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King James Bible (London, 1611), 1st ed., “He” issue.

Numerous Scripture passages seemed to affirm the stability of the Earth and the mobility of the Sun, including Psalm 104:5. Would the principle of accommodation, as defended by Augustine, Aquinas or Calvin, imply that these passages should be interpreted with reference only to how nature appears to the eye?

Passages which implied the Sun moves and the Earth stands still, unless one invokes the principle of accommodation, include: Psalm 93:1; Psalm 104:5; Ecclesiastes 1:4-5; Ps 19:4-6; Joshua 10:12-13; Isaiah 38:7. 

This is the rare first issue of the first edition. Ruth 3:15 reads: “he went into the citie.” This was a typographical misprint, and was soon corrected to “she went into the citie.” The Bizzell Bible Collection also holds a copy of the “She issue,” which are more numerous.

In contrast to the Geneva Bible, the first edition of the King James Bible is altar-sized, rather than hand-held. When we open it up, notice the return to a Gothic font, appropriate for a Bible that was designed to be read by bishops in the Church rather than by laity in their homes or taverns.  

The King James adopted the same verse divisions as the Geneva Bible, with plenty of cross-references, but no theological annotations. James intended to replace the subversive Geneva Bible with an English translation that was cleaned up, replacing troublesome words such as “congregation” with more traditional translations like “church.” Above all, as a King of England with a thick Scottish accent, James desired a translation with rhythm and cadence that would sound beautiful when read aloud on solemn occasions.

This section correcting the misprint in Ruth was reprinted in 1613, perhaps after some pages were lost in a flood or warehouse fire.

Galileo's World Exhibition Location

Source: Bizzell Bible Collection

Section: The Bible and Science

Section Number: 1

Object Number: 5

Subject Area(s): Religious Studies, History of the Book, History, Literature

Time Period: 17th Century

Region(s): Europe, England

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