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December 02, 2021
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King James Version
 
King James Version
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The King James Version

The Authorized King James Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible begun in 1604 and first published in 1611 by the Church of England. The Great Bible was the first 'authorized version' issued by the Church of England in the reign of King Henry VIII. In January 1604, King James I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans. The Puritans were a faction within the Church of England.

The king gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its beliefs about an ordained clergy. The translation was by 47 scholars, all whom were members of the Church of England.

In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from the Textus Receptus (Received Text) series of the Greek texts. The Old Testament was translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek Septuagint (LXX), except for 2 Esdras, which was translated from the Latin Vulgate. Thus, the Authorized Version included the Apocrypha.

While the Authorized Version was meant to replace the Bishops' Bible as the official version for readings in the Church of England, it was apparently (unlike the Great Bible) never specifically 'authorized', although it is commonly known as the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom. However, the King's Printer issued no further editions of the Bishops' Bible; so necessarily the Authorized Version supplanted it as the standard lectern Bible in parish church use in England.

In the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible, the Epistle and Gospel readings, and as such was 'authorized' by Act of Parliament. In the United States, the Authorized Version is known as the King James Version.

By the first half of the 18th Century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the sole English translation in current use in Protestant churches. Over the course of the 18th Century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars.

In most of the world, the Authorized Version has passed out of copyright and is freely reproduced. In the United Kingdom, the British Crown holds perpetual Crown copyright to the Authorized Version. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Collins have the right to produce the Authorized Version.