QUICK GUIDE TO BIBLE VERSIONS
Historic - Major Catholic, Anglican/Protestant Versions ( -1800)
Presented by: The Master's table
· Latin Vulgate (St. Jerome) c.400: the Bible of the Western Church
through the middle ages; still the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.
· Wycliffe (& Purvey) c.1385: first translation of whole (or most of) Bible from Vulgate into vernacular, medieval English -- [n.b. complete Wycliffe Bible not published until 1850].
· Martin Luther c.1522: translation of the Greek N.T. and Hebrew O.T. into vernacular German; still the standard Bible of German Protestants [Lutheran].
· Tyndale c.1525: translation of Greek N.T. [consulting Vulgate and Luther's German translation] and parts of Hebrew O.T. -- fixed the English translation style.
· Coverdale c.1535: little change from Tyndale's, but with new translations for previously undone portions of O.T. from Vulgate and Luther's [not orig. Hebrew]; Coverdale's PSALMS still used by Anglicans and Episcopalians in Book of Common Prayer.
· Matthew c.1537: Essentially Tyndale's but a publication authorized by the king (Henry VIII); the first authorized or licensed English Bible - [though license was extended to Coverdale's later editions].
· Great Bible (Cranmer) c.1540: revision of Matthew's Bible produced in a large size; undertaken at Cromwell's suggestion and claimed the "Bible appointed to the use of the churches".
· Geneva c.1560: revision/collation of Tyndale's and the Great Bible; first English translation to use the division into verses; considered most scholarly of early English versions; commonly used for many years - especially among Puritans - and commonly brought to America.
· Bishops' c.1568: a rebuttal by the bishops to the Geneva Bible (which they didn't like); borrowed heavily from Great Bible and, actually, also from Geneva Bible - including use of verses; uneven quality but formed basis for KJV.
· Rheims/Douay c.1582/1610: the official [English] Roman Catholic Bible; translation from Vulgate [n.b. Bishop Challoner revised in mid 1700's, sometimes called "Challoner-Rheims Version"].
· King James (or Authorized ) Version (KJV or AV) 1611: the standard
authorized Bible of most Protestant churches for 2+ centuries; used the original
Hebrew and Greek to inform comparison/revision of earlier English versions -
[leaned heavily on Bishop's Bible; much of the language actually goes back to
Modern - Major English Language Versions (1800-1990)
· Revised Version or English Revised Version (RV or ERV) N.T. 1881, O.T. 1884: first major revision of KJV; done by lengthy committee process including Anglican and most Protestant faiths but NOT Roman Catholics.
· American Revised Version or American Standard Version (ARV or ASV) N.T. 1900, O.T. 1901: a re-edited version of the RV, basically the same.
· Moulton (Modern Readers') Bible 1907: a rearrangement of texts rather than a significantly new version, but an early attempt to "update" the Bible.
· Moffat Bible N.T. 1913, O.T. 1924: a new translation from early Greek and Latin texts - considered flawed because of the choice of source texts and the occasional rearrangement of verses but still a major work and fairly popular in it's time.
· Smith-Goodspeed or "Chicago " Bible c.1930's: [The Bible: An American Translation (AT)] first significant attempt to make truly modern language version.
· Knox Bible N.T. 1945, O.T. 1948: a new translation of the Vulgate bible; the New Testament was officially approved by the Roman Catholic church, though not supplanting the Rheims N.T. (first translation done by a single individual).
· Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1946-1957: an attempt to improve on the language of the RV/ASV; more widely accepted, but not supplanting KJV.
· Modern Language Bible (New Berkeley) (MLB) 1959, rev. 1969: another attempt at a modernization of the language leaning especially toward an American audience and working from the Greek and Hebrew texts.
· Jerusalem Bible (JB) 1966: Catholic translation based on ancient Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts, but closely following the French "Bible de Jerusalem" [n.b. begun well after the NAB NT (1941) was done, but finished before the NAB OT (1970)].
· New American Standard Bible (NASB) N.T. 1963, O.T. 1970: conservative, fairly literal translation from mainly Greek texts; attempt to repeat the RV process with more contemporary language; not very well-received.
· New English Bible (NEB) 1970: first completely new [Protestant] translation from original Bible languages into English since Tyndale.
· New American Bible (NAB) O.T. 1969, complete 1970 [added "Confraternity Version" N.T. of Douay]: The first significant Catholic translation since Douay-Rheims; working from original Greek texts mainly, rather than Vulgate (Latin); O.T. also made use of Dead Sea Scrolls; original N.T. rushed and mostly from Vulgate and later (1987) greatly revised/retranslated.
· Living Bible 1971: most popular "paraphrase translation".
· New International Version (NIV) 1973: a conservative, evangelically oriented translation from Greek and Hebrew texts.
· Good News Bible [Today's English Version] (TEV) 1966: "common language" translation from modern Greek/Hebrew texts; emphasis on effective and accurate communication to the common reader.
· New King James Version (NKJV) N.T. 1979, O.T. 1982: a revision of KJV to improve readability of text .
· New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) 1985: a revision following on the changes made in the French revision of the Bible de Jerusalem (1973) reflecting some new scholarship in research of the original texts and translations.
· New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 1989: the result of continuing revisions from the committee(s) who made RSV .
· Revised English Bible (REB) 1989: a revision of the New English Bible (1970), updating according to new scholarship in translation.
(See our study on The Credibility of the Bible)