Posts Tagged ‘King James’ Bible’

Vinegar Bible

September 13, 2014
Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

The Parable of the Vinegar

The Parable of the Vinegar

Vinegar Bible

Vinegar Bible

On show in Farnham Parish Church during their church fête their Vinegar Bible, the first time, I was told, in twenty years.

So called because of the misprint of Vinegar for Vineyard though it could equally have been a mistranslation.

This is a King James Bible printed by John Baskett in Oxford in 1717.

The copy held by Farnham Parish Church has been spilt and rebound as two volumes.

This is one of only twelve known copies.

The Vinegar Bible was presented to Farnham in 1739 by Arthur Onslow, speaker of the House of Commons from 1727 to 1761.

John Baskett was printer to King George II and to the University of Oxford between 1711 until his death in 1742. He was responsible for printing many fine books. However his name is remembered above all for his 1717 printing of the King James’ Bible. His edition, which contains many neo-classical engravings by James Thornhill and Michael van der Gucht, should have been one of the highlights of his career, but so many printing mistakes were made that people referred to his Bible as a “Baskett-ful of errors”.

Choral evensong Surrey Cantata at Holy Trinity

October 3, 2011

St Therese’s day mass: priest calls Jesus “Master of Vineyard” (Maitre de la Vigne). Great definition, never heard that before. — Paulo Coelho

Choral evensong at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford sung by Surrey Cantata, directed by Prof Sebastian Forbes.

Music by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), William Byrd (1540-1623). The music was chosen to be that of the period 400 years ago.

Listening to the music I wondered what did the people of the time make of it and music by J S Bach, Vivaldi. Most would have been illiterate, their only source of information the sermons, the lessons and the stained glass windows.

Bibles, such as King James and earlier versions, were just becoming available.

A very interesting sermon by the Rector, Canon Robert Cotton.

He studied maths and philosophy at Merton College, Oxford. The college chapel has 13th century stained glass windows and a monument to one of the translators of the King James Bible, but his atributes are those of a scientist, not as translator and contributor to King James Bible.

This is a curious fact of all the monuments to those who contributed to the King James Bible, with one notable exception, a humble parish priest whose monument pays tribute to his ability as a linguist.

Archbishop George Abbot, one of the contributors to the King James Bible is entombed within Holy Trinity.

Choral evensong with Surrey Cantata was part of a day of celebrations of the four hundreth anniversary of the King James Bible.

The afternoon started with a talk by Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University on medieval translations of the Bible before King James.

Medieval translations of the Bible before King James
Beautiful sung evensong

Medieval translations of the Bible before King James

October 1, 2011

St Therese’s day mass: priest calls Jesus “Master of Vineyard” (Maitre de la Vigne). Great definition, never heard that before. — Paulo Coelho

Crist seith that the gospel be prechid in al the world … Holi writ is the scripture of pupilis for it is maad that alle pupils shulden knowe it. — John Wycliffe

The first known reference outside of the Latin is the 10th Century Book of Exeter, a collection of riddles at Exeter Cathedral.

One of the riddles is a clear reference to the Bible, how to make, the power of the word of God.

That there is a reference to the Bible shows it must have been familiar as a book, albeit in Latin.

We have Old English, Anglo-Saxon texts, fragments.

As recorded by Cuthbert, the Venerable Bede spent his dying days translating the Gospel of John. He also translated the Crede and the Lord’s Prayer. He wrote commentary on Mark (or was it Mathew) and Luke.

William Tyndale makes reference to an early Bible pre-Norman Conquest, but no evidence has been found of it.

Later criticisms were that it was to translate the Bible into a barbarian tongue. At the time of Bede to translate the Bible was not seen as wrong.

Early translations were circulated in the form of manuscripts, printing had yet to be invented.

Bede saw the English as chosen people in God’s sight. 150 years later, the English language was seen as a unifying force for the Kingdom of Wessex.

King Alfred saw learning as important. Clergy had books but could not read them. He saw it as important that the people should have the word of God in their own language, that the Latin should be translated to English. Israel had the word in Hebrew, the Greeks in Greek, Romans in Latin, therefore why not the English in English?

Tyndale said the early Church Fathers had the Bible in their own language, why therefore not the English.

Alfred had the following translated: Bede’s History, Psalms to which he added commentary and an introduction, parts of Exodus.

Alfred was a pious man, he saw himself as a descendant of King David.

The grandson of Alfred, the first King of England, supported the church.

