Bible errata

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A Bible passage written in a heavy gothic font. The name 'Judas' is partially covered by a piece of paper reading 'Jesus', which is peeling off the page and has been circled in red.
The "Judas Bible" (1613) contains a misprint in Matthew 26:36,[1] in which the name "Judas" appears instead of "Jesus". In this copy, a slip of paper has been pasted over the misprint (circled in red).[a]

Throughout history, printers' errors, unconventional translations[b] and translation mistakes have appeared in a number of published Bibles. Bibles with features considered to be erroneous are known as Bible errata, and were often destroyed or suppressed due to their contents being considered heretical by some.

Manuscript Bibles[edit]

A page from the genealogy of Jesus, in Kells

The Book of Kells, c. 800[edit]

The Book of Kells features two errors within its text:

  • The genealogy of Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, lists an extra ancestor in Luke 3:26.[2] This error is considered to have resulted from the transcriber reading the phrase "QUI FUIT MATHATHIAE" as "QUI FUIT MATHATH, with the "IAE" being considered an additional individual, resulting in the lines "QUI FUIT MATHATH" and the additional "QUI FUIT IAE", rather than the singular "QUI FUIT MATHATHIAE".[3]
  • In the Gospel of Matthew, 10:34b should read "I came not to send peace, but the sword". However, rather than the Latin gladium, meaning "sword", the Book of Kells has gaudium, meaning "joy", rendering the verse "I came not [only] to send peace, but [also] joy".[4]

The Book of Deer, 10th century[edit]

The Book of Deer has a number of errors. In the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, it has Seth as the first man and grandfather of Adam.[5]

Printed Bibles[edit]

Coverdale[edit]

  • "Bug Bible": Myles Coverdale's 1535 Bible was known as the "Bug Bible" because the fifth verse of Psalm 91 read: "Thou shall not nede to be afrayed for eny bugges by night". A competing claim to authorship comes from Stauffer's "The Queer, the Quaint, and the Quizzical", written in 1882. In this book, Stauffer claims that the Bug Bible was "printed by John Daye, 1551, with a prologue by Tyndall."[6] The "Bug Bible" has also been claimed to have been written in Middle English, in which the word bugge meant a "spectre that haunts" or a ghost;[7] in the same passage, the Geneva Bible uses the word "feare", and the King James Bible uses the word "terror". The term[which?] was actually first used by George Joye, whose translations of the Psalms were seen through the press by Coverdale before he translated the Old Testament.[8] This use of the word "bugge" was repeated in Matthew's Bible, 1537, but not in the Great Bible of 1539, where Coverdale replaced it with "terrour".

Edmund Becke's Bibles[edit]

  • "Wife-Beater's Bible" (1549; 1551): A footnote to 1 Peter 3:7,[9] inserted by Becke, reads "And if she be not obediente and healpeful unto hym, endevoureth to beate the fere of God into her heade, that thereby she may be compelled to learne her dutye and do it."[10]

The Great Bible[edit]

The Treacle Bible opened at the page of the eponymous curiosity. St Mary's Church, Banbury.

Geneva[edit]

  • "Breeches Bible" 1579: Whittingham, Gilby, and Sampson: translated in Genesis 3:7[13] as "and they sowed figge-tree leaves together, and made themselves breeches."[14] (This less-precise translation was glossed in the margin with a more accurate, albeit longer, translation.) The accepted meaning of חֲגֹרֹֽת (ḥăḡōrōṯ) is "coverings" (the KJV has "aprons").
  • "Place-makers' Bible" 1562: the second edition of the Geneva Bible, Matthew 5:9[15] reads "Blessed are the placemakers: for they shall be called the children of God"; it should read "peacemakers".[16]
    • In its chapter heading for Luke 21, the Place-makers' Bible has "Christ condemneth the poor widow", rather than "commendeth".[17]

Douai[edit]

  • "Rosin Bible" 1610: Jeremiah 8:22[18] reads "Is there noe rosen in Galaad?". Rosin ("rosen") is a brittle and sticky substance used on the bows of stringed instruments to provide friction with the strings.[19]
  • "Manchester edition" 1793: The heading on Chapter 3 of Leviticus and the first verse has "bees" rather than "beeves" (plural of beef). It reads: "How the pacifique hosts must be of bees, sheep, lambs and goats" ("pacifique hosts" meaning peace offerings).[20]

King James[edit]

The Wicked Bible renders Exodus 20:14[21] as "thou shalt commit adultery" instead of "thou shalt not commit adultery"

In various printings of the King James Version of the Bible, some of the more famous examples have been given their own names. Among them are:

