That was their adoption of the principle of all early translators, perhaps worded best by Purvey, who completed the Wiclif version: "The best translation is to translate after the sentence, and not only after the words, so that the sentence be as open in English as in Latin." That makes for accuracy. It is quite impossible to put any language over, word for word, into another without great inaccuracy. But when the translators sought to take the sentence of the Hebrew or the Greek and put it into an exactly equivalent English sentence, they had larger play for their language and they had a fairer field for accuracy. These were the three great facts which made the remarkable accuracy possible, and it may be interesting to note three corresponding results which show the effort they made to be absolutely accurate and fair in their translation.

over, first with warm water, finally with brandy, then

The first of those results is visible in the italicized words which they used. In the King James version words in italics are a frank acknowledgment that the Greek or the Hebrew cannot be put into English literally. These are English words which are put in because it seems impossible to express the meaning originally intended without certain additions which the reader must take into account in his understanding of the version. We need not think far to see how necessary that was. The arrangement of words in Greek, for example, is different from that in English. The Greek of the first verse of the Gospel of John reads that "God was the Word," but the English makes its sentences in a reversed form, and it really means, "the Word was God." So the Greek uses particles where the English does not. Often it would say "the God" where we would say simply "God." Those particles are ordinarily wisely omitted. So the Greek does not use verbs at some points where it is quite essential that the English shall use them. But it is only fair that in reading a version of the Scripture we should know what words have been put in by translators in their effort to make the version clear to us; and the italicized words of the King James version are a frank effort to be accurate and yet fair.

over, first with warm water, finally with brandy, then

The second result which shows their effort at accuracy is in the marginal readings. Most of these are optional readings, and are preceded by the word "or," which indicates that one may read what is in the text, or substitute for it what is in the margin with equal fairness to the original. But sometimes, instead of that familiar "or," occur letters which indicate that the Hebrew or the Greek literally means something else than what is given in the English text, and what it literally means is given in the margin. The translators thereby say to the reader that if he can take that literal meaning and put it into the text so that it is intelligible to him, here is his chance. As for them, they think that the whole context or meaning of the sentence rather involves the use of the phrase which they put into the text. But the marginal references are of great interest to most of us as showing how these men were frank to say that there were some things they could not settle. They were rather blamed for it, chiefly by those who had committed themselves to the Douai version, which has no marginal readings, on the ground that the translation ought to be as authoritative as the original. The King James translators repudiate that theory and frankly say that the reason they put these words in the margin was because they were not sure what was the best reading. In the margin of the epistle to the Romans there are eighty- four such marginal readings, and the proportion will hold throughout most of the version. They were only trying to be accurate and to give every one a chance to make up his own mind where there was fair reason to question their results.

The third thing which shows their effort at accuracy is their explicit avoidance of uniformity in translating the same word. They tried to put the meaning into English terms. So, as they say, the one word might become either "journeying" or "traveling"; one word might be "thinking" or "supposing," "joy" or "gladness," "eternal" or "everlasting." One of the reasons they give for this is quaint enough to quote. They said they did not think it right to honor some words by giving them a place forever in the Bible, while they virtually said to other equally good words: Get ye hence and be banished forever. They quote a "certaine great philosopher" who said that those logs were happy which became images and were worshiped, while, other logs as good as they were laid behind the fire to be burned. So they sought to use as many English words, familiar in speech and commonly understood, as they might, lest they should impoverish the language, and so lose out of use good words. There is no doubt that in this effort both to save the language, and to represent accurately the meaning of the original, they sometimes overdid that avoidance of uniformity. There were times when it would have been well if the words had been more consistently translated. For example, in the epistle of James ii: 2, 3, you have goodly "apparel," vile "raiment," and gay "clothing," all translating one Greek word. Our revised versions have sought to correct such inconsistencies. But it was all done in the interest of an accuracy that should yet not be a slavish uniformity.

This will be enough to illustrate what was meant in speaking of the effort of the translators to achieve accuracy in their version.

III. The third marked trait of the work as a version of the Scripture is its striking blending of dignity and popularity in its language. At any period of a living language, there are three levels of speech. There is an upper level used by the clearest thinkers and most careful writers, always correct according to the laws of the language, generally somewhat remote from common life--the habitual speech of the more intellectual. There is also the lower level used by the least intellectual, frequently incorrect according to the laws of the language, rough, containing what we now call "slang," the talk of a knot of men on the street corner waiting for a new bulletin of a ball game, cheap in words, impoverished in synonyms, using one word to express any number of ideas, as slang always does. Those two levels are really farther apart than we are apt to realize. A book or an article on the upper level will be uninteresting and unintelligible to the people on the lower level. And a book in the language of the lower level is offensive and disgusting to those of the upper level. That is not because the ideas are so remote, but because the characteristic expressions are almost unfamiliar to the people of the different levels. The more thoughtful people read the abler journals of the day; they read the editorials or the more extended articles; they read also the great literature. If they take up the sporting page of a newspaper to read the account of a ball game written in the style of the lower level of thought, where words are misused in disregard of the laws of the language, and where one word is made to do duty for a great many ideas, they do it solely for amusement. They could never think of finding their mental stimulus in that sort of thing. On the other hand, there are people who find in that kind of reading their real interest. If they should take up a thoughtful editorial or a book of essays, they would not know what the words mean in the connection in which they are used. They speak a good deal about the vividness of this lower-level language, about its popularity; they speak with a sneer about the stiffness and dignity of that upper level.

These are, however, only the two extremes, for there is always a middle level where move words common to both, where are avoided the words peculiar to each. It is the language that most people speak. It is the language of the street, and also of the study, of the parlor, and of the shop. But it has little that is peculiar to either of those other levels, or to any one place where a man may live his life and do his talking. If we illustrate from other literature, we can say that Macaulay's essays move on the upper level, and that much of the so-called popular literature of our day moves on the lower level, while Dickens moves on the middle level, which means that men whose habitual language is that of the upper and the lower levels can both enter into the spirit of his writing.

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