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At the second College Conference meeting last night, Mr. G. L. Kittredge of the English department spoke on the Literary Aspect of the English Bible. The English Bible, said Mr. Kittredge, did not come suddenly, but it is a growth; it grew by a series of revisions. In the Anglo-Saxon times large parts of the Bible were translated into the three dialects that the language was divided into in England. Wickliffe, who made the first translation in what may be called modern times, translated into the Midland dialect, the dialect of Chaucer. Others helped him in the task, but he probably translated most of the New Testament; and it was finished in 1384. Tyndale's translation was the next, and his was the result of the Reformation. His translation was very thorough, for he was a good Greek scholar, while Wickliffe was not. His edition met with such opposition at Cologne that he was obliged to finish its publication elsewhere. Verse after verse of Tyndale's version is retained in our English version. Later, 1537, his edition was further revised by one Matthews, who changed it, howeher, very little. Later other Bibles were published, the Geneva bible in 1560 which was widely used, the Parker Edition, published by Archbishop Parker to rival it. King James' version, published in 1611, was the great edition, and it had forty-seven transators. They took parts of the Bible in sections, and combined the various translations into a final one. There is much similarity, however, to the preceding editions of the Bible.
The result of all this process is a Bible remarkable for its simplicity and conciseness. The final version was made at a fortunate time, when the strength and beauty of the Elizabethan style was prominent, and the English vocabulary was large. The language is perhaps artificial, but that is owing to the many translations made of it, In reading the English Bible as a piece of literature, read it as a collection of stories that form pieces of literature by themselves. Read the song of Deborah (Judges, chap. v.) as an ode,-as a magnificent specimen of English literature. Read the seventh chapter of Proverbs for a sketch of manners.
In concluding, Mr. Kittredge gave a list of references to the Bible, which could be read as pieces of English literature by themselves.
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