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Revised Version

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The Revised Version (or English Revised Version) of the Bible is a late 19th-century British revision of the King James Version of 1611. The New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1895.

The stated aim of the RV's translators was "to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary," and "to adapt it to the present standard of Biblical scholarship." Further, it was to be "the best version possible in the nineteenth century, as King James' version was the best which could be made in the seventeenth century." To those ends, the Greek text used to translate the New Testament was of higher reliability than the Textus Receptus used for the KJV.

While the text of the translation itself is widely regarded as excessively literal and flat, the Revised Version is significant in the history of English Bible translation for many reasons. At the time of the RV's publication, the nearly 300-year old King James Version was still the only viable English Bible in Victorian England, and its text was becoming increasingly obsolete. The RV, therefore, is regarded as the forerunner of the entire modern translation tradition. Other important enhancements introduced in the RV include arrangement of the text into paragraphs, printing Old Testament poetry in indented poetic lines (rather than as prose), and the inclusion of marginal notes to alert the reader to variations in wording in ancient manuscripts.

The American Standard Version of 1901, while begun as an American revision of the RV, is largely identical to it, with the most readily noticeable difference being the use of the word Jehovah rather than the traditional "the LORD" to represent the Divine Name, the Tetragrammaton.


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