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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

Modern Translations

Stanley E. Porter

Introduction

Translation of the Bible into English has taken two major turns. The first was the rise of vernacular translations that in some ways anticipated but also encouraged and supported events surrounding the Reformation. Not only did this result in such monumental linguistic accomplishments as Luther's German translation, which in effect ‘invented’ modern German (1522), but there were a number of important English translations as well. English translations of this time include those of Tyndale (1526), Coverdale (1535), Rogers (who used the name Matthew) and who completed Tyndale's Bible (1537), the Great Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1560), and Bishops' Bible (1568). These English versions were drawn on in various ways, especially Tyndale's, in publication of the Authorized Version (or King James Bible) of 1611. The enduring effect of this monument of English translation is far from past, as the survey below indicates. The second major turn in translation of the Bible into English occurred in the last few years leading up to the turn of the nineteenth century, with publication of the English Revised Version and the American Standard Version (see below). Since that time, there has been a veritable avalanche of translations of the Bible into English (both British and American) versions, with well over 115 different versions of the Old and New Testaments produced, according to one reckoning. The history of this Bible translating, and resultant publishing industry (with millions of copies sold), is a story in itself that merits brief recounting. However, perhaps equally if not more important are the issues regarding translation of the Bible that such industry has raised.

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Oxford University Press

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