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A Textual History of the King James Bible
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  • 10 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 400 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.91 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 220.5/2038
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: BS186 .N67 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Bible.--English--Versions--Authorized--History

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521771009 | ISBN-10: 0521771005)

DOI: 10.2277/0521771005

  • Published March 2005

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 30 November 2015)


David Norton re-edited the King James Bible for Cambridge, and this 2005 book arose from his intensive work on that project. Here he shows how the text of the most important Bible in the English language was made, and how, for better and for worse, it changed in the hands of printers and editors until, in 1769, it became the text we know today. Using evidence as diverse as the manuscript work of the original translators, and the results of extensive computer collation of electronically held texts, Norton has produced a scholarly edition of the King James Bible for the new century that will restore the authority of the 1611 translation. This book describes this fascinating background, explains Norton's editorial principles and provides substantial lists and tables of variant readings. It will be indispensable to scholars of the English Bible, literature, and publishing history.

• Companion to the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible (which revisits the original, and discards subsequent editorial alterations), prepared by the same author • Provides unique material for understanding the recognised King James Bible and the new revised version • Lists and analyses the variant readings in early printings of the King James Bible


Part I. The History: 1. Making the text; 2. Pre-1611 evidence for the text; 3. The first edition; 4. The King's printer at work, 1612–17; 5. Correcting and corrupting the text, 1629–1760; 6. Setting the standard, 1762–9; 7. The current text; Part II. The New Edition: 8. Variants and orthography; 9. Punctuation and other matters; Appendices 1-9.


'His scholarship cannot be bettered … In the face of centuries of highly coloured myths, his dogged and committed analytic detail is greatly to be welcomed.' David Daniell, University College London

'… meticulously researched and clearly written … This is a tremendous achievement and a valuable addition to biblical literature.' Contemporary Reviews

'In recounting the history of the textual transmission of the English Bible, Dr Norton has produced an impressive piece of work. Not only does he provide a mass of information on a much fuller scale than has ever been attempted before, but he presents it with admirable clarity, using such manuscript evidence as is available, and full lists and tables of variant readings as well as the resources of computer technology. In short, it is a milestone in its particular field, and other scholars and students will find it indispensable.' J. R. Porter, Church Times

'… work of awe-inspiring diligence. … one can have nothing but praise for a beautifully written and handsomely presented piece of work.' Epworth Review

'His book will be the definitive work on the subject for a long time to come, and is unlikely to be superseded unless and until significant new evidence comes to light …' Churchman

'… detailed analysis … formidable attention … an essential reference.' Religious Studies Review

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