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Discrepancies in the AV?

by
26 July 2013

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Why are there discrepancies between the text of the Authorised Version which I read at home, published by Collins under licence from the Lord Advocate, and the text that I read from the lectern at evensong in my London parish church, published by Cambridge University Press? For example, whereas the Collins text has Moses entering the Tabernacle, the CUP text has him entering the tent of the meeting. In a passage about Cain, the Collins Bible refers to a "vagabond", but the CUP refers to a "wanderer". I assume there was no difference in the texts first issued in England or Scotland. Who made the small emendations, why, and when? The Collins text seems more archaic and, therefore, probably closer to the original.

A quick reference to Exodus 33 and Genesis 4 suggests that the questioner's church uses the Revised Version of 1881 for public reading. The revisers changed as few words as possible. They changed "tabernacle" to "tent" because in their day most people did not know "tabernacle" meant that. That is even more widely true now; Collins dictionary does not even include "tent" as one of the meanings.

The questioner writes about "the original". If that means the Hebrew in which the Old Testament was written, then the questioner thinks that it has to be translated into archaic English. But why stop at the 17th century? Perhaps we should all read the OT in Anglo-Saxon.

Maybe, by "original" the questioner means the Authorised Version or one of its predecessors, such as the Great Bible of 1539. A great deal of scholarship has developed during the four centuries since the publication of the AV in 1611. We now have, as a result, better and more intelligible translations of the Hebrew text. For use at home, he or she might try translations such as the Anglicised New Revised Standard Version, or the Revised English Bible, both published in 1989.

(The Revd) Jeremy Craddock
Hartford, Huntingdon


I suspect that the CUP Bible is in fact the Revised Version, which was a conservative revision of the Authorised Version, based on better underlying Greek and Hebrew texts.

The front matter of the copy of the RV that I have reads: "Trans-lated out of the original tongues: being the version set forth A.D. 1611 compared with the most ancient authorities and revised" (my emphasis).

The differences that he notes are apparent in my copies of the RV and AV.

(The Revd) James Richards
Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria


Your questions

When visiting my brother in Suffolk, we discovered an unusual situation at the village church, where the new vicar had removed the eucharist every first Sunday in the month, and replaced it with an informal "Family/Children's Service". Among those who were distressed about this move was a retired priest with permission to officiate, who normally sat in the congregation. He "let it be known" that on those first Sundays he would celebrate the eucharist at the same time in his lounge, and invited others to join him. As the Sunday eucharist is central to our lives, we went along, and discovered 15 people there - mostly refugees from the parish church, but three new Christians, including a teenage lad who was preparing for baptism. The locals say that this house church is livelier than the parish church, and there is now to be a eucharist there on feast days that are no longer observed in the parish church. The vicar knows what is happening, but refuses to comment. In some ways it was all very wonderful, but is this not an illegal "church-plant"? J. R.

With the departure of Bishop John Ford down under, there are now [5 July], apart from the two suffragan sees in abeyance, a total of 19 episcopal vacancies (eight diocesan, one provincial episcopal visitor, and ten suffragan) in the two English provinces. Have there ever been this great a number? And, more important, why so many? R. W. C.

What is the significance, when ringing the Angelus bell, of ringing three sets of three and then a nine? Why that pattern? B. B.

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