"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 11, Number 12, December 2008

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”  Job 32:17-21

 

“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”

Earl of Kent

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org]

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True Repentance

 

“The Greek word translated ‘repent’ means change your mind.  In the religious use, it means to change from sin to holiness, from the world’s service to God.  Whoever really does this will feel deep sorrow for the sin he has committed, and will at once go to reforming his life.  So it is often said that repentance includes sorrow for sin and reformation.  But the exact idea of the Greek word is the change of mind, deciding to turn from sin to God.  Many lay too exclusive a stress on grief, and on feeling in general. . . . Only the believing will truly repent, only the penitent will fully believe the gospel.”

John A. Broadus

Commentary on the Gospel of Mark, p. 16

(Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1905)

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“Giving Your Best for the Master”: Advice from John A. Broadus

 

“Dr. John A. Broadus [1827-1895] used to close his last lecture to the class in Homiletics in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a plea for the young ministers to do their very best for Jesus’ sake.  And then, with tears in his eyes and in the eyes of the pupils, he begged that they would do just a bit better for their old teacher’s sake.”

A. T. Robertson, Paul’s Joy in Christ

Fleming H. Revell, 1917; p. 113

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BOOK REVIEW

 

Commentary on the Gospel of Mark by John A. Broadus.  Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1905.  148 pp., hardback. [original edition, 1882]

 

A year ago, I recounted in As I See It 10:12 (“Gold is Where You Find It”), my serendipitous acquisition of a copy of John A .Broadus’ commentary on the Gospel according to Mark, a book that I had once foolishly failed to buy when opportunity presented itself, and for which I had ever since long sought, all in vain.

 

In mid-October of this year, partly in preparation for a seminary course on the Life of Christ which I am scheduled to teach in early 2009, I decided to read through this brief commentary in conjunction with the reading of the Greek text, and four Romanian translations.  This project took all of five weeks and more, spending one or two, and rarely three days on a given chapter, and missing a few days along the way.  While heighten expectations in approaching a book sought for 30 years would suggest large room for disappointment, let me say that the wait was more than compensated for by Broadus’ excellent study of this often-neglected Gospel. 

 

Designed as a guide for Sunday school teachers and not technical scholars, the commentary, preceded by a brief but good introduction, is written on a “popular” but not trite level.  Broadus distills his own extensive learning into informative, enlightening paragraph after paragraph.  He comments on grammar, customs, culture, context, parallels, and the differences between the KJV and the just-then issued English Revised Version (1881)--both versions in parallel grace the top of the page--, the KJV invariably faring the worse in the comparison (and justifiably so).  Broadus is a committed inerrantist, always defending the integrity and credibility of the book, especially in those places where difficulties and alleged contradictions are pointed out by anti-supernaturalists.  Broadus, a-millennial in eschatology, will occasionally be tripped up in his interpretation of prophetic passages in Mark due to this perspective, though such passages are not numerous.

 

For each section, Broadus offers a series of practical observations and applications, and occasionally helpful bibliography to assist the Bible class teacher in his preparation.  Numerous engraved illustrations of places--19th century, pre-modern-development views--and things are included with the text.

 

Two appendices by B. B. Warfield and Theodore Woolsey on the question regarding the genuineness of 16:9-20 as an original part of Mark are included (Broadus originally was undecided on the issue, but after writing this commentary became more settled in concluding that it was not genuine).  They conclude, as do I, that Mark ended anciently (for whatever reason) at 16:8, and the section in vv. 9-20 was added  from some non-Markan document, dating not later than the mid- to early-second century (and showing evidence of dependence on the canonical Gospels of Luke and John). [There is one notable printer’s error in the Woolsey appendix--in transcribing the writer’s “v. 10,” “v. 11, “ and “v. 12”--i.e., “verse 10”, “verse 11”, and “verse 12”--someone, either editor or type-setter, mistook the “v” each time for Roman numeral “five”, resulting in the printed text nonsensically reading “5:10,” “5:11,” and “5:12.”] 

 

I would gladly and most highly recommend the acquisition of this brief work, but am unable to inform the reader just where he might go to find it.  Almost the only hope is for someone to reprint the work.  Some indeed in recent years have reprinted several of Broadus’ out-of-print works.  We can hope that they will have the wisdom and means to reprint this one also, making it once again generally accessible.

