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A Perfect Text? Part II

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

There have been two times when an editor has spent time and rewritten the rules for spelling, punctuation and capitalization. The first was in 1762 when F.S. Parris published the results of 7 years of collating all existing printings, the Cambridge translator's notes and the new English rules for spelling, punctuation and capitalizations as put forth by such men as Jonathan Swift and Dr. Ben Johnson.

It was done again 7 years later by Benjamin Blaney. Each man utilized a deep understanding of the mechanics of language and of English. Each man spent seven years of study and collating all existing texts before updating the spelling, punctuation and capitalizations. Either man would have had a better grip on the structure of the English language before entering college than just about any graduate of the average little bible institute of today has.

After that, there were two times when learned men carefully combed through the work of those two men carefully scrutinizing each word to restore the King James Bible to what that original handwritten manuscript had said but now, in a modern font and style. The first of those was Scrivener who published the spurious paragraph bible being reprinted today. It was a forerunner to the RV in its attitude towards 1 John 5:7 and introduced a disregard for the importance of a versified bible. Nevertheless Scrivener caught mistakes left in by Parris and by Blayney. He also introduced new ones. He published all of his changes in Appendix C of his Paragraph Bible and is republished today in a book entitled The Authorized Edition Of The English Bible (1611) Its Subsequent Reprints and Modern Representatives .

It took A.W. Pollard to root out Scrivener's mistakes, incorporate his improvements and to give us the text we know today as the Pure Cambridge Text. He left us an account of Scriveners errors in his book entitled Documents of The English Bible. Just who was A.W. Pollard? Pollard first began to make a name for himself in English circles with his editing of old English works such as Chaucer's Prologue and Knight's Tale. His work along with W.W. Greg on the Canterbury Tales for Macmillan Press caused a stir within the literary community of England. (A History of Cambridge University Press Volume Three by David McKitterick page 160)

Pollard was hired by Cambridge University Press to put the AV 1611 back in print after a series of failures. The Paragraph Bible had been a failure and the RV had been a failure. The plates for the Blayney Text had been melted and used for munitions in WWI. Pollard approached the task of the Word of God like he did his earlier collations of all existing Chaucer manuscripts and their subsequent publishing. He was meticulous and exacting. He gathered all the hitherto fore uncollated documents of the English Bible and set about to finally purge all spelling errors, spurious word choices and punctuation and to reset the King James Bible in the format and text we know today. He hired Bruce Rogers to create the font we know today.

What throws modern historians today and misleads them is that in 1929 Cambridge University Press published a pamphlet entitled 300 Years of Printing The Authorized Version of the Holy Bible at Cambridge, 1629-1929. It is a relatively short pamphlet produced by some publicity person or another and it gets the facts wrong. It tells its readers that the text Cambridge is printing is the Scrivener Text. That is wrong. Don't take my word for it, go pull up a Scrivener Paragraph Bible and compare it to your Cambridge Bible. It is not the same text. Go pull up the pamphlet. It's on the web. They were wrong.

The problem with that error is that in 1985 Jerry Hooper of Cambridge University Press wrote a famous letter to Dr. Daniel Harden of Monroe, Michigan in which he informs Dr. Harden that he investigated the "S" of 1John 5:7 and found out that they had been printing it wrong all of these years. He went back and found his mistake. Well, if he had been more diligent he would have seen that the stock history that his institution kept was wrong. Cambridge had not printed the Scrivener text in over a century and when they had it had flopped. Nevertheless gullible American editors wave that letter around and edit at will.

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