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OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
TRANSLATED OUT OF THE ORIGINAL TONGUES
BEING THE VERSION SET FORTH A.D. 1611
COMPARED WITH THE MOST ANCIENT AUTHORITIES AND REVISED
Newly Edited by the American Bevision Committee
Thomas Nelson & Sons
37 EAST 18TH STREET
This Standard American Edition of the Revised Version of the Bible,
and of the Old Testament Company.
A FEW statements need to be made respecting the origin of this edition of the Revised Version of the English Bible.
In the course of the joint labors of the English and American Revisers it was agreed that, respecting all points of ultimate difference, the English Companies, who had had the initiative in the work of revision, should have the decisive vote. But as an offset to this, it was proposed on the British side that the American preferences should be published as an Appendix in every copy of the Revised Bible during a term of fourteen years. The American Committee on their part pledged themselves to give, for the same limited period, no sanction to the publication of any other editions of the Revised Version than those issued by the University Presses of England.
There still remained the possibility that the British Revisers, or the University Presses, might eventually adopt in the English editions many, or the most, of the American preferences, in case these should receive the approval of scholars and the general public. But soon after the close of their work in 1885 the English Revision Companies disbanded; and there has been no indication of an intention on the part of the Presses to amalgamate the readings of the Appendix, either wholly or in part, with the text of the English editions.
The American Revision Committee, after the publication of the Revised Version in 1985, resolved to continue their organization, and have regarded it as a possibility that an American recension of the English Revision might eventually be called for. Accordingly they have been engaged more or less diligently, ever since 1885, and especially since the year 1897, in making ready for such a publication. The judgment of scholars, both in Great Britain and in the United States, has so far approved the American preferences that it now seems to be expedient to issue an edition of the Revised Version with those preferences embodied in the text.
If the preparation of this new edition had consisted merely in the mechanical work of transferring the readings of the Appendix to the text, it would have been a comparatively easy task. But the work was in point of fact a much more elaborate one. The Appendix was itself in need of revision; for it had been prepared under circumstances which rendered fulness and accuracy almost impossible. This work could of course not be taken in hand until the revision was concluded ; and since it required a careful consideration of discussions and decisions extending over a period of many years, there was need of many months' time, if the Appendix was to be satisfactorily constructed, especially as it was thought desirable to
reduce the number of recorded differences, and this required the drawing of a sharp line between the more and the less important. Manifestly such a task would be one of no little difficulty at the best. But when the time came for it to be done, the University Presses deemed that the impatient demand of the British public for the speedy publication of the Revision must be respected ; and they insisted on a prompt transmission of the Appendix. Prepared under such pressure and in such haste, it was obviously inevitable that it should be marked by grave imperfections; and the correction of its errors and the supplementing of its defects has been a work of much time and labor.
When the Appendix was originally prepared, an effort was made to pave the way for an eventual acceptance of the American preferences on the part of the English Presses, by reducing the number of the points of difference to the lowest limit, and thus leaving out much the larger part of the emendations which the Revisers had previously by a two-thirds vote pronounced to be in their opinion of decided importance. In now issuing an American edition, the American Revisers, being entirely untrammelled by any connection with the British Revisers and Presses, have felt themselves to be free to go beyond the task of incorporating the Appendix in the text, and are no longer restrained from introducing into the text a large number of those suppressed emendations.
The remainder of this Preface has especial reference to the Old Testament. Nothing needs to be said about the various particular proposals which are found in the Appendix of the English Revised Version. But some remarks may be made concerning the General Classes of changes, therein specified, and also concerning those emendations in this edition which are additional to those prescribed in the Appendix. : 1. The change first proposed in the Appendix – that which substitutes “Jehovah” for “Lord" and “GOD” (printed in small capitals)- is one which will be unwelcome to many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced. But the American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries. This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii, 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people ; - not merely the abstractly “ Eternal One" of many French translations, but the ever living Helper of those who are in trouble. This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim.
The uniform substitution of “Sheol” for “the grave," " the pit," and “hell,” in places where these terms have been retained by the English Revision, has little need of justification. The English Revisers use “Sheol" twenty-nine times out of the sixty-four in which it occurs in the original,