---Doug Kutilek

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Selected quotes from Commentary on the Gospel of Mark by John A. Broadus--

 

“[T]he pagan and Romish sentiment as to ‘perpetual virginity’ surely does not deserve more respect than the scriptural honor ascribed to marriage (Heb. 13:4) and maternity.” (p. 30)

 

“We sometimes think ourselves neglected and perishing when the dear Lord is on the point of giving us a most blessed deliverance.” (p. 39)

 

“The customs of our churches are not binding unless they are Scriptural.” (p. 62)

 

“Modern textual criticism is no altering Scripture, but simply removing alterations made long ago.” (p. 63)

 

“Observe that Jesus was thoroughly human, and when hungry would look about for food in natural ways; he never wrought miracles for his personal benefit.” (p. 92)

 

“But forgive, as commonly used by us, is an ambiguous term.  In the full sense, involving the restoration of a man to our confidence and affection, we cannot, must not forgive till he repents of the wrong done us.  Thus Luke 17:3, ‘And if he repents, forgive him.”  (Reiterated in v. 4)  In the weaker sense of the term, that we bear the wrong-doer no malice, seek no revenge, and are ready to do him a kindness if he needs it, we ought to forgive whether he has repented or not.  God’s own course illustrates our duty.  God does not forgive a sinner, in the full sense of the term, till he repents; but he loves his enemies--not indeed as he loves his friends--but so that he gives them sunshine and rain (Matt. 5:44, 45).  So it is not our duty, it would not be right for us, to restore an unrepenting wrong-doer to confidence and admiring affection, but we must love him with the love of compassion, and if he hunger, must feed him (Rom. 12:19, 20).” (p. 95)

 

“Some years ago [i.e., 1871], a party of us went forth from Jerusalem one night at Easter to visit Gethsemane.  Passing through what is traditionally known as St. Stephen’s Gate, we went along a winding path far down the steep descent into the narrow valley of the Kidron (which has there no water except in the rainy season), and crossing it, were almost immediately at the modern stone wall, enclosing some two-thirds of an acre and containing several very old olive trees.  The paschal full moon for us too shone bright on the scene.  It was late at night, and all was still; and at several different points we kneeled, a little company from a distant land, and one or another of us prayed with choked utterance, for we knew that we were very near the spot at which the Saviour kneeled down, and fell prostrate, and prayed in his agony.” (pp. 119, 120)

 

Quoting Pressense: “ ‘Not thy will but mine be done,’ changed Paradise into a desert; ‘not my will but thine be done,’ changed the desert into Paradise, and made Gethsemane the gate of glory.” (p. 121)

 

“John tells us that it was Peter [who cut off Malchus’ ear], and also that the official’s name was Malchus.  When the other Gospels were written, there might still have been danger to Peter from its becoming generally known that he had done this.” (p. 123; wholly ignorant of Broadus’ observation here, I appealed to these same facts as proof of the early date of the Synoptic Gospels in “An Unnoticed Argument for an Early Date for the Synoptics,” As I See It, 8:11--ed.)

 

“Next morning [after Jesus’ arrest and trial], the two most miserable men in Jerusalem were doubtless Peter and Judas (Matt. 27:3-5), but how different the result--the difference between suicidal remorse and saving repentance.” (p. 127)

 

“Our Lord never responded to any call for signs of his mission, whether demanded by the people, or insinuated by the tempter (comp. Matt. 4:6; 27:40).  Like these rulers are many now who propose their own conditions of believing, but would not believe on any conditions.” (p. 134)

 

“An old writer says the Scriptures give us one instance of true repentance when near to death, that none may despair; but only one instance, that none may presume.” (p. 135; we sought to “run this quote to ground” in an addendum to “Henry and Spurgeon on Death-bed Repentance,” As I See It 10:8, finding reference to it in Ryle, MacLaren and Barnes, but never finding the original “old writer.”  My memory of the quote (from 30 years ago or so) corresponds most closely to the form in which Broadus here gives it.  But I am still looking for the original source of this quote--ed.).

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 “Godhead”: A study in Older English Biblical Vocabulary

 

A correspondent recently wrote:

 

“In Colossians: 2:9 of the KJV it uses the word Godhead. In the Holman Illustrated Study Bible that I use it says God's Nature.  Which is the best translation?”

 

To answer the question, we shall need to examine the etymology and development of the word “Godhead,” its use in English Bible translations, the Greek text in passages where “Godhead” is used, and modern English equivalents.

 

The word “Godhead” is a remnant from the English language’s Germanic roots (the large Germanic family of languages includes Gothic, Anglo-Saxon--which had “Godhad” in its vocabulary--, English in part, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and some others).  The ending “-head”, and the related ending “-hood” (as in falsehood, manhood, childhood, etc.) were originally independent substantives indicating quality or character, but anciently became noun suffixes, denoting the abstract quality of the nouns with which they were compounded. 

 

It must be noted that the -“head” part of “Godhead” is not at all related in origin or use to the common English noun “head,” meaning the upper most extremity of the human body which is joined to the torso by the neck.  As Old English and Middle English developed, these originally quite distinct words “-head” as suffix and “head” as independent noun fell together in form (see the Oxford English Dictionary for details), and thereby some confusion has arisen in sense and significance of the “-head” part of “Godhead.” 

