Saturday, May 21, 2022

Quoting D. C. Parker

Quoting D. C. Parker:

“...‘we have no means of knowing what ideal form a letter took in Paul’s mind before he wrote it down’ and ‘we have no means of knowing what ideal form his Gospel took in Luke’s mind before he wrote it down’. We can underline emphatically that the authorial fallacy is a fallacy. The New Testament philologist’s task is not to recover an original authorial text, not only because we cannot at present know on philological grounds what that original text might have been, nor even because there may have been several forms to the tradition, but because philology is not able to make a pronouncement as to whether or not there was such an authorial text. The best it can do with regard to the New Testament is to use the evidence derived from our study of the extant tradition to present a model of the problems with the concept of the author...We can use philology to reconstruct an Initial Text. But we need not then believe that the Initial Text is an authorial text, or a definitive text, or the only form in which the works once circulated.” David C. Parker, Textual Scholarship and the Making of the New Testament, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 26-27, 29
This quote indicates that the current trajectory of New Testament textual scholarship is toward the liberal end of the religious spectrum, despite evangelical text critics who claim otherwise. On page 28, Parker decisively describes himself “as one of the tiny number of people employed in making a critical edition of the New Testament...”

Friday, May 20, 2022

Yaupon tea, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Unnamed conspirator, agin my Bible

Unnamed conspirator: (In reference to King James usage) “‘Wherefore’ means ‘why’.”

Baptist blogger: (In response to the conspirator) Not so fast. Check this out.

Genesis 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore [for that reason] it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.

Genesis 18:13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore [for what reason] did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ye Scholars, Hearken

To yͤ ſcolere ayenes my biblioðece:

Axith Y thee, vndurſtõdiſt thou not VVyclif? If thou doiſt not, vvhi doiſt thou ſchevviſt me vvhat to knovve? Y vvot not vvhi Y ſchuldiſt herkne unto thee. Vndurſtõdiſt thou? If thou doiſt, geſſiſt thou vvooſt aboue alle? VVhat knovviſt thou, vvhiche vvee knovven not? VVhat vndurſtõdiſt thou, vvhiche vvee vviten not? 

Transcribed in Roman type.

To yͤ ſcolere ayenes my biblioðece:

Axith Y thee, vndurſtõdiſt thou not VVyclif? If thou doiſt not, vvhi doiſt thou ſchevviſt me vvhat to knovve? Y vvot not vvhi Y ſchuldiſt herkne unto thee. Vndurſtõdiſt thou? If thou doiſt, geſſiſt thou vvooſt aboue alle? VVhat knovviſt thou, vvhiche vvee knovven not? VVhat vndurſtõdiſt thou, vvhiche vvee vviten not?

The reflection above gives vent to something on which I have thought much, but perhaps posted little, directly. It alludes to questions I want to ask every scholar who undertakes to oppose the normal use of the King James Bible by those of us who choose to do so. It includes the particular reference to the Wycliffe Bible because I first asked it in context of a video posted by Marke VVarde. Mark questioned what a preacher would do if he stumbled upon a group of Christians who insisted on the exclusive use the Wycliffe Bible. It provided a ready foil, a well-dressed strawman, and some hazy humour as he read from the Wycliffe Bible with an “English accent.” However, a little-known Bible that has not been read—even looked at—by more than a few in over 500 years provides little in common with a Bible that has been in constant use from its dawning to the present. Yet there always are scholars ready and willing to advance their “ignorance” as a hand-up offered to us “more ignorant” to solve all our problems and fulfill all our needs. Wherefore (“for that reason,” not “why”) I have built a very large front porch at the entrance a small house of two questions. Here they are:
  1. If you cannot understand the King James translation of the Bible, why should I take your advice? 
  2. If you can understand the King James translation of the Bible, why do you think I cannot?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Reading the 1611 Bible

“I have seen an original 1611 King James Version. I cannot read it. It looks like a foreign language.”

These and similar words roll off the tongues of otherwise intelligent people who do not appreciate and often even oppose the use of the King James Bible. If you claim some measure of scholarship and cannot read it, I am afraid of you. I’m no genius, but I can read the 1611 King James Bible. I use it in research, and have read it once from Genesis to Revelation. If a so-called Bible teacher is not educated enough to read a 1611 KJV, then he is not educated enough to lecture folks about texts and translations of the Bible.

