Monday, October 26, 2015
Catholic Review of the Protestant Revised Version Bible 1885
Catholic Review of the Protestant Revised Version Bible, article in The American Catholic Quarterly Review 1885
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MORE than fifteen years ago, in February, 1870, the Convocation of the Church of England, in its province of Canterbury, took action for a work that had long been felt to be sorely needed, a thorough revision of the English translation of the Bible published in 1611 with a fulsome address to King James I. That version is often called "the authorized version," although it was never directly authorized by any competent person or body. In fact, the term seems to have crept in from the mention on the title page of the lessons "appointed to be read in churches." And it would be curious indeed that the selection by the Catholic Church of portions of scripture could become in time a supposed approval of a Protestant version condemned by the Church. Certainly, though King James appointed translators, and the Convocation of Canterbury instituted companies for revision, this does not officially adopt in advance the work to be done. The revision of 1885 appears, like the edition of 1611, without any official authorization by the Head of the English Church, or by the Church of England convened in council. Yet though the revisers in their preface to the New Testament first guardedly speak of the 1611 Bible as "commonly known by the name of the Authorized Version," they constantly after that call it definitely the "Authorized Version."
The basis of the English Protestant Bible which has for the last two centuries been in general use is to be found in those published by Tyndale, 1526, and Coverdale, 1535, both ostensibly translated from the Hebrew and Greek, but really, to a great extent, mere versions of Luther's German Bible, which thus becomes the real parent of all the English Protestant versions. In regard to Tyndale Dr. Mombert in his recent work, issued by Bagster, leaves no manner of doubt. He is represented as a fair Greek scholar in 1523. "Yet any one who will impartially compare Tyndale's New Testament with Luther's will see," says the London Athenanm, "that our English translator is as much indebted, to say the least, to the German as to the Latin of Erasmus and to the Greek original." "Luther's and Tyndale's New Testaments exhibit more than simple translations of the Greek. They contain introductions to the respective books, as well as marginal notes. As without a direct miracle the two translators could not write in two different languages exactly the same introductions and give literally the same comments upon the same passages, it will readily be conceded that Tyndale, who published his New Testament in 1525-6, copied Luther, whose Testament appeared in 1522." Tyndale copied nearly half of Luther's introduction, and 190 of 210 marginal references, without correcting errors in them. Of 69 glosses on St. Matthew, Tyndale transfers 59, often copying Luther so slavishly that at times we must go back to Luther to find what Tyndale means. In the translation, where Luther is free, Tyndale follows him. Where Tyndale left Luther he frequently went astray, and in the marginal notes which are clearly his own his violent abuse of the Pope, bishops and clergy exceeds even the virulence of Luther. So much for Tyndale's New Testament and its German origin.
As for Coverdale's, the case is equally clear. The original title as set up by Van Meteren at Antwerp in 1535 reads: "Biblia. That is, the holy scripture of the Old and New Testament faithfully and truly translated out of Douche and Latyn in to Englishe MDXXXV. Printed in the yeare of our Lord MDXXXV and fynished the fourth daye of October." A copy of this volume was lent by the Earl of Leicester to the Caxton celebration in 1877. When the sheets reached England, Nicholson set up a new title page, omitting the words from "and truly" down to "Latyn"; but the book as printed at Antwerp tells the story. The source was not the Hebrew and Greek, but Luther's "Douche," modified here and there by reference to the Latin, and, as Henry Stevens claims, the translation was made by Van Meteren, a Hollander.
The original English Protestant Bible was not made from the Hebrew and Greek, but from Luther's "Douche." The subsequent revisions were made to approximate it to the original languages; but as every reviser needed revision, the attempt has not been very successful.
Yet this is the volume so long held up as a model of English undefiled! In no literature but English could a work if so mongrel and motley a character have ever attained the position of a standard for purity and elegance. In other tongues works that attain such eminence are the work of one individual full of his genius, representing the language in all its highest purity and elegance. Yet here a work made from a Douche original, with foreign ideas protruding at every pore, becomes a standard not only for matters religious but even for purity, elegance and symmetry!
