Monday, May 27, 2013

KJV and archaic terminology, reprise

Back in February I posted on the subject of Archaic Words in the King James Bible. I recently discovered in Logical Criticisms of Textual Criticism that Gordon H. Clark takes on this with his subject. What makes this interesting to me is that (1) Clark is not a KJV partisan, and (2) he approaches the subject from the standpoint of logic. He concludes much as I do that the complaints about archaic words in the King James Bible are largely exaggerated.

Clark says the number of antiquated words are exaggerated:
Advertisers of the several versions castigate the King James for its archaic terminology. True, it contains some antiquated words, though their number is usually exaggerated.
Clark believes many changes are for the sake of change:
The one or two new versions that merely replace an obsolete word with its contemporary counterpart are to be commended. But most of the new versions change the familiar terms simply for the sake of change. The result may be neither better nor worse: It is merely different.
Clark gives a number of examples, such as:
The first verse of the well known Isaiah 53 begins with, "Who hath believed our report?" The Hebrew of the last word means announcement, doctrine, news, report, rumor, or tidings. The Revised Standard Version changes the single word to the phrase "what we have heard." This seems to make it a reference to what Isaiah heard, rather than to what he preached. The New American Standard makes better sense: "our message." Now, the words message and report are both common English words, so that any claim to clearer English or to the removal of archaic expressions has no basis.
Clark has concerns about the critical text:
...we conclude that the type of criticism underlying the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard, and other versions is inconsistent with its own stated criteria, inconsistent in its results, and inconsistent with the objective evidence. Its method is that of unsupported aesthetic speculation.
Read the entire article by clicking on the link above. I mention this article by Clark because the criticisms against the King James Bible and the support of the Westcott-Hort/critical text Bibles often amount to a sort of religious peer pressure under which weak or ill-formed individuals wither. No less a logician that Gordon Clark was not frightened into a corner, even while acknowledging that he was "not a textual critic," he boldly asserted that "the methodology of textual criticism cannot claim immunity from logical analysis." Just because you are not a textual critic does not mean the critics are free from your judgement in the matter.

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