However, there are sincere folks who might want to read the 1611 King James Bible, but struggle with the typography, spelling, etc. It has some variations from modern English printing that may initially be off-putting. Understanding these variations before beginning will remove some of the difficulties. Perseverance will remove many of the rest. Below I will give some visual samples from (as well as links to) pages of a 1611 Bible printed by the Kings printer, Robert Barker.

1611 Bible typeface

A typeface is a particular set of characters (alphabet, numerals, punctuation, etc.) that share a common design. In modern times, we often think in terms of “font.” Font is a specific size and style of a particular typeface. In Microsoft Word, Old English Text MT will produce a typeface similar to the typeface used in the 1611 translation.)

The 1611 Robert Barker printing of the new Bible translation uses three different types. The Bible translation itself is blackletter typeface. Blackletter is sometimes referred to as Gothic script or Old English, but it is not a typeface limited to English. It was common in the western European countries, and remained the popular typeface in Germany, Norway, and Sweden long after it had gone out of style in England and the United States.

Roman type

The dedication, preface, chapter headings, summaries, genealogies, etc. are in roman type (and some italic), providing an intriguing visual distinction between the text of the Bible and its related materials. The first letter in each chapter is a very large roman letter. Illustration 1 shows large and small roman type used in the preface, “The Translators to the Reader.” 

Illustration 1. Translators to the Reader.

Blackletter type

The text of the 1611 Bible is printed in blackletter type, and added target language words are in smaller roman type. These represent words that were added by the translators to more understandably translate from the source languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek) into the target language (English). For examples, see the word “and” in Illustration 4, as well as “are” and “to bee” in Illustration 7. (When printers began to set the King James Bible in roman type instead of blackletter, italics were used to distinguish the added words, as appears in our modern printings of the KJV.) This was explained by Samuel Ward to the Synod of Dort, thusly:

“Sixthly, that words which it was anywhere necessary to insert into the text to complete the meaning were to be distinguished by another type, small roman.” Reported by translator Samuel Ward to the 1618 Synod of Dort

Illustration 2. John 19:19

Illustration 2 shows the blackletter type in the first part of John 19:19, followed by small roman type.  The superscription placed over the crucified Messiah is furnished in roman type and in all caps (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). See Illustration 2. Notice also in the John 19 example above, that when “U” is capitalized, even within a word, it appears in the “V” style. These (u & v) are not two distinct letters in this Early Modern English blackletter typeface of the King James Bible.

Small roman type is used in the New Testament at least twice to designate a phrase found in the Greek text from the Syriac (or Aramaic) language: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (Matthew 27:46, but not in Mark 15:34), and Talitha cumi (Mark 5:41).

Italic type

Various places in the explanatory materials use italic type, including the introductions, as well as in the marginal references to more literal translations, and the alternate readings.

1611 Bible alphabet

The letter i

There is no “J” or “j” in the 1611 English Bible, only an “I” or “i”. The capital “I” looks much like the later capital “J”. That is a stylistic flourish, however, rather than a different letter. The “j” look also appears as an extended ornamental flourish, as on the letter “i” at the end of Roman numerals. For example, XXIIJ or xxiij is Roman numeral 23.

Illustration 3. “I” flourish in 1 Kings Chapters 13-14

Illustration 4. Genesis 24:1

Illustration 5. 1 Samuel 18:5-6

1 Samuel 18:5-6 in Illustration 5 exhibits several traits of printing style of the 1611 Bible, including the capital “I” in Israel. Notice also, (1) the capital “S” in Saul, (2) the lack of apostrophe in “Sauls servants”, (3) some symbols for marginal readings, and (4) at the beginning of verse 5 there is a pilcrow (⸿, a character marking the start of a paragraph).

The letter r

Illustration 6. Rounded “r”, Ephesians 1:6-7

The rotunda or rounded r (ꝛ) is a stylized “r”, probably used by printers to save space. In the example from Ephesians 1:6-7 (Illustration 6), both types of “r” are used, the regular “r” and the rounded “r”. In verses six and seven, “ꝛ” is found in the words “praise”, “glorie”, “through”, “forgivenesse”, and “according”. The regular “r” is found in “grace”, “wherein”, “redemption”, “riches”, and “grace”. The rounded “r” (ꝛ) follows letters with curved strokes – “p”, “o”, and “h” in this example (and a “w” in Illustration 2). Other than style, it is no different than the regular “r”. The regular “r” always begins words (i.e., when “r” is used as the first letter). A 1611 capital “R” is seen in the word LORD in Illustration 4.