As a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew increased, revisions were made to try and bring the current versions into greater conformity with the original languages. This gave rise to Matthews, in 1537. Taverner's, 1539, Cranmer's, 1540, the Geneva, 1557-60, the Bishops' Bible, 1568. These last two represented two diverse schools, the Bishops' that of the Church of England, while the Geneva was the work of the followers of Calvin. The last early revision, that made under the direction of King James, was an attempt to reconcile these two, but the Bible issued in 1611 did not supersede the Geneva or "Breeches" Bible, which was that adopted by all the Puritans, Presbyterians, and Independents in England and New England. The Geneva held its own till the time of Charles II., when the printing of the Bible was vested in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which issued only the King James version. The Geneva thus ceased to be printed, and the non-conformist bodies had no alternative but to adopt the version which they disliked. If the Puritans in Old and New England accepted the King James at last, it was only as a matter of necessity; it was as repugnant to their feelings as it is to those of Catholics, on whom of late they delight in forcing it.
It has been the fashion to extol the King James Bible as a model of English, but the German Luther influence from the outset gave the Protestant versions a foreign tinge, and the violence of Tyndale against the Pope and the Bishops, against the Church and all connected with it, made him avoid, as much as he could, the terms and expressions which seemed to recall devotional use in the Church; this required the adoption of new, local, or antiquated words. The same spirit prevailed in all the revisions, and after a time, by constant reprinting, the new words came into general use. But the Bible of 1611 is not the English of any part of England at any particular time. Philologically it has no real value. Its influence for the last two centuries has undoubtedly been great, its very errors and misprints being so ingrained in the minds of the people that the revision, though adopted, will scarcely in a century consign them to oblivion.
The original Rheims-Douay (1583-1609), which we Catholics have unwisely discarded for Bishop Challoner's, is, on the contrary, the work of one man of acknowledged learning, in the best English of his time, not avoiding but embodying all devotional language to which the faithful had long been accustomed. It is, moreover, universally recognized as extremely faithful, while not one of the Protestant versions, from the Tyndale to the King James, has escaped severe censure for unfaithfulness, and the constant revisions are an acknowledgment of the charge. That the King James revisers were influenced by the Catholic version has long been known, and the present revisers acknowledge it frankly.
Indeed Catholic labors in translating the Scriptures and presenting them to the people seem never to be matters of indifference. If the revisers and translators of King James' day awaited the appearance of the complete labors of the Catholic scholar, Gregory Martin, as his volumes successively issued from the foreign presses to which penal laws had compelled him to resort, the translators of the Victorian era seem to have been no less observant. Besides the weightier matters of substance which occupied the minds of the latter, there were considerations of form engaging their attention, and to two of these they refer especially. One of these, the consecutive printing of the verses with the figures not breaking in on the sentence, but ranged in the margin, brings the new Protestant Bible to the wholesome look of the grand old version issued from the presses of Fogny at Rheims in 1582, and of Lawrence Kellam at Douay in 1609-10 — those noble volumes of our forefathers which it was a penal matter unto death for them to possess in the days when Protestantism denied the authentic scriptures to the Catholics, who could read them only by stealth and in secret. Another point is the presenting of the poetical portions of the Holy Scriptures in the form in which poetry is habitually given, and in this they follow the idea of the learned but most erratic Catholic priest, Rev. Alexander Geddes, two volumes of whose very curious version of the Bible appeared at London in 1792, dedicated to Lord Petre, whose present successor sits in the House of Lords in his priestly garb.
In their version of the New Testament the present revisers follow no printed Greek text, and no one ancient manuscript; but formed a text of their own, which they translated. In regard to the Old Testament they made no such attempt to create a text. "The Massoretic text of the Old Testament Scriptures," they admit, "has come down to us in manuscripts which are of no very great antiquity, and which all belong to the same family or recension." The most ancient Hebrew manuscript at the time of Luther was only about six hundred years old, and was penned nearly a thousand years after the birth of our Lord. But Protestants are committed to the Hebrew, and the revisers "have thought it most prudent to adopt the Massoretic text as the basis of their work." The text used by the Septuagint translators no longer exists; that employed by St. Jerome is lost. The earlier Protestant translators and revisers rejected the aid of the Septuagint and of St. Jerome, who translated in Egypt and Palestine, with older Hebrew manuscripts and greater aids to secure accuracy than scholars in England, where Hebrew studies were then in their infancy, could possibly enjoy. Nothing could exceed the arrogant presumption of the small body of scholars who had acquired a smattering of Hebrew, and could thus refuse to profit by the labors of far better scholars, who translated with far superior advantages and with deep reverence, translating as faithfully as possible into Greek and Latin the Hebrew Scriptures, as they stood before and soon after the Christian era, when the original text had not been manipulated in the anti-Christian school of Massorah.