Later writers refer to a Bible written under the grandson of Alfred, but there is no evidence of this.

He surrounded himself with scholars. Fragments were translated.

No one saw a problem with the Bible being available to the masses, but there was seen the need for explanation, not something for them to read on their own.

The Bible was too strong a wine to be drank undiluted.

One of the main problems was the ignorance of the clergy.

Before the Norman Conquest only fragments of the Bible were translated.

Later, Old English translations were difficult to read, would often be reproduced into with a parallel translation.

Fragments of the Bible in Anglo-Norman French.

Post Norman Conquest there is growing opposition to the Bible being made available to the common masses.

c 1300 Wycliffe’s Bible. It was burnt! Must have been many manuscript copies as 150 manuscripts have survived.

1526 William Tyndale incurred the wrath of the church. He escaped to northern Europe, was tracked down, strangled and burnt at the stake.

Archbishop Thomas Arundel called John Wycliffe a pestilence for making the Bible available to laymen, even worse to women! The Bible was to be trodden underfoot by swine.

It was now an offence to be in possession of a Bible in English, even a single manuscript sheet could result in death by burning.

To those who believed in making the word of God available to the common man, the word of God on the page was seen as superior to the word of God from the lips of a priest.

The Bibles in circulation immediately preceding King James were translations from Greek, not from Vulgate Latin.

Tyndale has contributed about 90% of what is the King James Bible.

Tyndale was forced to flee to northern Europe, only to be captured, strangled and burnt as a heretic.

Tyndale argued passionately for the Bible to be made available to the common man. He was critical of the clergy for their ignorance. Many of our common expression come from Tyndale

let there be light
an eye for an eye
seek and ye shall find
am I my brother’s keeper

Tyndale had a ear for the English language. He believed English was closer to Hebrew than Latin.

King James is written to be read aloud. A Bible in every church, in every home.

Based on a talk by Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University, at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. Part of a day of celebrebrations to mark the four hundreth anniversary of the King James Bible.

Choral evensong Surrey Cantata at Holy Trinity
King James Bible

George Abbot

July 20, 2011
George Abbot

George Abbot

George Abbot (1562-1633), Archbishop of Canterbury, founder of Abbot’s Hospital (an almshouse), translator of the King James Bible.

Little has been written of George Abbot: three books, a PhD theses and an article in a learned journal. He wrote more, than has been written about him.

Tudor Guildford c 1617 consisted of a High Street, houses lining the High Street, three churches and a medieval bridge crossing the river. [see George Abbot’s Guildford]

Summer of 1652 (or so the myth goes), Alice (who was carrying George) had a longing for pike. She also had a dream that if she ate pike her son would grow to become a great man.

The Abbot’s lived in a house by the river (a picture of which can be found in Abbot’s Hospital) adjacent to the medieval bridge.

The morning following her dream, Alice cast her pail into the River Wey to draw water. Into her pail lept a pike.

On hearing of the tale, people offered to be sponsors of the child at the baptismal which took place at St Nicolas Church. His God parents sponsored him through school and university.

George attended the Royal Grammar School at the top of the High Street, then Oxford.

Was it George? There were six sons of Alice and Maurice.

Robert Abbot went on to become Bishop of Salisbury.

Maurice Abbot (named after his father) was a founder of the East India Company, Alderman, then Sherrif and finally Lord Mayor of London.

The family grew up in a time of religious upheaval. Marice was a local clothier.

A memorial to Maurice and Alice can be found in Holy Trinity Church. Centrepiece of the memorial is a lectern with what is assumed to be a Bible.

This was strange time. During this period Guildford produced five bishops!

John Parkhurst studied the Coverdale Bible and Tyndale Bible, even though banned at the time. For a while he was exiled to Zurich. He was Bishop of Norwich. On his death, his library was bequethed to Guildford and housed at the Royal Grammar School. His library contained many radical books. These would have been seen and read by George Abbot as he was a pupil at the school at the time.

The labels we apply today did not apply at the time, but if we were to apply labels, then George Abbot was a Calvanist and a Puritan. He was never a parish priest but believed in Bishops. He was primarily an academic.

He wrote Briefe Description of the Whole Worlde. This has recently been republished with the Master of Abbot’s Hospital as editor.

He gave 30 lectures on the Book of Jonah, these were then published in 1600 as Expostion on the Prophet Jonah.

George Abbot became Master of an Oxford College, Dean of Westminster.