The letter s

The small letter “s” comes in two forms. The long “s” ( ſ ) letter looks similar to “f” letters, and is often so confused by modern readers. The long “s” is a small letter “s”, either at the beginning of a word or used internally within a word. The capital “S” looks different (see Illustration 5), as well as the short “s” letter used when “s” is the last letter of a word (which, interestingly, is also a trait of the Greek sigma, σ and ς. See Illustration 7, “sonnes” in verses 18 and 19). A short or round “s” is always used at the end of a word ending with “s”, and possibly sometimes used when the letter “s” is adjacent to a letter “f” (though this was not true in the examples I checked, “satisfaction” in Numbers 35:31-32, “satisfied” in Isaiah 53:11, “offspring” in Acts 17:28-29).

Illustration 7. Genesis 9:16-20

The words “five” and “second” (et al.) in Genesis 7:11 (Illustration 8, below) depict how easily the “f” might be confused with a long “s” (ſ), and vice versa.

Illustration 8. Genesis 7:11-13

Several points are demonstrated in Illustration 8, this snip of Genesis 7:11-13. The pilcrow is used. There are no apostrophes (’) to show possession, as we punctuate modern words. Notice “Noahs life” in verse 11 and “Noahs wife” in verse 13. Verse 13 gives an example of the capital “S” beginning the name “Sem”, as well as the use of the long “s” and short “s” in the word “sonnes”. “Iapheth” shows how the capitalized “I” looks quite like a modern “J” (though it is not).

The letter u

The “u” and “v” are interchangeable letters, according to their placement in a word. When it is the first letter of the word, “v” style is used. When within the word, “u” style is used. “V” is used when the letter is capitalized (See Illustration 2). 

In some roman type “w” is a double u (that is, two of them side by side, and the “u” usually appears like a “v” – thus “vv”, – vvhen, vvhere, etc.). I do not believe this type printing occurs anywhere in the 1611 King James Bible.

The letter þ (called thorn)

Illustration 9. John 3:16

A “y” (i.e., what appears to be one), when used with a superscript “e” (i.e., above the “y”, yͤ; see Illustration 9.) or in an abbreviation “yt” (yͭ, for “that” as in 2 Cor. 13:7), represents the Old English letter “thorn” (þ). In those cases, the “y” works as a “th” sound rather than “y”. It means “the” (not “ye”) and “that” (not “yet”). The word should not be confused with the second person plural pronoun “ye” (and it is pronounced with a “th” rather than “y” sound). This usage can be found in a number of places, such as in 1 Kings 11:1, Job 1:9, Ezekiel 32:28, John 3:16; 15:1, Romans 15:29, Colossians 1:1, and James 3:12. Illustration 10 shows the one place where I have found the abbreviation “yt” (yͭ) for “that”. There might be other cases.

Illustration 10. 2 Corinthians 13:7

The letter æ (called ash, Æ æ) 

This letter is used at least three times in the 1611 Bible, in the words Ænon (John 3:23) and Æneas (Acts 9:33-34).

In Modern English orthography, both the thorn (þ) and ash (æ) are obsolete. Though the æ occasionally appears in words like encyclopædia, it is not now considered a letter in the English alphabet. Technically, though not obviously, the use of þ (thorn) can still be seen in signs such as “Ye Olde Tavern” (meaning “The” Olde Tavern, though most readers may not realize it).

1611 Bible symbols


Illustration 11. The tilde abbreviation, Mark 1:5

A tilde or macron (~ -) is used in some words as a sort of abbreviation. An “m” or “n” following a vowel may be replaced by placing the tilde or macron over the vowel, as cõfessing in Mark 1:5. This is the equivalent of “confessing,” abbreviated. This usage probably was a printer’s decision, to save space; compare Matthew 3:6 where it is confessing rather than cõfessing. In 2 Corinthians 13:7 what appears to be a “y” is a form of the letter “thorn” (þ) The “yt” (yͭ) is an abbreviation for “that”.

