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The 1769 Blayney Edition

April 20, 2017

     When the 1762 Parris Edition was released by Cambridge the Clarendon Press (Oxford's printing arm) realized that their century long dominance of the English Bible trade was in serious jeopardy.  Cambridge had produced a well edited and well printed bible that was far more convenient to read.  They enlisted the services of Benjamin Blayney who undertook his own seven year project.  

     He had been commissioned to collate three sources.  He was to cross check the original 1611 bible, the Bishop Lloyd Bible of 1701 (Oxford's version of the 1638 Cambridge) and he was to compare a 1762 Parris Bible.  The Bible that he eventually edited was to be the bible of the American Revolution, the expansion of the American Continent, the Victorian Era and it was the King James Bible that the common man knew from 1769 through the first World War.

     There is more known about this edition and its editing then any other edition because Blaney left a short written record as to what he had done.  Naturally, the critics of the King James Bible seize upon what Blaney wrote and wrestle it to make it say what they want it to say.  It is commonly taught that Blayney retranslated the King James Bible.  

     One phrase in particular has been trimmed to make it say exactly what bible critics want it to say.  “Frequent recourse had been made as to the Hebrew and Greek originals”.  Left to itself the reader could only conclude that Dr. Blayney retranslated.  The actual quote continues, “ and as on other occasions, so with a special regards to the words not expressed in the Original Language, but which our Translators have thought fit to insert in Italics, in order to make out the sense after the English idiom, or to preserve the connexion.” 

    One of the commissions of any editor was to make sure that all words supplied by translators to make a meaning clear be put in italics.  As an editor Blaney reexamined the Greek and Hebrew scriptures to make sure that his use of italics was correct.   

     In other words he made recourse to the original languages to perfect the use of italics.  He goes on to say that he was dissatisfied with some of Dr. Paris’ work in this regard.  He also made use of the original languages to improve marginal notes.  “Many of the proper names being left untranslated, whole etymology was necessary to be known, in order to a more perfect comprehension of the allusions in the text, the translation of them, under the inspection of the above named committee, as seen for the benefit of the unlearned supplied in the margin”.

     One benefit of good marginal notes in a King James Bible is that when a proper name is rendered in english it is not translated.  It is merely written in the English text in our alphabet.  A good set of marginal notes will give the reader the translation of those names.  That is all Blayney did in regards to translation.  Blayney's work perfected Parris's work.  He once again launched Oxford as the preeminent bible publisher in England.    Blayney gave us the 4th purification of the King James Bible.   

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