Recently, Timothy Berg and Mark Ward made a video, and Timothy put a post up on his Facebook page about it.
I commented as follows:
There are multiple statements and implications from both The Translators to the Reader and the Epistle Dedicatory which point to the idea that the KJB makers thought their work was right, good and perfect. (Not made by special inspiration, but due to providence.)
Sadly, Mark Ward likes to engage in word games which includes trying to make out as if words written in 1611 do not mean what they mean.
Also, since Mark Ward has an agenda of undermining the correctness and reliability of the KJB, his motivation would be to ensure that the KJB men are not to be read as saying what they said, but perversely saying what Mark Ward wishes them to say (i.e. the opposite).
“Remember the advice of Nazianzene, It is a grievous thing (or dangerous) to neglect a great fair, and to seek to make markets afterward”.
Then Timothy Berg made a number of claims in two lengthy posts, beginning with this, I quote him here in italic typeface: I would love to see these “multiple statements and implications” that point to the idea that the KJB Translators “thought their work was … perfect.”
To which I made two replies (and I’ve corrected a few typos I made on Facebook):
The KJB makers state, “For by this means it cometh to pass, that whatsoever is sound already, … the same will shine as gold more brightly, being rubbed and polished; also, if any thing be halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original, the same may be corrected, and the truth set in place.”
Their translation was to keep that which was good from other translations, and to improve upon them, even making the analogy of gold being bright, rubbed and polished, hence, a picture of supremacy above all others at least, if not perfection.
And, again, they did not speak in the relativist terms of modernists, but spoke of having the truth set in place, in other words, full accuracy, and that surely is perfection of translation.
They write, “that out of the Original Sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own, and other foreign Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue”.
Now however you read, if one “more exact translation”, or “one more” “exact translation”, the meaning of the former means it was supreme to others, the latter means one more translation only, which is the exact translation. In either case, the word “exact” speaks of perfection, and if the KJB is “more exact” or else the “exact”, that is surely higher than and certainly counter to the view of modernists.
They also state, “And now at last, by the mercy of God, and the continuance of our labours, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hopes that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby”.
From this we can see they did not expect to fail but rather see the increase, and that the conclusion being both the KJB and the fruits it would produce, is treated in a proto-millenarian light.
They write, “So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness”.
Clearly, they disagreed with the Romanists, but the accusation is telling, for though apparently poor instruments, the outworking was to make God’s truth more and more known, meaning the level of increase and of alignment to accuracy, and supremacy, is obvious.
They also state, “Yet for all that, as nothing is begun and perfected at the same time, and the latter thoughts are thought to be the wiser: so, if we building upon their foundation that went before us, and being holpen by their labours, do endeavour to make that better which they left so good; no man, we are sure, hath cause to mislike us; they, we persuade ourselves, if they were alive, would thank us.”
Notice here the reference to finishing the work of translation holistically. If Tyndale began, the KJB men finished. They use the word perfected, meaning that they thought it, well, perfect.
If the Bishops’ or Geneva was good, theirs was better, and better means superior. The KJB surmounted all. Since it perfected the former translations, it now cannot be improved upon.
Sometimes, those who have set themselves against the KJB like to quote this part: “Therefore as St Augustine saith, that variety of translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is not so clear, must needs do good; yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.”
This is not to be read to doubt the KJB maker’s work, but shows the principle that the KJB men themselves following, in consulting the Fathers, other translations, etc., to decided upon their work, and then, to set the variation in the margin so that the reader could check their work.
The KJB men spoke of “finding out of the sense”, which is really the opposite of the modernist approach. The modernist wants there to be multiplicity and only statistical certainty rather than singularity and absolute certainty. But the KJB men presented their work as the sense found out, so to speak, and as the clarification of doubtful places. (They didn’t hide these, they placed the variant translations in the margin.)
The translators conclude, “O receive not so great things in vain: O despise not so great salvation.”
A good, exact and perfect translation is indeed a great thing. To have the word of God properly in English is a great salvation indeed.
And, “It is a grievous thing (or dangerous) to neglect a great fair, and to seek to make markets afterwards”.
That is, upon having opportunity to partake of that which is actually providentially ordained of God, some foolishly have rejected the KJB’s rightness and perfection, seeking now to obtain after the day of visitation. Thus, the KJB men spoke prophetically of what the modernists have done, in that they say that all translations are but imperfect and having neglected the KJB, are now floundering in the famine of modernism and its idol of imperfection onlyism.
And the second post immediately following:
The modernist arguments against the KJB’s rightness, goodness, exactness and perfection are refutable.
- It is argued by modernists that because the originals were viewed as perfect, a translation could not be perfect.
However, the KJB men consistently treat the word translated as representing the very Word.
Decades afterwards, the Westminster Puritans stated, “But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.”
Thus, the view was that the translation represented the Scripture, for it was clearly the translation used in worship, etc., and the translation was called “Scriptures”.
Seeing that the Puritans of the 1650s only officially printed the KJB, that is again providential evidence of what translation was accepted as representing, i.e. really being, Scripture.
- It is argued that the fact of “errors of translation” existing in former Protestant translations somehow negates any translation is, or that any translation could be, perfect. (And since Romanists said that the Vulgate was a perfect translation, surely their being wrong must make that any claim for a Protestant is wrong also.)
I have in the previous post quoted the KJB men arguing that their work corrected former errors of translation.
The view that essentially no translation can be perfect is a modernist maxim based on Enlightenment philosophy.
And the Catholics were wrong to claim both textual and translational accuracy for the Vulgate, for they claimed inspiration for it, but the KJB men’s argument for the goodness, rightness, exactness, perfection and supremacy (to other translations) of their translation is based on a providentialist argument (or really providentialist matrix of arguments, in brief, that God is at work in history, that they are by their works bringing about improvement and that they believe that the good hand of the Lord was upon them, etc).
The KJB men state, “we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.”
(Thus, the reason why the Koran and the Vulgate are not perfect is because the KJB is. Whereas a modernist, formulating upon Enlightenment ideas, will say, “Translations of necessity have errors [so therefore all claims for] Textual Absolutism [and translational absolutism is and] was mistaken.”)
- That the KJB men identified “spots” in former translations is not a tacit admission of their expecting “spots” in their own work. They simply do not imply this is the case in any way any where in their Preface or Epistle.
Instead, our interlocutor labours the point that Hebrew and Greek are being the sources of English translation, this being a point no one denies.
The providentialist view is that even though Protestants can be found here and there to say that they think that Hebrew and Greek are masters to the English, the result has been that the KJB has become the sole heir. This is something which all the manifestations of Providence reveal.
Whether some translator felt anything in the moment of doing his work is irrelevant. That he believed something, that grain of a seed that translating under King James a good thing, this has flourished to a tree which has far outgrown, indeed caused the entire supersuccession of, the former Hebrew and Greek masters.