Correspondence with a King James
Dr Thomas Holland
This first note was emailed to a site which invited any notification of errors in its publishing of the Preface to the 1611 King James Version of the Bible. The error reported is very common on the www and indicates inattention to the content of the translators words and arguments. I found this posting thru a 'link' on Dr Holland's site. Here is the site of the posting and a copy of its appearance as of late Tuesday, Feb 9, 1999:
[There will be a large number of errors in this document as the file it came from was not that good. If you come across any then please email me.]
Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold entertainment in the world. It is welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of thanks: and if there be any hole left for evil to enter, (and evil, if it do not find a hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and in danger to be condemned. This will easily be granted by as many as know story, or have any experience. For, was there ever any- projected, that savoured any way of newness or renewing, but the same endured many a storm of gainsaying, or opposition? ...
[The best things have been slandered and attacked without cause, except human nature; just as the NIV NASV and other translations of the Word of God are now being attacked by a significant portion of Fundamentalism -- these versions are being 'Caluminated', not 'Culminated'.Anyone who absorbs the first sentences of the Preface will see the inconsistency with the erroneous heading.] rg
[Date Feb 7, 1999]
I referenced you in this email:
You are very correct in suspecting errors in published "Translators to...."
I have pointed out to several sites (including Wheaton's great site) the egregious error in the first 20 words of the 'preface' as posted around the www.
The point of the first section, as well as the entire document, is to emphasize that criticism such as Dr Holland, Ruckman, Riplinger et al, dispense against all (but one) translations of Holy Writ is ill founded and springs from a perverse element in universal human character (sin nature).
Nothing good has avoided calumny; the 'Best' in life has been 'calumniated', and the pitiful practice will continue.
Even King David's wife scorned his dancing for joy -- just one instance of the translators examples that prove the ancient malady of selfish criticism.
I do not know your position. I found you through a link with Holland. What a tragedy for a good mind and soul like Holland to be dissipated in the slough of foolishness -- the very foolishness that is decried in the Preface.
The whole thing fills me with aching sadness.
Roy Greenhill, Sr.
[Date, Feb 8, 1999]
Dear Brother Roy,
In your letter you say of me,
>> The point of the first section, as well as the entire document, is to
emphasize that criticism such as Dr Holland, Ruckman, Riplinger et al,
dispense against all (but one) translations of Holy Writ is ill founded and
springs from a perverse element in universal human character (sin nature).<<
You then state:
>>I do not know your position. I found you through a link with Holland. What a
tragedy for a good mind and soul like Holland to be dissipated in the slough
of foolishness -- the very foolishness that is decried in the Preface.<<
If I am reading you correctly, you have either called or associated me with
perverseness and foolishness. My brief response is to say that I do not engage
in personal criticism, name calling, or attacks of this nature. If you wish
to discuss content, that is another thing and would be delighted to do so as
time permits. May the Lord bless as you labor for Him.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Dr. Thomas Holland
My reply to Dr Holland:(Dr Holland, judging from his picture with Dr White and his sensitivity to my language, must be a gentleman of civil habits. He is fortunate to be the side of this debate where no one is receiving the verbal abuse of the individuals reference in my first communication -- and others could be referenced. And I was most sincere when I attempted to praise him in the initial email.)
[Date, Feb 9, 1999]
Re: 'Perverse' 'Foolish'
Thanks for your reply.
I apologize for not being clear: brevity did not serve me well. I have read enough on this subject to have a strong distaste for name calling.
My point in employing those words was to relay the thought of Miles Smith in the Preface. It is my impression from reading his arguments that he is saying that the inclination to criticize new translations (and all "The Best" innovations) is an inbred element of our (my) human (sinful) condition that we (I) must give a studied effort to avoid. "Perverse" and "foolish" is what we (I) are inclined to be. On the other hand, 'Simple' and 'foolish' 'childish' (or other negatives) describe us when we swallow any and every "wind of doctrine". But I think Dr Miles Smith was limiting his thoughts to the first problem.
Concerning the correction I offered in my first message: I have noticed that many have posted (most likely re-posted) the erroneous caption about the "Best" being "Culminated" instead of the correct reading 'Calumniated'. Does this not display, in some degree, an inability to comprehend Dr Smith's words in the very first paragraph? Maybe it says something about the difficulty of archaic syntax. I would favor the opinion that it points to the power of assumption; 'Surely the Translators could not be arguing against my position'! I think that this is exactly what the Translators are doing, Dr Holland: they are arguing against the position that any translation is God's Word to the exclusion of other translations.
Dr Holland, you, most likely, have never heard of me, but I am a devotee of he King James and some newer translations, such as John Wesley's NT and the NIV. I believe exactly as John Wesley on these matters. I know of a Fundamentalist Methodist Church where Wesley would not be permitted in the pulpit because he did not hold to the exclusive view of the KJV. There is blood-lust in some KJV only camps for the death of my alma mater, BJU. These situation deserves clear renunciation.
"Aching sadness' is my feeling toward you and the several (many) very good men who claim that the King James Bible is under attack and that it alone is the Word of God (indeed, some seem not to be very nice and good, and I do not want that odor on my views). I certainly appreciate your dedication to civility, and am eager to clarify my attitude.
The King James is eternal. Even Harry Truman called all attempts to improve it 'prissy". It is not under attack. People who enjoy reading modern translations are not enemies of the KJV -- or tools of the ubiquitous "Conspiracy'. I, personally, rejected a very big publishing contract because I insisted on using the King James. But I do feel that the entire testimony of Christianity is under attack from the KJV only position. People are being injured in a most horrible degree. Dr Holland, this is true. You are championing a cause that is bringing much heartache and sorrow. It is not an innocent excursion in theory.
Many wonderful folk are deeply moved by the Shroud of Turin, the Bible Codes and such. Almost all are simple, hungry souls thirsting for God. But the leaders who permit them to embrace such props do disservice and do deserve some criticism. The KJV only exclusivists set up an idol out of the minor ('bye and bye' instead of 'straightway'), and some almost major ('Bishop' Easter, my strength comes from 'the hills' etc) shortcomings of a translation. All of Christendom, and all literate humanity honor the KJV, but only a certain few make its shortcomings an issue of exclusion and vituperation.
The King James reached the most glorious heights on any written document when Handel set it to music -- or rather, more accurately, the King James Scriptures set Handel to music, and through Handel the whole world. I have a page dedicated to that. Http://tks.org/HANDEL/Messiah.htm
That beautiful first sentence of St Luke. Just last night I posted it on a new James Stalker page. I think Stalker's Life of Christ may be the greatest literary achievement outside the KJV. http://www.tks.org/stalkers_life_of_christ.htm
I am building a page on the 17th Century that illustrates how prone the fundamentalist Pilgrims and Roundheads (than whom there were no greater men of that or any century) were to reject the KJV. But they could not comprehend how an ecumenically sponsored translation, created under the rules dictated by a dictatorial and immoral King --arch enemy of Republicanism- could be any thing but ill-boding. They were so wrong, so right and so great. We owe our nation to them -- and their inferior Geneva Bible. And, we owe some of our most treasured renditions in the King James to a High Church Bishop.
I beg you, humbly and earnestly, to reconsider this issue.
Sincerely your friend,