The 1873 Cambridge Paragraph Bible, Forerunner to the RV. Part II
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
There are very few things that have undermined the foundations of English speaking culture more radically and effectively than the publishing of the Revised Version of the English Bible and then labeling it the Authorized Version for its first decade. I am paraphrasing Victor Hugo, but he said that England had two great books, Shakespeare and the Bible. "England made Shakespeare, but the the bible made England." By the mid 1800s the King James Bible was accepted as the de facto word of God by almost all common people.
In the mind and heart of God it was the chief reason to bless the expansion of their empire. Wherever the Union Jack was raised sturdy missionaries followed and brought the blessings of communion with God through Jesus Christ to a new populace. Winston Churchill maintained that the King James Bible was translated directly from English into over 700 different languages so great was the reach of these men and women of God, and so diverse their labor of love.
In 1881 the Revised New Testament was completed and in 1885 the Revised Old Testament was released. The shock to the English system of thought was not instantaneous. Instead it was like a man who stays too long in a radioactive chamber. He walks out feeling healthy but his sensor strip has turned black. He has taken a fatal dose. He may go home that night and dine in peace, but slowly the damage that his body has taken will convulse his body until he sickens and slowly and grievously dies. Slowly the common people of the English speaking cultures began to turn their backs on the King James Bible.
By the 1930's George and Ira Gershwin would release a track entitled "It Ain't Necessarily So" and young people all over the English speaking world happily sang;
It ain't necessarily so
It ain't necessarily so
De things dat yo' liable
to read in de Bible
It ain't necessarily so
Though it is doubtful that any of the dunderheads who sat on the RV committee realized it, and probably the Educators who proudly pushed the new thinking didn't understand the eventual consequences of what they taught, the preeminence of the King James Bible was broken in popular culture and the man on the street wasn't as stupid as religious people to buy into the new thinking that the bible used to be perfect (2000 years ago), but if you squint just right and study our new versions you'll catch glimpses of what God meant.
It is heartbreaking to study the England of the 1920s and 30s as the void in the common conscience created by the departure of the word of God as preeminent was filled with leftist sophistry, totalitarian acceptance and a general drift into political upheaval. The common backbone of cultural thought had been replaced by the relativism of humanistic thought. The three great developments in 19th century thinking were Darwin, Marx and Freud.
Those nations who crafted governments modeled after those precepts wrought hell on earth. If there is one thing that Adolph Hitler, Mao Zedong, Stalin, Lenin and Pol Pot had in common, it is that they zealously believed in Darwin and sought to intelligently guide the work of evolution. They tried to make the unworkableness of Marx's thought work (remember, Nazi meant National Socialism.) They imbued their rationalizations with psychological babble.
Those three precepts, Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudian thought would have been published regardless of what any christian said or did. What was a brilliant stroke from hell was the simultaneous undermining of the English speaking world's confidence in the word of God. That work actually started in the decade before the release of the RV when Scrivener released his 1873 Paragraph Bible.
As I said in the previous post, there were errors in the earlier printings of the King James Bible that Scrivener found and replaced. We will see that in his zeal he corrected too many but that will wait for a further post and his excessive replacements were not really the chief problem. The chief problem is that Scrivener put all of I John 5:7 into italics, indicating to his readers that it was something made up or extrapolated by the King James translators. He began to plant the seeds of doubt.
Scrivener who later was to be part of the RV fiasco, also published his bible in a paragraph rather than a versified form. Until then the very look of the bible in its versified form had been part of the bible's hold on the common culture. It served no good to break that hold. We will see in subsequent texts how accurate and how inspired the actual verse marking are and why the devil wanted so badly to undermine their role.