Marginal notes

Illustration 12. Isaiah 53:5-6

These two verses in Isaiah 53 in Illustration 12 show three different symbols used to lead to marginal notes: asterisk, cross or dagger, and double bar (*, †, ||). The asterisk (*) denotes a cross reference to a related scripture or scriptures. The cross, or dagger, (†) indicates a more literal translation (prefaced by Heb., Chal., or Gr., followed by a word or words in italics).The double bar (||) points to an alternate reading (|| Or, followed by a word or words in italics).


Illustration 13. Catchword under 2 Kings 22:7

At the bottom right of pages in the 1611 Bible, you will find a “catchword.” A catchword is a word placed at the right-hand foot of the page that anticipates (records or repeats) the first word on the following page. See Illustration 13. This was common in early printed texts up into the 18th century. It probably helped both the printer and the reader to make the connection between the two pages.

In the 1611 Bible, there are no quotation marks (“ ”) for dialogue, quotes, etc. If you use a modern KJV printing, this is the same, not a difference. Some of these typographical or orthographical traits may be seen continuing much later and even in printings in roman type, such as the long “s” and the “i” instead of “j”.

1611 Bible words

Extended discussion of Bible words is too cumbersome to include here. In 1611, English spelling was not standardized to the point is has now developed. Therefore, a number of variant spellings appear throughout the 1611 printing. An “e” word ending that has dropped out of use is a very common trait. Nevertheless, it should be rare that the average reader cannot discern what the word is, despite the variant spelling. The sound of the word is often the same or very similar.

A few examples

  • beleeveth = believeth
  • crosse = cross
  • doe = do
  • euery = every
  • fortie = forty
  • iniquitie = iniquity
  • layd = laid
  • moneth = month
  • onely = only
  • owne = own
  • riuer = river
  • shalbe = shall be
  • sonne = son
  • warre = war
  • windowes = windows
  • yerre = year

Final notes

You can view and examine for yourself a digital image of a 1611 printing of the Bible. Here is one online option:

In addition to online images, facsimile reprints are also available. Kings printer Robert Barker made several printings of the new translation, some of which may vary slightly from the visual examples I give. If you find something that is slightly different, do not be surprised.

I am not advocating that one must read the 1611 printing of the King James, but rather offering some advice to those who want to do so. There is also an accommodation for those wishing to read the 1611 Bible while avoiding the blackletter type. A Bible reprint is available in print of the original 1611 except that it is set in roman type rather than blackletter. (It may or may not be available online.) Also, there is a “modernized” Online Blackletter Edition which “give(s) the reader a feel for the original 1611 King James Bible” without including “all the typographic representations found in the original.”

I do not claim any expertise, just learning by trial and error (including what others said about these trials and errors). I may have gotten some minor details wrong, or I may have left off something I should have addressed. This kind of stuff intrigues me, even when only in relation to the English language and its history. I hope this essay might benefit someone, and not just about quirks in our language – but most especially regarding the Bible. May the Lord bless you.

Monday, May 16, 2022

In other words, to zed

  • adorbs, adjective. (Informal) Inspiring great delight; charming, cute, or adorable (e.g., totes adorbs is slang  for totally adorable).
  • blagging, noun (Caribbean). An informal conversation in a public place, often deceitful.
  • catchword, noun. A word under the right-hand side of the last line on a book page that repeats the first word on the following page; a word printed or placed so as to attract attention.
  • emprise, noun. An adventurous enterprise; knightly daring or prowess.
  • fabulate, verb (used without object). To tell invented stories; create fables or stories filled with fantasy.
  • feculence, noun. The accumulation of dirt, sediment, or waste matter.
  • flatulence, noun. The accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal; inflated or pretentious speech or writing; pomposity.
  • internecine, adjective. Destructive to both sides in a conflict; relating to conflict within a group or organization.
  • lionize, verb. Give a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treat as a celebrity.
  • phantasmagoric, adjective. Having a fantastic or deceptive appearance; having the appearance of an optical illusion; changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.
  • philological, adjective. Related to or having to do with the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages.
  • pilcrow, noun. A symbol (e.g. ¶) used to mark a new paragraph or section of text.
  • pore, verb. (intransitive) To gaze intently; to read or study attentively; to reflect or meditate steadily.
  • stagflation, noun. Persistent high inflation, high unemployment, and stagnant demand in a country’s economy.
  • Tarmac, noun. A brand of bituminous binder, similar to tarmacadam, used for surfacing roads or other outdoor areas, consisting of crushed rock mixed with tar; (lower case) a runway or other area surfaced with tarmac.
  • typography, noun. The style and appearance of printed matter.
  • zed, noun. (chiefly British) The letter z.