He had as patron Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset.

It was during this time that he engaged in a bitter feud with William Laud, who he tried to stop getting a Mastership of an Oxford College. It was a bitter feud that was to last a lifetime.

George Abbot believed in predestination, that is only the elect go to heaven, the rest go to hell.

He acquired a new patron George Home, Earl of Dunbar. Chancellor of the Exchequer and a man who had the ear of James I.

George Abbot and the Earl of Dunbar put the case for Bishops in Scotland.

1609 appointed as Bishop of Coventry.

1610 appointed as Bishop of London.

Lancelot Andrewes was expected to be appointed as the next Archsbishop of Canterbury, but to the surpise of everyone, James I (acting on the advice of Dunbar) appointed George Abbot.

It was not a popular choice. The Puritans suspected him, the Catholics (with good cause) hated him. The Bishops did not like it, neither did the clergy.

George Abbot was enthroned as Archbishop in 1611, the same year that saw the publication of the King James Bible.

Six companies, two in London, two in Cambridge, two in Cambridge were appointed by James 1 to produce a new Bible. George Abbot was a member of the Oxford company.

As Archbishop, George Abbot set up a network of spies and informers. He hunted down Catholics. Catholic priests were executed.

March 1612 the last burning of a priest for heresy.

George Abbot opposed marriages to Catholics. This angered the King and eventually led to a rift between George Abbot and James I.

He opposed the marriage of Prince Charles to a Catholic.

There was no warmth between George Abbot and Charles I.

George Abbot refused to licence a sermon that proposed more money should go to the King.

Ironically George Abbot was in touch with the mood in the country, but that did not help.

George Abbot was banished to the Manor of Ford in Kent. He was stripped of his authority. His duties were now exercised by William Laud, his lifelong enemy.

1621 George Abbot killed a gamekeeper. It was an accident. James I said no big deal. But he fell foul of Canon Law, thou shalt not kill. It cast a shadow over what was left of his life.

He spent the remainder of his life in Croydon, Archbishop in name only.

He died in Croydon, where his funeral took place. He lies entombed in Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

The legacy of George Abbot was twofold.

Abbot’s Hospital (1619), an almshouse for 24 men and women of Guildford. Five farms were also gifted to provide an income. Adjacent was a Manufactuary to help the ailing wool trade. It had four farms to provide an income. [see George Abbot and Abbot’s Hospital]

George Abbot was one of the translators of the King James Bible. In that role he contributed to the English language memorable phrases.

Turn the world upside down
scales fall from your eyes
no small stir

Was he popular? No. But he would say he listened to his God and that was who he obeyed.

Based on an excellent talk given by Catherine Ferguson at St Nicolas Church in Guildford. Part of the King James Bible Celebrations 2011.

King James Bible

July 13, 2011
King James Bible

King James Bible

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1

The Bible is the best selling book in the English language. The King James Bible (aka Authorised Version) is the best selling edition.

The King James Bible has had huge influence on the English language. To many it is the Bible. Contrary to popular misconception, it was not the first Bible in English.

The Venerable Bede was the first known attempt at a translation into English. Fragments, scribbled commentaries in margins of Latin Bible.

The Bible is a collection of books.

The Old Testament is the history and sacred text of the Jews, mainly written in Hebrew, 4000 to 130 BC. 39 Books.

The New Testament is oral accounts of the life of Jesus, plus the letters Paul wrote to the scattered Christian communities. Written in Greek from around 80AD. 27 books.

St Jerome (382-405 AD) produced a Latin translation known as The Vulgate. It was written in common Latin, ie not the Classical Latin of Julius Caesar.

Is English a suitable language for communication with God?

1380 John Wycliffe translated a Bible into English from The Vulgate. He had to invent many English words. The Bible contains many revolutionary ideas. Suitable reading for peasants? The Wycliffe Bible (1380) directly influenced the Peasants Revolt (1381).

Enough was enough. Archbishop Arundul (1409) made it illegal to translate the Bible into English, illegal to read in English, punishable by death!

In the Dark Ages, the only centres of learning, of Christianity, were the monasteries, few people could read.

The Renaissance brought about radical change. There was an interest in Greek, in Classical texts, a rise in literacy, a desire to translate or at least read the Bible in its original Greek.

An important development took place in Mainz in Germany. Gutenberg was a metalsmith. He devoloped metal movable type. He saw a market in printing the Bible as it would be widely read. And it would be in German to maximise the readership. This led to the Gutenberg Bible (1456).

