The Story of the Matthew Bible: Part 2, The Scriptures Then and Now
Author: Ruth Magnusson Davis
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Based on fascinating new research, The Story of the Matthew Bible: Part 2, The Scriptures Then and Now looks at revisions to the translations of William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale as they were contained in the 1537 Matthew Bible, since that Bible entered the stream of English versions by serving as the base for the Great, Geneva, and King James Bibles. Davis focuses especially on revisions introduced in the Geneva Bible and 1894 Revised Version, and considers their influence on later versions. Over time, many bible verses have significantly changed in meaning; in some cases, they now say the opposite of what they said in the Matthew Bible.
With reference to a variety of 16th-century sources, Davis shows how the Matthew Bible is essentially Lutheran and Anglican in its treatment of matters such as the New Covenant and the church, whereas the Geneva version introduced new teaching and some new translations that advance Calvinistic and Puritan doctrine. A simple comparison of the Matthew and Geneva Bibles clarifies the areas of disagreement. Also, a dramatic review of forgotten history illuminates the role of the Geneva Bible in the Puritan revolution in England.
The book also examines the shift in translation theory between Martin Luther, William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale on the one hand, and the Geneva scholars who revised Tyndale and Coverdale's translations on the other. Davis makes a complicated subject simple and clear when she shows how the Geneva method of literal translation made the Old Testament more difficult to understand. She also compares the influence of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament also called the LXX) in the Matthew Bible and later versions.
Davis challenges modern scholarship insofar as it disesteems the Matthew Bible. With clear examples, she vindicates the translations of William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale. She also shows how learned John Rogers' commentaries were. By the end, the reader will regret that the Matthew Bible has been lost and forgotten.
This much-needed book is not only a fascinating new bible history, it is a lively review of historical events and personalities, and is a monument to the faithfulness of the Scriptures we first received.
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