Jacobus A. Naudé, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé


This article examines how the translators of the King James Bible (1611) appropriated
much of the wording from the prior tradition of the Bible in English
(especially the Tyndale New Testament of 1526, the Coverdale Bible of 1535, the
Matthew’s Bible of 1537, the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1539, and the
Bishops’ Bible of 1568), but also diverged from that tradition in specific ways and
for specific purposes. Furthermore, by analyzing a selection of the marginal notes, it
will be shown how they were constructed to serve as subtle but powerful tools for
mediating between conflicting theological views and uniting religious parties
around a single English Bible. The King James Version translators accepted only a
small fraction of the marginal notes that were used in some previous English
translations. By utilising a technique of keeping silent about contemporary issues
and instead focusing on the basic principles of translation, the King James Version
translators used the metatextual marginal notes to regulate the reader’s mental
preparation for a translation which diverges from the accepted sectarian
interpretations in order to ensure that broader, non-sectarian interpretations will be
considered orthodox. In this respect, the King James translation adopted a stance
toward both metatext and translation strategy that was diametrically opposed to that
of the Geneva Bible, even though much of the specific wording of the King James
Version was drawn from the Geneva Bible

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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