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New Testament Studies: KJV

Resources available at Yale Divinity Library for New Testament studies.

Introduction to the KJV

The translation of the King James Version (KJV), or King James Bible (KJB), or today's Authorized Version (AV), was completed in 1611 under the imposition and printing of King James Charles Stuart (VI/I). King James found earlier translations insufficient for his ecclesiastical intentions for the Church of England.  

Two panels of scholars produced the New Testament portion of the Bible from the Greek. The second Oxford company translated the gospels and Acts. The second Westminster company translated the epistles. They used the Greek text of Theodore Beza and Textus Receptus. 

Puritan language was excised (Bishop's Bible was a reference point), as were marginalia. Footnotes with variant readings and more literal renderings numbered in the thousands. Thousands of cross-references were added.

The KJV had an incalculable effect on the English language. Translators avoided contemporary idiom to produce a "timeless" diction. Its now-archaic words (it came to pass, ye, thou, verily, -eth) still bring immense pleasure when read aloud. 

However, this translation was produced for a Greek text no longer in favor. 

KJV Permissions Policy

Under USA jurisdiction, the KJV falls in the public domain. Quotations and use do not require formal permissions. 

Publications under United Kingdom jurisdiction using the KJV (aka the Authorized Version) must follow permissions requirements. For educational or liturgical purposes, a maximum of 500 verses may be used, provided that the extent of usage does not incorporate a complete book of the NT book or 25% of its target material. The following acknowledgement must be included with any usage: 

  • Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

For noncommercial materials (e.g. bulletins), acknowledgement may be omitted but "(KJV)" must follow quotations. For more consult:

 

KJV at YDL Special Collections

YDL Special Collections grants students access to materials from KJV times. Consider the following: