Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I'm giving a talk at Exeter University on Friday entitled 'Things that might surprise you about the King James Version'. Here is one of them (though given the educational levels of ETC readers it might not surprise everyone): in the original KJV small print (later replaced by italics) was used to represent words not in the original. But then in 1 John 2:23 there is a rather different use, which aligns with the presence of a textual variant and the whole phrase 'but he that acknowledgeth the Sonne, hath the Father also' is in small print. One interpretation could be that they were indicating that the words in small print should be 'in, but with doubt'. Obviously the translators were aware that they were going against Tyndale, the Matthews Bible, Geneva Bible, etc. But could it be that they wanted to ensure the reading they wanted (i.e. the longer reading) got in, but without the political rumpus of a change to the text? Ultimately they could have been seen to be making a claim about the meaning of the text rather than about the original wording. Can anyone adduce further considerations to guide our interpretation of this?
Posted by P.J. Williams at 9:26 pm