Did Blayney Retranslate?
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,
1st Corinthians 4:2.
It has now been more than a decade since my wife and I made our series of treks to the New York Branch of the American Bible Society to examine their extensive collection of King James Bibles. At the time, my principal purpose was to identify the the origins of the Pure Cambridge Text as we know it today.
Because their library contains the largest collection of bibles in North America, and because they have preserved generations of bibles in climatically controlled vaults, we were able to examine bibles printed hundreds of years ago. Using the Herbert Catalogue of Printed Bibles: 1525-1961 we identified copies of the 1629 Cambridge Bible (Herbert Catalogue #433 printed in 1630), the 1638 Cambridge Bible (Herbert #520), The Bishop Lloyd Bible of 1701 (Herbert #867), the F. S. Paris Bible 0f 1762, both editions (Herbert #1142 and #1143), and the Blayney Bible of 1769 (Herbert #1196).
We also examined subsequent printings done by The Cambridge University Press as J. Archdeacon their printer slowly conformed the Cambridge Bible to the Oxford (Blayney Bible). By just randomly pulling Oxford Bibles off of the shelf as they were sequentially placed according to their year of printing, we were able to identify the current Oxford Text printed today as having originated between the 1893 and 1894 printings.
We were not able to ascertain the advent of the current Cambridge Text because the American Bible Society did not have a similar row of Cambridge Bibles printed at the time of the two University Printers' divergence. It took subsequent detective work using pamphlets printed at Cambridge's celebratory 300th centennial of printing the King James Bible, statements made by The New York Office of the Cambridge University Press in 1985, a letter written to David Norton, the three volume history of the Cambridge University Press by David McKitterick, and A.W. Pollard's book Records of the English Bible.
These things are documented in my book, Further Thoughts on the Word of God: Revised Edition.
As we collated the several versions, it became more and more obvious that each of the editors who sought to purify the printed text of the bible over the years did not start from scratch. Quite often we would see a misprint in one bible that was carried over into the next generation of printed bibles. Each editor showed consistent evidence of using a King James Bible or group of King James Bibles sitting before them as opposed to using the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts.
Recently, Steve Avery, one of the Administrators of the King James Bible Debate on Facebook contacted me concerning an error in the 1769 Blayney Bible. He pointed out that Blayney failed to correct a misprint from the 1611 printing of the King James Bible in Genesis 18:27. When Blayney saw the verse in the 1611, it read; And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, which am but dust and ashes. King James Bibles today read Lord.
That was a printer's error. Abraham did not use the term Jehovah there. Spelling LORD with all upper case letters is how the King James Translators signaled their readers that they had translated the word Jehovah. Had Blayney gone back to the original Hebrew to translate, he would not have used all capital letters. Genesis 18:27 is direct internal evidence that Blayney did not retranslate the bible. He copied what was in front of him. When the source bibles that he used all had the same printers' error, he copied that error.
As he said in his letter explaining his work, he used an original 1611 bible, the Bishop Lloyd Bible of 1701, and the F.S. Paris Bible of 1762. He collated those three bibles to get his bible. He specifically stated that he only used Greek and Hebrew to make sure the use of italics was accurate and to improve readings in the margin which gave the translation of words copied directly out of the Greek and Hebrew into the text of our King James Bible.
Anathema Maranatha of 1st Corinthians 16:22 being an example of such. The translators chose to copy the exact words of Paul into the bible without translating them. Blayney gave a translation of such in the margin.
Benjamin Blayney did not retranslate the bible in giving us the 1769 Oxford Bible. His own words and countless internal evidences are available to demonstrate that. That will not stop the shallowly educated scholars of our day from repeating it, but it can be demonstrated to any and all who desire truth.
It remains a mystery to me how and when the King James Bibles of the later half of the 19th century corrected that defect. A bible printed by Cambridge in the late 1800s that I have kept on my shelf has the correct reading. Until Steve Avery pointed out Genesis 18:27, I had been under the impression that it read just like the Blayney Bible and in most places it does. The King James Bible Debate on Facebook with its contributors, and its very able administrators is an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the King James Bible.