Erasmus translated the Bible from Greek to Latin. He corrected many of the mistakes of The Vulgate.

Martin Luther, a Calvanist, wanted a German Bible so that the common man could read the Bible.

William Tyndale, a very able linguist, translated the New Testament from Greek to English. This led to the Tyndale Bible, Cologne 1535, first five books of the Old Testament (plus parts) and the New Testament. There was followed by a 1534 edition.

It was still illegal to read or print the Bible in English in England. The Tyndale Bible was heretical. Neverthless copies were smuggled in England and it was very popular. Tyndale was executed in Brussels (1536).

Coverdale Bible (1538) during reign of Henry VIII

By the River Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Sion.

The Great Bible (aka Whitchurch Bible after the printer) was ordered by Henry VIII. Copies to every parish church.

The Geneva Bible (1560) by English Calvanists exiled in Geneva. It introduced chapter and verse and marginal notes. This was the Bible Shakespeare used. Too radical, King translated as tyrant!

Bishops Bible (1568) ordered by Queen Elizabeth I.

This was a time of religious upheaval across Europe.

1530 Dissolution of Monasteries.

1559 Elizabethan Church Settlement.

In Europe the Reformation was religious. Not so in England and that is why it has been so drawn out and is still ongoing.

Henry VIII had two reasons to establish himself as the head of an English Church: Divorce, money to finance foreign wars. Great wealth was acquired by the Crown.

1603 No Pilgrimages. No statues. Service in English. No monasteries. No shrines.

Puritans: authority lies with scripture, not the church.

1603 James I of England.

1604 Hampton Court Conference called to try and resolve some of the religious issues. The Big Idea was let’s have a new Bible! Six companies as they were known were formed, two in Westminster, two in Oxford, two in Cambridge. They were drawn from all sides of the church. The Bishops Bible was to form the base, but also draw upon Tyndale, Coverdale, Great Bible and Geneva Bible.

They went well beyond their brief and went back to the original works in Hebrew and Greek. They also looked at German translations. Two men were allocated to each book. They would translate independently, then compare translations.

The New Testament is written in a Greek dialect koine not Classical Greek.

The work was then revised in 1610, two men from each company under the general direction of Launcelot Andrewes, a scholar and Dean of Westminster. Each person would read out his work, it had to sound good, if no interuptions, it was accepted. The model, the literary style, was the Book of Common Prayer by Cramer.

It should as though God Himself was speaking.

The King James Bible was published in 1611, the same year George Abbot (one of the translators) was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury. It was not an immediate success. It was the English Civil War that made it a success.

By 1700 it was the English Bible. It was to have a huge influence on the English language.

At a time when few could read, few had books, if there was one book in the house it was The Bible.

If there is one thing that gets Evangalists excited it is converting the Heathen. Schools were established, English was taught, the book used was The Bible. Thus English spread around the world.

Many of our modern English idioms are from the King James Bible (or Shakespeare):

East of Eden
how are the mighty fallen
the root of the matter
Set your house in order
Be horribly afraid
Suffer little children
Turned the world upside down
a thorn in the flesh
there were giants in the earth in those days
white as snow
The skin of my teeth
from strength to strength
reap the whirlwind
Many are called but few are chosen
see through a glass darkly
a man after his own heart
rod of iron
be of good cheer
new wine into old bottles
fell by the wayside
eat drink and be merry
den of lions
fly in the ointment
there is nothing new under the sun

Where to now?

Older Greek texts has led to revisions. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi find have provided new information.

The likelihood of a new translation is very low. 50-80 people were involved in the King James Bible. It would not be possible to gather together today that number of scholars with their knowledge. And from where would come the resources for such a project?

Based on an excellent talk given by Catherine Ferguson at St Nicolas Church in Guildford. Part of the King James Bible Celebrations 2011.

– The Book of Books
The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?
The Bible A Biography


July 5, 2011
Bible journals

Bible journals



The complete Bible, chapter and verse, on the walls of a small room, akin to a prison cell, though you need either good eyesight or a magnifying glass to read.

The prison cell is in St Mary’s Church in Guildford (if you can find it open) 4-15 July 2011.

Rev Neil Lambert (rector St Mary’s Ash Vale) gave a talk on Bible-in-a-room at St Mary’s Church on Monday 4 July 2011. It is a pity that Church Warden Mary Alexander who gave a talk on George Abbot the previous week in St Mary’s Church did not see fit to mention Bible-in-a-room or that Catherine Ferguson was giving a talk on the King James Bible nor was there a notice or mention on the church noticeboard.