Independent of the sanction given to the Septuagint by the habitual use which our Lord and His disciples made of it, its value as an early rendering of an uncorrupted text by competent scholars must, even to an agnostic, be of great weight.
The Hebrew language, from the time in which Moses wrote the Pentateuch, to that when Esdras wrote, a period of more than a thousand years, must have undergone great vicissitudes in its vocabulary, grammatical forms, and expressions. The literature of no country covering such a period could be read as one work, the earlier writings would be archaic and obsolete to those who could read fluently those of the later period. A nation which had been in bondage to Chanaanite, Philistine, Egyptian, and Assyrian, must have adopted, from time to time, many terms from their conquerors, and we know that their proper language was, in the end, virtually superseded by the Greek, in the ordinary intercourse of life. More than a general knowledge of the Hebrew of any one period is requisite for the understanding of the Old Testament, while the New Testament demands merely a competent knowledge of the Greek spoken in one district for a period of fifty years, and for the intelligence of that dialect of Greek, the language of the deuterocanonical books, and of the Septuagint, habitually used by the sacred writers of the New Testament, affords immense aid.
For the intelligence of the Hebrew scriptures, there are no contemporaneous literature for any period, no codes of laws, no royal proclamations, no history, biography, poem, or tale. This renders such adventitious aid as that afforded by the Septuagint translators of the highest value. The dictionary to be formed from their work is the basis of our knowledge of the Hebrew.
The Hebrew text was not made the corner-stone of Christian teaching, but the Septuagint version was. With that and the deutero-canonical books, and the New Testament in Greek, the Church carried her teaching throughout the Roman Empire, and from them in time made her Latin translation. She multiplied her manuscripts in Greek and Latin. When the various heresies arose, not one of them attempted to justify its error by setting up the superiority of the Hebrew text. It was not till the 16th century that this idea was put forward, and it was then no longer possible to revert to the Hebrew text as it stood in the time of our Lord. All that the heresiarchs of that time could rely upon was the Massoretic text adopted after the Christian era, and as a Jewish safeguard against Christianity. The school of Massorah rejected all the books in Greek as having led to Christianity, and rejected the New Testament. Ben Sira or Ecclesiasticus, which existed in Hebrew, this school rejected because it favored the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. If Protestants reject the book, it must be on the same ground as will justify any one of them in rejecting the New Testament. The Hebrew school at Massorah, influenced by such feelings, necessarily adopted every reading unfavorable to Christian claims, just as Protestant scholars do every one unfavorable to Catholic doctrines. Thus the Hebrew text as it stands is imperfect, biassed, modern, and we possess no authorities to effect the restoration of the true text. How, then, can the current Hebrew text be a safer basis for translation than the version which the Apostles and their successors employed when converting the world to Christ?
In no part of the Scriptures was the presumptuous ignorance of the King James translators more manifest than in their rendering of the terms relating to the natural history of the Holy Land. It is inconceivable how men, living in England, utterly ignorant of the fauna of that portion of the world where the events described in the sacred pages took place, could assume to be better able to give a proper equivalent for a Hebrew term than men living in Egypt and Palestine while Hebrew was yet spoken and Greek in daily use, and who knew every animal and bird, as well as the learned and ordinary terms for each of them, the names yet in use as well as the names that had ceased to obtain.
Probably the most absurd error in the King James version was in Gen. 36:24. "This was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness." Discovering herds of wild mules would certainly have been worthy of note. But in the Revised Version the animals disappear, and for "mules" we read "hot springs," recognizing the accuracy of the Vulgate, "aquas calidas," rendered "hot waters" by Gregory Martin and Challoner. Almost as gross an error occurs in Isaias 14:23. "I will also make it a possession for the bittern;" this last word occurring again in 34: II. Now the bittern is a bird, and belongs to the heron family, but the revisers translate the Hebrew word kippod, not bittern, but "porcupine," admitting that the vaunted translators whose work had been held up to us as almost divine confounded a quadruped with a bird, and did it as an exercise of the right of private judgment, for the Septuagint and Vulgate were there to caution them, rendering kippod...which Gregory Martin, in the original Douay, translated plainly "hedgehog," though Bishop Challoner, apparently fearing to hurt the feelings of our separated brethren, left untranslated "ericius." Another instance of confounding creatures totally different occurs in Proverbs 30:28, where the King James version reads: "The spider taketh hold with her hands." The Revised Version introduces us to an animal of another genus, and gives: "The lizard taketh hold with her hands," recognizing the fidelity of the Vulgate, which reads: "Stellio manibus nititur," our English translators retaining the name of that species of lizard. In Leviticus 11:16, the King James translated "bathaya'nah" by the word owl, and "shachaph" by cuckoo. The revisers render these words by ostrich and sea-mew, recognizing the accuracy of the Latin terms "struthio" and "larus" of the Vulgate, rendered ostrich and larus or stern by the Douay and Challoner.