  • "Judas Bible", from 1613: This Bible has Judas, not Jesus, saying "Sit ye here while I go yonder and pray" (Matthew 26:36).[22][23] A second folio edition printed by Robert Barker, printer to King James I, is held in St. Mary's Church, Totnes, Devon. In this copy, the misprint has been covered with a small slip of paper glued over the name of Judas.[c]
  • "Printers Bible", from 1612: In some copies, Psalm 119:161[24] reads, "Printers have persecuted me without a cause", rather than "Princes have persecuted me..."[25]
  • "Wicked Bible", "Adulterous Bible" or "Sinner's Bible", from 1631: Barker and Lucas: Omits an important "not" from Exodus 20:14,[26] making the seventh commandment read "Thou shalt commit adultery." An 1886 study of Star Chamber case reports suggests that this was just one of the "two grossest errors" in the printing, alongside Deuteronomy 5:24,[27] which read "the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his great-asse" instead of the correct "greatness[e]".[28] However, this second error does not appear in any extant copy of the Bible.[29] The printers were fined £300 and most of the copies were recalled immediately. Only 11 copies are known to exist today.[30]
  • "More Sea Bible", from 1641: "...the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was more sea", rather than "...the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea", from Revelation 21:1[31][32]
  • "Unrighteous Bible" or "Wicked Bible", from 1653, Cambridge Press: Another edition carrying this title omits a "not" before the word "inherit", making 1 Corinthians 6:9[33] read "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?". In addition, Romans 6:13[34] reads "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of righteousness into sin", where it should read "unrighteousness".[35]
  • "Sin On Bible", from 1716: Jeremiah 31:34[36][37] reads "sin on more" rather than "sin no more".
  • "Vinegar Bible", from 1717: J. Baskett, Clarendon Press: The chapter heading for Luke 20 reads "The Parable of the Vinegar" instead of "The Parable of the Vineyard." One reviewer called this particular edition "a Baskett full of errors," what with its being replete with numerous other specimens of typographical errata throughout. One copy sold for $5,000 in 2008.[38]
  • "The Fools Bible", from 1763: Psalm 14:1[39] reads "the fool hath said in his heart there is a God", rather than "there is no God". The printers were fined £3,000 and all copies ordered destroyed.[40]
  • "Murderer's Bible", from 1801: "Murmurers" is printed as "murderers", making Jude 16 read: "These are murderers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage."[41]
  • "To-remain Bible", from 1805: In Galatians 4:29,[42] a proof-reader had written in "to remain" in the margin, as an answer to whether a comma should be deleted. The note inadvertently became part of the text, making the edition read "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit to remain, even so it is now."[43]
  • "Standing Fishes Bible", from 1806: "Fishes" replaced "fishers" making Ezekiel 47:10[44] read "And it shall come to pass, that the fishes shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many."[45]
  • "Wife-hater Bible", from 1810: "Wife" replaces "life" in this edition, making Luke 14:26[46] redundantly read "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own wife also, he cannot be my disciple."[47]
  • "The Large Family Bible", from 1820: Isaiah 66:9[48] reads: "Shall I bring to birth and not cease to bring forth?" rather than "Shall I bring to birth and not cause to bring forth?".
  • "Rebecca's Camels Bible", from 1823: "Camels" replaces "damsels" in one instance, making Genesis 24:61[49] read "And Rebecca arose, and her camels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebecca and went his way."
  • "Affinity Bible", from 1927:[dubious ] Contains a table of family affinities that includes the line "A man may not marry his grandmother's wife."
  • "Owl Bible", from 1944: "Owl" replaces "own", making 1 Peter 3:5[50] read, "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their owl husbands." The error was caused by a printing plate with a damaged letter n.[51]

Fictional Bible errata[edit]

  • In the novel Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett created the "Buggre Alle This Bible" of 1651 (and the Charing Cross Bible). The typesetter replaced Ezekiel 48:5 with a rant complaining about his job. It also has three extra verses at the end of Genesis 3 about the loss of the flaming sword by the angel Aziraphale, added by Aziraphale himself, a character in the story.
  • In the BBC science-fiction sitcom Red Dwarf, one of the main characters, Arnold Rimmer, tells of his family belonging to an obscure fundamentalist Christian sect, the "Seventh Day Advent Hoppists". According to Rimmer – who is revealed in another episode to have the middle name Judas due to his parents' unconventional take on Christianity – the Hoppists' unique form of worship arose from a misprinted Bible wherein 1 Corinthians 13:13 reads "Faith, hop and charity, and the greatest of these is hop." The membership consequently spent every Sunday hopping. Rimmer says he never agreed with the faith, but claims to be liberal on religious matters.
  • The Poisonwood Bible is a 1998 bestselling novel by Barbara Kingsolver which mentions some of the famous "misprint Bibles" such as the Camel Bible, the Murderer's Bible, and the Bug Bible. The novel's title refers to the character of Nathan Price, a missionary in the 1950s Belgian Congo who creates his own "misprint" by mispronouncing the local expression "Tata Jesus is bängala", meaning "Jesus is most precious". In his pronunciation, he actually says "Jesus is poisonwood!"
  • In the novel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a Bible erratum plays heavily into the plot. The Bibles in question carry an extra verse (Revelation 22:22), reading "And they all lived happily ever after".

