Image via Wikipedia2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, also known as the Authorised Version. This historic translation published in 1611 has made an exceptional contribution to the life of the Church and to the language and culture of English speaking nations in general. Arguably it was this English text that set the path for the development of our language and has exercised a cultural influence far beyond the works of Shakespeare.
Events are being planned in England in 2011 to help celebrate this anniversary. A General Synod motion passed last February asked that “dioceses, deaneries and parishes undertake local initiatives to celebrate and teach the Bible both within the Church and throughout wider society”. I encourage churches in our diocese to find ways to join in the celebrations. Perhaps at the very least there might be planned a service of Evensong with the readings from the Authorised King James Version.
Some may not be aware of an historical link between the KJV of the Bible and one of the parishes of this diocese in Europe. The translators who met in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey to go about their work from 1604 to 1611 borrowed much from the text of pioneering translator William Tyndale. Tyndale (1494-1536), a priest of the Church of England, produced the first English translation directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. Many of the great phrases in common use in modern English are from Tyndale’s pen which then passed into the Authorised Version. Such expressions as:
My brother’s keeper (Genesis 4.9)It was while Tyndale was living in Antwerp in 1534 that he published his translation of the New Testament. Antwerp, then, has its place in the history of the English Bible. Our present parish of St Boniface continues to serve the English speaking community in Antwerp where there has been an English priest and congregation since before the Reformation!
Wit's end (Psalm 107.27)
Skin of my teeth (Job 19.20)
Signs of the times (St Matthew 16.3)
There is a website devoted to 400th anniversary of the KJV here.
For information about the parish of St Boniface Antwerp, you can visit their website here. The chaplain of St Boniface is the Revd Andrew Wagstaff and the parish deacon is the Revd Ann Babb.