Constructing a biblical theology

“...the believers’ churches have never really been noted for their contributions to the scholastic artistry of summa theologia. This is not so much a failure as a continual rebuke to the aridity to which academic theology is too commonly subject...the focus of the believers’ church theologian is upon the church rather than the academy. And the church is busy about reading the Bible and living from it. Indeed, the undisciplined evangelical academy is recognized for what it has imported into the church, an unbiblical order...In the believers’ churches the idea that constructing a biblical theology is the responsibility of every believer is accompanied by the idea that theological judgment is best carried out by the church.”

Malcolm Yarnell III in The Formation of Christian Doctrine, pp. 76-77.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Love of Jesus

The author of this hymn, William Edensor Littlewood, was the son of George Littlewood and Catherine Stothart, born August 2, 1831, and died September 3, 1886. He married Laetitia Thornton and they had several children. According to John Julian in his Dictionary of Hymnology, Littlewood was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and served as Vicar of St. James, Bath, from 1872 to 1881, resigning because of his wife’s ill health.
The hymn first appeared in A Garland from the Parables in 1858. It is Hymn XXVI on page 56, with the heading from the text of John 10:11 - “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
1. There is no love like the love of Jesus,
Never to fade or fall
’Till into the rest of the house of God
He has gathered us all!
2. There is no heart like the heart of Jesus,
Filled with a tender lore;
No throb nor throe that our hearts can know;
But he suffered before!
3. There is no eye like the eye of Jesus,
Piercing far away;
Never out of the sight of its tender light
Can the wanderer stray!
4. There is no voice like the voice of Jesus,
Ah! how sweet its chime;
Like musical ring of some rushing spring
In the bright summer-time!
5. O might we listen to the voice of Jesus!
O might we never roam;
’Till our souls should rest in peace on his breast,
In the heavenly home!

The following chorus or refrain appears with the hymn in Songs of Salvation by Theodore E. Perkins and Alfred Taylor, but not in A Garland from the Parables. Perkins, who wrote the tune, likely wrote or added the chorus. In Songs of Salvation, the song is titled Love of Jesus and associated with John 15:13a, “Greater love hath no man than this...”

Jesus’ love, precious love,
Boundless, and pure, and free;
Oh, turn to that love, weary wand’ring soul;
Jesus pleadeth for thee.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Ballot Harvesting, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Do 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 contradict?

Q. Do 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 contradict?

2 Samuel 10:18 “And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.”

1 Chronicles 19:18 “But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host.”

A. The two verses do not contradict, though it may appear so without due consideration.  2 Samuel 10:18 describes the deaths of an unspecified number of men who rode in “seven hundred chariots.”  1 Chronicles 19:18 describes the deaths of “seven thousand men” who rode in an unspecified number of chariots.  In other words, 2 Samuel 10:18 gives the number of chariots and 1 Chronicles 19:18 gives the number of men.

  • 2 Samuel 10:18 describes the number of chariots, 700. The men of seven hundred chariots.
  • 1 Chronicles 19:18 describes the number of men, 7000. Seven thousand men which fought in chariots.

Another comparison, 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4

“And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots..” 2 Samuel 8:4

“And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.” 1 Chronicles 18:4

Thoughts of others

John Gill’s Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4 - here are meant the ranks and companies of horses David took, which were seven hundred; and these having ten in a company or rank, made seven thousand; and there the complement of soldiers in those companies and ranks are intended.

Matthew Poole’s Annotations on 2 Samuel 8:4 - Seven hundred horsemen; Or, seven hundred companies of horsemen, that is, in all seven thousand; as it is 1 Chronicles 18:4, there being ten in each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain.

Another comparison, 1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25

“And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 1 Kings 4:26 

“And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 9:25

This shows that Solomon had 40,000 stalls for the horses of his chariots and he had 4,000 stalls for teams of horse and chariot together. That comparison shows a string of 10 horses per chariot.