In a similar manner, the ferret becomes the gecko, and the tortoise a great lizard, and the snail a sand-lizard. The badger-skins which cover the tabernacle become sealskins, neither being likely to be found in sufficient quantity in the desert. As to the term "to" or "teo," which the King James translators rendered wild bull, and the Vulgate gave as oryx, the revisers follow the Vulgate,and translate antelope. The old Douay retained the word oryx, correct and now intelligible; but Challoner, deferring, as he often did, to the Protestant version, gave "wild goat" in one place (Deut. 14: 5), and "wild ox " in another (Isaias 51: 20). "Dayah," translated formerly vulture (Lev.11:14; Deut.14:13; Isaias 34:15),is now rendered kite, as in our Catholic Bibles. In the same way, "dukipath," instead of lapwing, becomes, as in the Douay and Challoner, the hoopoe (Lev. 11: Deut. 14).
In Gen. 11:3 and kindred passages the utterly indefinite word "slime" is now aided by "bitumen" in the margin, the word used in our old Douay, though Bishop Challoner substituted "slime" for it.
The gnat recalls a blunder not in the original King James of 1611, but in later editions, which has given rise to a proverb in common use that will not readily give way to the true rendering. In Matt. 23:24, "Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel," was misprinted: "Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel," and the erroneous reading became general, although it never crept into our Catholic Bibles. The revisers restore the correct reading, "strain out."
The "linen yarn" which the translators of King James' day contrived to find in 3 Kings 10:28, has disappeared with the peacocks in Job 39:13.
These glaring errors have long been recognized among Protestants, but in popular works on the Bible, in order apparently to avoid shocking the unbounded confidence of the ignorant masses in this faulty and corrupt translation, the attempt was made to throw the fault on the Scriptures themselves and the holy men inspired by God who penned them. Thus they would speak of the porcupine as the "bittern of scripture," of other animals as "the ferret of scripture," "the wild ox of scripture," etc., making the Word of God and the inspired writers responsible for the presumptuous and self-willed ignorance of the men who under the direction of King James and his regulations gave the edition to English readers. A more honest feeling, compelled in no small degree by the movement for a purer translation, begun in this country among the Baptists, has at last forced authorities in the Church of England to make this tardy effort to present the Word of God in a better form, more conformable to the original.
Ignorance of Oriental customs was profound in England after the Reformation, while among Catholics, in consequence of pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the constant residence there of Franciscan Fathers, more general knowledge prevailed. The King James translators knew nothing of the use by Eastern women of kohl or antimony to make the eye look large and lustrous. They knew, however, that English ladies painted their faces. Hence they rendered 2 Kings 9: 30, "she painted her face;" and Jerem. 4:30, "thou rendest thy face with painting," certainly a very curious performance. But the revisers translate "eyes" "eyes," and not "face," and give us "she painted her eyes" in the first text, and in the second "thou enlargest thine eyes with paint." Here the last word is very vague, while our old Douay was definite, "shalt paint thine eyes with stibick stone." The name of one of Job's daughters alludes to this cosmetic, Kerenhappuch (horn for antimony).