The idea is to sit in the cell and meditate or find a favourite passage from the Bible.

Neil Lambert was serving excellent pancakes in the church grounds today and will be doing the same next Monday and Tuesday.

Bible-in-a-room is part of Wisdom’s Feast, the theme of Guildford Diocesan Summer School 2011.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

Abbot’s Hospital: Tour and Talk. Marion Peters and Catherine Ferguson. 2pm Tuesday 12 July 2011.

The Bible in Voice and Verse, a celebration of the King James’ Bible. St John’s, Stoke Road, Guildford. 7.45pm Thursday 14 July 2011.

Cultural Day. New Testament Church of God. 2-6pm Sunday 6 August 2011.

George Abbot’s Guildford

June 29, 2011
George Abbot

George Abbot

George Abbot (1562-1633), Archbishop of Canterbury, contributor to the King James Bible, founder of Abbot’s Hospital (an almshouse top end of Guildford High Street opposite Holy Trinity Church) was born and grew up in Guildford where he attended the Royal Grammar School. His father was a local cloth maker.

Maurice Abbot, father of George Abbot, was a clothier (weaver of cloth) from Suffolk, a wealthy local merchant who with fellow clothiers controlled the local wool trade. He was one of the Approved Men who with the Mayor ran the borough. He was married to Alice and they had six sons. The family lived in a house by the River Wey beside the Medieval bridge. The house was demolished in the 1950s and the site is now a public car park between the river and the George Abbot pub.

The Medieval bridge was used by foot passengers, animals and carts used the ford. The medieval bridge no longer exists, was destroyed in a flood. Similar bridges may still be found upstream. The ford can still be seen alongside the current bridge.

When Alice, mother of George, was in child with George she had a dream that if she caught and ate a pike he would be a man of some importance. Robert became Bishop of Salisbury. Maurice named after his father was a wealthy merchant in London, a London Alderman.

Guildford c 1600 was a town of some note, three churches, a friary and a castle. Houses lined the High Street, their large gardens ran back to the town ditch which was the border of the borough. The gardens were used for growing crops and keeping animals. Later cottages for rent were built to house the growing population. It was important to live in a borough as more freedom to trade than if one lived outside in a village. Many of the houses had a medieval undercroft.

Many of the side streets and alleys had the name gate. Why? Could there have been a gate across the entrance?

The Scandinavian gaten is the Scandinavian word for street. Many of the medieval streets in Lincoln end in -gate, for example Flaxengate, Clasketgate. The same can be found in York. This was a corruption of the Scandinavian for street not because they led to a gate in the city wall. But Guildford is too far south to have had a Viking influence. On the other hand, maybe a hint of a hitherto unknown Viking influence?

George Abbot attended the Royal Grammar School, a free school, where he learnt Latin. He then went on to Oxford.

George Abbot was a member of the Oxford group, one of six groups requested by James I to produce what we now know as the King James Bible. George Abbot translated the four Gospels and the Book of Revelations.

Abbot’s Hospital was founded by George Abbot in 1619 for twenty old people of Guildford who have fallen on hard times. He had originally wished to do something to improve trade in Guildford as that would have helped more people. [see George Abbot and Abbot’s Hospital]

George Abbot is entombed in Holy Trinity Church.

Based on a talk given at St Mary’s Church by Mary Alexander (church warden and curator of Guildford Museum) drawing upon material from the local archives. Part of the celebrations in Guildford to mark 400 years of the King James’ Bible.

It is a pity that Mary Alexander who gave the talk on George Abbot did not see fit to mention Bible-in-a-room that was taking place at St Mary’s the following week or that Catherine Ferguson was giving a talk on the King James Bible. For her own talk there was no notice or mention on the church noticeboard, not even a notice pinned to the church door. One gets the impression that talks are part of a secret society for only those in the know.

Guildford Museum has a George Abbot exhibition running all summer. Guildford House has a contemporary George Abbot exhibition. Holy Trinity Church is maintaining a Bible Journal.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

The Bible in Voice and Verse, a celebration of the King James’ Bible. St John’s, Stoke Road, Guildford. 7.45pm Thursday 14 July 2011.

Cultural Day. New Testament Church of God. 2-6pm Sunday 6 August 2011.

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