BIBLE. In Greek Ta Biblia is a plural expression meaning " The Books," just as we speak of " the Scrip tures," meaning the Scriptures par excellence. In Low Latin the word Biblia came to be used as a singular, and this usage has been adopted in modern languages. The English Bible is a collection of books regarded as sacred and received as canonical. It includes books of the Old and New Covenants. See OLD TESTAMENT. The Roman Catholics accept also as canonical certain books which the English Churches regard as apocryphal. These are included in their Bible (see CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT). The ordinary English Bible, bow ever, contains only the Old and New Testaments. The Apocryphal additions to the Old Testament (see APOCRYPHA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT) are only found in special editions of the whole Bible or in separate editions of the Apocrypha. In the English Versions, the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew, the New Testament from the Greek. John Wycliffe (d. 1384) was the first to concern himself about a translation of the whole Bible into English. He him self seems to have translated the whole of the New Testament and part of the Old Testament. The whole work was completed and edited by John Purvey (13537 1428?) before 1400. Nicholas de Hereford (fl. 1390). one of the leaders of the Lollards in Oxford, seems to have been responsible for the translation of a large part of the Old Testament. There are no verse-divisions in Wycliffe's Bible, but the matter is roughly divided into chapters. There are about 170 manuscripts of this Bible in existence. The first printed edition of the New Testa ment in English (1526) was the work of William Tyndale (d. 1536), who went direct to the original Greek. After wards he translated the Pentateuch (c. 1530), the follow ing books of the old Testament as far as II. Chronicles, and the Book of Jonah (1531). Large use of this version was made when the Authorised Version was prepared. and Tyndale is considered to have set a standard of biblical translation. Tyndale's New Testament was printed and published at Worms. It was not yet possible to print a translation in England. The first English Bible which the Government allowed to be sold in Eng land was the Bible of Miles Coverdale (14SS-1568). His translation seems to have been first printed by Christo pher Froschouer of Ztirich in 1535. It was introduced into England in the same year by James Nicolson of Southwark. The work was not original, the translation being based upon the Bibles of Luther and Zwingli, with the help of Latin versions (especially the Vulgate) and of Tyndale's New Testament. In 1537 Coverdale revised and modified his version, which was then authorised by the King. In the same year Matthews' Bible was published. Thomas Matthews was a name assumed by John Rogers (1500?-1555), who was afterwards burnt at Smithfield in the Marian persecution. This was really a new edition of Tyndale's translation, which was com pleted by the addition of the Old Testament books after II. Chronicles from Coverdale's version. Next appeared Taverner's Bible (153,9), which was no more than a revised edition of Matthews' Bible by Richard Taverner (1505?-1575), who weote works in support of the Reforma tion. This was followed by the Great Bible or Cranmer's Bible (1539). another revision of Matthews' Bible. The
printing of it in Paris was superintended by Miles Cover dale. It was, in fact, a revision of Matthews' Bible by Coverdale. From this Bible was taken the English version of the Psalms in the Prayer Book of the Church of England. Cromwell enjoined the use of the Great Bible in every parish church. Some years later some of the reformers who had fled to Geneva brought back the Geneva Bible (1557-1560), popularly called the " Breeches Bible," a version made by Protestant refugees. It was called the Breeches Bible because in Genesis iii. 7 in one edition it is said that Adam and Eve " sewed fig-tree leaves together, and made them selves breeches." This was for many years the most popular Bible in English homes. It was of a convenient size, and was supplied with notes. Another Bible of a later date (1568) was known as the Bishops' Bible. Mat thew Parker (1504-1575). Archbishop of Canterbury, was occupied in the publication of this, a revision of the Great Bible, for some years (1563-68). Another version of the New Testament appeared in 1582. It was made at the College of Douay to meet the needs of English-speaking Roman Catholics, and was published at Rheims. The Old Testament was published at Donay, but not until 1609-10. This version is commonly known as the Douay Bible. The next version of the Bible was the famous one undertaken in the reign of James I. It became known a-s the Authorised Version, not because it was directly and officially authorised by King, Parliament, or Con vocation, but because through its own merits it came to be regarded as authoritative. It was the work of six companies sitting at Westminster, Oxford, and Cam bridge, and was based upon the Bishops' Bible with the help of the Genevan and Douay versions. The under taking was discussed in 1604, seriously taken in hand in and completed in 1611. As Mr. Patterson truly says, it " has become a classic wherever the English tongue is spoken." He adds that " by the providence of God, it was written when the English language was in its simplest and most majestic form." But, beautiful and excellent as the Authorised Version is, yet another English version has been made necessary in recent years by the progress of scientific study. Since the time when the Authorised Version was made, much of its phraseology has become obsolete or even changed its meaning; scholars have a more thorough and accurate knowledge of the original and cognate languages of the Bible; new discoveries of ancient manuscripts, versions, and quotations have been made; and textual criticism has become a science. In June, 1570, therefore, an assembly of distinguished divines met in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey to start work upon a new version of the Bible. The New Testament was published in 18S1, and the Revised Version of the whole Bible do 1885. In 1595 was published a Revised Version of the Apocrypha (Old Testament), " being the version set forth A.D. 1611 compared with the most ancient authorities and revised A.D. 1S91." The work was done by three Committees, which were called the London, Westminster, and Cambridge Committees. See J. Pater son Smyth, How we got our Bible, 1SS9; M. W. Patter son, Hist.; the D.N.B.