In the perversions of the Scriptures against which Catholics have constantly protested, the revisers have been evidently afraid to do right. Most of them remain. The spurious additions to the Lord's Prayer in St. Matthew and St. Luke have, indeed, been abandoned, and 1 Cor. 11:27 they at last give honestly, "eat this bread or drink this cup," instead of "and" as the translators have hitherto persistently done. In Jeremias 11 : 19 they admit "bread" to be the real translation of the Hebrew, though they do not put it in the text. The passage in I Cor. 9: 5 undergoes a curious change. The revisers will not translate ADELFHN GUNAIKA, "a sister, a woman," or "a sister, a wife," as in the King James, but "a wife that is a believer," with "Gr. sister" in the margin! A Mormon elder will probably find authority here for leaving some wives at home on account of their scepticism. "Marriage is honorable in all" (Heb. 13:4) reads now: "Let marriage be in honor among all." In St. James 5:16 they at last "confess their sins"; good works are allowed to appear in Apoc. 19:8 as "righteous acts," the Blessed Virgin is "endued with grace" in the margin (Luke i:28). As in the New Testament the pagan God Hades, whose name in the possessive case was used in Greek for hell, is used directly for hell, so in the Old Testament "sheol," the Hebrew term, is retained and replaces hell in some texts and "grave" in others. In the Concordance of the Revised Version the word hell will disappear in a host of passages. "In Isaiah xiv.," we are told, "where 'hell' is used in more of its original sense, and is less liable to be misunderstood .... the revisers have contented themselves with leaving 'hell' in the text,and have connected with other passages by putting 'sheol' in the margin." The word is, therefore, not uniformly rendered, and this involves great confusion.
The American revisers urged the introduction of Jehovah throughout for the ineffable name, but the English revisers adhered to the old version, printing Lord or God in small capitals to express it. As Jehovah is a word of very doubtful accuracy, they certainly acted wisely in not filling their volume with a word for others to alter hereafter. The uniform usage of Jew and Christian, in expressing the ineffable name by Adonai, or Lord and God, ought to prevail against any rash change at this late day to a word which many hold to be utterly incorrect.
"Abaddon," for destroyer, and "asherah," for grave, are, like "sheol," instances where they now follow what the Douay translators were condemned for, that is, retaining words of the original untranslated.
The language of the King James has not been generally modernized, although the American revisers called for very sweeping changes in this respect. The substitution of "plough" for "ear" is one of the few. "Boiled," in the sense of "podded for seed," is retained, and its use in the cotton districts of this country makes it sufficiently intelligible.
The suggestions of the American Old Testament Revision Company fill nearly sixteen pages of close type, and show that had their counsel been followed a radically new translation would have been the result. When we remember the persistence with which Protestants in this country have insisted on forcing the King James Bible on Catholics in schools, courts, and institutions, it seems strange to find a learned company from among them insisting on such sweeping changes and corrections, to which the English revisers hesitated to agree.
On the whole, the new revision of the oft-amended English Protestant version is far from meeting the wants of the intelligent and honest Christian. The Protestant expected a translation of the Word of God, on which he could ground his salvation as a Rule of Faith. The English-speaking Catholic expected, at least, as the nineteenth century was drawing to a close, that a body of English Protestant scholars, selected as the ablest in knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, most profound in all studies regarding the weight and critical value of the earliest known manuscripts of the Sacred Volume or parts thereof, well versed in all the secular learning that contributes to a due intelligence and comprehension of the time and places in which the Sacred Writers lived,—expected from such an array of Protestant learning a translation which on the selection of the text and the fidelity, clearness, and harmony of the Version given would, for purposes of study, replace to the general reader the original texts, and give the reader, with good editions of those texts before him, a reflex of it which he could respect and to some extent rely upon in occasional and incidental studies of his own. Both these classes have been sadly disappointed.
It may be said that the revisers were not free, that they were limited by rules, and that these rules or principles kept up the fable that the King James Bible was authorized, and was something so sacred that it must not be touched by rude or profane hands, when in fact its shortcomings were so notorious.
"The text to be adopted," they were told, was to "be that for which the evidence is decidedly preponderatory." Now the text of the Hebrew used by the King James translators was certainly not a critical one for which any great merit could be claimed. Yet here the learning of Protestant scholars was required to adhere to that text as translated in the seventeenth century, unless they had decidedly preponderating evidence against it. Such evidence was almost unattainable. As they themselves say: "The Received, or, as it is commonly called, the Massoretic Text of the Old Testament Scriptures, has come down to us in manuscripts which are of no very great antiquity, and which all belong to the same family or recension. That other recensions were at one time in existence is probable from the variations in the Ancient Versions, the oldest of which, namely the Greek or Septuagint, was made, at least in part, some two centuries before the Christain era." It is astounding to hear this collected learning term the existence of other Hebrew texts rather than the present recension of the Massoretic merely and only "probable," for if they concede that the Septuagint was made two centuries before the Christian era, they must not probably, but most certainly and assuredly, have had something premassoretic; and that at that time other recensions were in existence is certain, not probable.
The revisers were required "to introduce as few alterations as possible into the text of the Authorized Version consistently with such faithfulness," and "to limit, as far as possible, the expression of alterations to the language of the Authorized and earlier English Versions."
Compelled thus to render a kind of cultus to the King James, "which," they say, "for more than two centuries and a half had held the position of an English classic," they departed from it only "where they disagreed with the translators of 1611 as to the meaning or construction of a word or sentence; or when, for the sake of uniformity, to render such parallel passages as were in identical Hebrew by the same English words, so that an English reader might know at once by comparison the difference in the translation corresponded to a difference in the original; or where the language of the Authorized Version was liable to be misunderstood by reason of its being archaic or obscure; or finally, where the rendering of an earlier English Version seemed preferable; or where by an apparently slight change it was possible to bring out more fully the meaning of a passage."
Thus terms of natural history were changed "only where it was certain that they were incorrect and there was sufficient evidence for the substituted reading."
In this department, as in many others, the doubtful and unauthorized renderings were left, simply because they could not find preponderating evidence that the rendering was wrong, and that some other rendering was right. Yet if Jehovah was to be introduced as a supposed Hebrew word, and Sheol, and Abaddon, and Asherah, Asherim, Asheroth, why could not Hebrew names of certain animals be retained where the English equivalent was uncertain or did not exist?
To adhere to error merely because it is old can never be justified; truth is older than the oldest error,and in mere point of time is more respectable. So, too, in regard to proper names. The translators of 1611 adopted a system of transliteration of their own for giving Hebrew names in English. They cut away from the names used in Catholic works in their own country from the early times, and were apparently guided to no little extent by Luther's "Douche" Bible. The names as they gave them were in many cases neither Hebrew nor accepted English, and with that freedom which they assumed unto themselves they did not follow out their own system. Here was another difficulty for the revisers. They accordingly tell us that they "endeavored to ascertain the system of transliteration adopted by the translators of the Authorized Version, and to carry it out with somewhat greater consistency. They have not, however, attempted anything like rigid uniformity, and have left unchanged all those names which by usage have become English; as, for instance, Moses, Aaron, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the like." The unauthorized translators of 1611 had no such respect for names which by usage had become English; why should those of 1885 be bound to follow their errors? Is not this deliberately preferring darkness to light, and clinging to error simply because it is old?
One point they do not mention at all, and it is a curious one. The Reformers rejected the Septuagint, the version of the Old Testament which, with the deutero-canonical books, was borne by the envoys of Christ throughout the world as they announced the Gospel and established the Church. They rejected this and went back to pick up a Hebrew text formed to preserve the unbelieving remnant of the house of Israel from becoming influenced by faith in Christ as the Messias. They made this anti-Christian recension the basis of their retrograde Christianity, but Providence permitted that they should retain the Septuagint names for most of the books of the Old Testament, as they do to this day. The revisers do the same, apparently without a thought—certainly without a line of apology. Translating the opening book of the Scriptures, why do they say, "The First Book of Moses, commonly called Genesis" and ignore entirely its Hebrew name? Why do they retain the Greek term Genesis, when they discard the Greek version? They do not even in any note or otherwise give the Hebrew, while our Catholic Bibles do, and tell us that "The Hebrews call it Beresith, from the word with which it begins," following the Vulgate, "Liber Genesis, Hebraice Beresith," in which, as on the Cross, the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin combine.
The Revised Version is after all only a cramped revision of a faulty and patched translation, made originally from the bold German rendering of Luther, altered by reference to the Latin, and then repeatedly by such Hebrew as they could get. The English Protestant Bible is presented to its unfortunate adherents as their religion, to quote Chillingworth's saying. If it is to be their religion, ought it not to be made from the best possible text, with the utmost sincerity, and entirely free from any subserviency to errors, no matter how respectable they had grown by age? If man's salvation is to depend on a translation, if man's damnation may be the result of wrong rendering, why should the opinions of fallible men of other days, or their ignorance, or their prejudice, or the commands of princes or popular opinion stand for a moment to sway translators, who if they touch the Sacred Volume at all, should do it only to present God's eternal truth to men in an intelligible language?
In the words of a book they reject (Wisdom, v. 6), they may well exclaim: Ergo erravimus!" Ergo erravimus a via veritatis, et justitiae lumen non luxit nobis, et Sol intelligentiae non est ortus nobis."
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