The “Authorized” Version of 1611 -- By: H. C. Hoskier

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 068:272 (Oct 1911)
Article: The “Authorized” Version of 1611
Author: H. C. Hoskier


The “Authorized” Version of 1611

H. C. Hoskier

Owing to the three hundredth anniversary of the issue of King- James’s Version, there has been talk in some quarters, and writing in others, of the desirableness of a new revision; for it seems to be admitted on all sides to-day that the Revision of 1881 was unfortunate and overzealous,’ and indulged in a finality of judgment for which we were not prepared.

I desire to lift my voice against any revision at the present time. I feel that this cannot be successfully handled to-day. One man might do it tentatively, and do it rather happily, but no one person could be entrusted with this great undertaking; and a body of men would not (I fear) produce the results looked for. We are not far enough away from the scene of the attempt in 1870–81.

Since then, it is true that we have increased very considerably our critical materials. We have discovered Old Syriac versions and edited them; we have reedited the Peshitta; we have found the Diatessaron in Arabic; we are reediting important Latin texts; we have edited our Bohairic MSS., and Balestri has furnished us with an edition of some Sahidic MSS. [Mr. Horner has reedited sah this year as to the Gospels.] We have also unearthed considerable fragments from Oxyrynchus (besides the Old Testament papyri at Elephantine), and we have recovered the Didache and the Apology of Aristides.

But we still lack the Diatessaron in the original Syriac

(which may easily turn up), Mr. Horner has not yet given us the complete edition of the Sahidic Version, and we know not what extraordinary papyri may underlie Herculaneum. Meanwhile other documents are reaching us, and one very interesting and important Greek fifth-century document is to hand, and is being edited by Professor Sanders, of the University of Michigan. So that our materials continue to grow, and many workers, as Dr. Souter and E. S. Buchanan, with White, Youngman, de Bruyne, and others, are giving up their lives to an examination of important Latin documents.

But what of our critical methods?

The trouble as to this is that we have not yet succeeded in agreeing upon a scientific working basis. Canon Cook’s indictment of the methods of the Revisers, Dean Burgon’s exposition of some of the fallacious reasoning of Dr. Hort, and the other strictures of less well-known but equally well-equipped churchmen, all stand to-day. Yet it is but slowly that modern scholars are freeing themselves from the yoke of a tiny group of fourth-century guides, and are taking a broader view of the matter.

If the body of men selected in ...

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