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to a note in St Mary's Church, Totnes, Cornwall
  2. ^ Note that Bibles with an unconventional overall translation style, such as an idiomatic style, a dynamic equivalence style or a paraphrasitic style, are not counted as Bible errata, as their translation and writing style is uniform throughout, instead of deviating by accident.
  3. ^ According to a note in St Mary's Church, Totnes, Cornwall

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthew 26:36
  2. ^ Luke 3:26
  3. ^ Sullivan, Edward (1920). The Book of Kells. The Studio. p. 120.
  4. ^ Nathan, George Jean Nathan; Henry Louis Mencken (1951). The American Mercury. p. 572. The compilers of the late seventh century manuscript, The Book of Kells, refused to adopt St. Jerome's phrase "I come not to bring peace but a sword." (" ... non pacem sed gladium.") To them the phrase made no sense and they altered it ...
  5. ^ Stuart, John (1869). The Book of Deer. Spalding club. pp. xxxii.
  6. ^ Stauffer - The Queer, The Quaint, & The Quizzical, 1882, p. 8, Francis Henry Shauffer
  7. ^ McNab, Chris. Ancient Legends/Folklore. New York : Scholastic, Inc., 2007. (ISBN 0-439-85479-2)
  8. ^ Charles C. BUTTERWORTH, & Allan G. CHESTER, George Joye (1495?–1553). A Chapter in the History of the English Bible and the English Reformation, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962, pp. 139–142; p. 145. n. 25. Gerald HOBBS, "Martin Bucer and the Englishing of the Psalms: Pseudonimity in the Service of Early English Protestant Piety", in D.F. WRIGHT (ed.), Martin Bucer. Reforming Church and Community, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 169–170.)
  9. ^ 1 Peter 3:7
  10. ^ Metzger, Bruce M. (2001). The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English versions (Pbk. ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. p. 64. ISBN 9780801022821. P 64.
  11. ^ Jeremiah 8:22
  12. ^ "Treacle Bible". Oxford Reference. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  13. ^ Genesis 3:7
  14. ^ "Breeches Bible". Oxford Reference. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  15. ^ Matthew 5:9
  16. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  17. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  18. ^ Jeremiah 8:22
  19. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Photographic image of page of the Bible" (JPG). Farm2.static.flickr.com. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  21. ^ Exodus 20:14
  22. ^ Matthew 26:36
  23. ^ Summon, Parminder (2006). Summon's Bible Miscellany. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 28. ISBN 9780802833907. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  24. ^ Psalm 119:161
  25. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  26. ^ Exodus 20:14
  27. ^ Deuteronomy 5:24
  28. ^ Rawson Gardiner, Samuel (1886). Reports of Cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission. Nichols and Sons. p. 305. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  29. ^ Campbell, Gordon (2010). Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611 — 2011. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199693016. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  30. ^ L. Brown, DeNeen. "The Bible Museum's 'Wicked Bible': Thou Shalt Commit Adultery". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  31. ^ Revelation 21:1
  32. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  33. ^ 1 Corinthians 6:9
  34. ^ Romans 6:13
  35. ^ Russel, Ray (1980). "The "Wicked" Bibles". Theology Today. 37 (3): 360–363. doi:10.1177/004057368003700311. S2CID 170449311. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  36. ^ Jeremiah 31:34
  37. ^ Paul, William E. (April–June 2003). "Curiosities in Bible Editions". Bible Editions & Versions. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  38. ^ "'Vinegar Bible' returns to Lunenburg". Anglican Journal. Vol. 134, no. 8. 2008-10-01. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  39. ^ Psalm 14:1
  40. ^ Toseland, Martin (2009). A Steroid Hit the Earth. Portico. p. 95. ISBN 978-1906032708.
  41. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  42. ^ Galatians 4:29
  43. ^ Summon, Parminder (2006). Summon's Bible Miscellany. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 28. ISBN 9780802833907. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  44. ^ Ezekiel 47:10
  45. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  46. ^ Luke 14:26
  47. ^ Metzger, Bruce M.; Coogan, Michael D. (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-19-974391-9. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  48. ^ Isaiah 66:9
  49. ^ Genesis 24:61
  50. ^ 1 Peter 3:5
  51. ^ Summon, Parminder (2006). Summon's Bible Miscellany. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 30. ISBN 9780802833907. Retrieved 1 December 2021.

External links[edit]