 

In modern German (with which English shares a common ancestor a couple millennia back), the related suffix form is -heit (and occasionally -keit) which is still widely found: Einheit, “unity” or “oneness”; Freiheit, “freedom”; Gerechtigkeit, “righteousness,” and a multitude of other nouns.  In Dutch, another Germanic language, the related suffix form is ­-heid, as in “apartheid,” which means “separateness, segregation.”  This suffix is still very widely used in Dutch.  The current German word “Gottheit” and the Dutch “godheid” are etymologically equivalent to the English “Godhead,” and mean, like it, “the quality of being God,” or “God-naturedness,” to create a new word.

 

Almost all English words ending in “-head” which denoted the abstract quality of “x” (whatever the word may be) have long since dropped out of contemporary usage.  Besides “Godhead,” I could find only one other such word that is in the least current (and it is rather quaint-sounding to modern ears): maidenhead, which denotes the condition or state of virginity.  On the other hand, words ending in -hood are still pretty common--as noted in the examples listed above).  In English, we have at least two other suffixes that indicate abstract qualities, “-ness” (related to the German ending -niss) as in goodness, happiness, thoughtlessness; and “-dom” (related to the German -­tum) as in freedom, serfdom, wisdom.

 

“Godhead” would, then, in etymology and origin indicate “the quality or character of being God,” or to create a new Germanic-patterned word, “God-ness.”  In Latin-based English words (the other stream from which English developed), the equivalent would be “Deity,” or “Divinity” (both of which came into English from Latin through French).

 

In the KJV, “Godhead” is found three times, Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; and Colossians 2:9; with the one English word “Godhead” being used to translate three different Greek words (none of these three Greek words is unique to the NT, and all are commonly found in Greek writings outside the NT).

 

In Acts 17:29, the Greek word is theios, or, reproducing the Greek precisely, to theion, a noun-less attributive adjective, here neuter in form, and supplied with a definite article, thereby making it a substantive (noun equivalent).  It is readily apparent that the adjective theios is related to theos, the common Greek word for God.  Paul’s use of the neuter form, not modifying any noun in the immediate context, would emphasize the abstract, rather than personal, quality of the word. 

 

English versions from Tyndale (1526) through the Bishops’ (1568) have “Godhead” here, as the KJV does later [Luther’s German version has “Gottheit,” which could have influenced Tyndale’s choice of word; the Dutch version in my possession has “godheid,” also perhaps under Luther’s influence].  The Roman Catholic Rheims version (1582), based on the Latin Vulgate (but with consultation of the Greek text), alone among English versions preceding the KJV has “Divinity” (following the Vulgate’s lead, which has “Divinum”).

 

In context, Paul is arguing that since we humans are God’s progeny by creation, it would be wrong, judging from the make-up of our own nature, to suppose that God’s nature--Deity or Divinity, if you will--is comparable to lifeless gold, silver, or stones, carved by human hands, the stuff of which the Athenians’ idols are made.  While “Godhead” in its original significance did effectively convey the sense of the Greek, the fact that this word has disappeared from common English vocabulary and conveys no certain sense to the modern reader, requires that some other word or phrase must be sought, if the English translation is to be both faithful to the original and meaningful to the English reader.  “Divine nature” or “nature of God” or “Deity” would adequately serve.

 

The same Greek word occurs twice more in the Greek NT: 2 Peter 1:3, and 1:4, in both of which we find the genitive singular feminine form of this adjective, theias, and in both cases used attributively, modifying nouns.  These latter two occurrences are translated by the KJV as “divine power” and “divine nature,” following the lead of the Rheims version of 1582, which had “divine” both times (the Rheims in turn, took its cue from the Latin Vulgate version, which uses the adjective divina to translate the Greek).  All other English versions before the KJV (and Rheims) which were based on the Greek had “godly” both times in 2 Peter 1--Tyndale, Coverdale, Great, Geneva, Bishops’ (Wycliffe, translated from the Latin, at 1:3 had “godlich”--i.e., “god-like,” from which “godly” comes; and at 1:4, “Goddis kynde,” that is, “God’s kind”).  This use of “godly” meaning “like God” or “divine” is now obsolete; “godly” today is all but universally used as a synonym of “pious, devout.”  [Luther has “goettlichen” (etymologically equivalent to “godly,” but in usage meaning “Divine”); the Dutch has in 1:3 “goddelijke” (also etymologically equivalent to “godly,” but in usage meaning “Divine”); in 1:4, it has “heerlijkheid,” literally “lordliness.”]

 

The second Greek word translated “Godhead” in the KJV is theiotes, a feminine noun which in the NT is found only in Romans 1:20.  As with the adjective theios, it is derived from the Greek word theos, “God.“  All English versions before the KJV, this time including Wycliffe, have the Germanic word “Godhead,”--except, once again, the Rheims, which has “divinity,” (Vulgate, “divinitas”).  [Luther: “Gottheit”; Dutch: “goddelijkheid,” literally, “Godlikeness”].  Here, Paul is arguing that the revelation of God in nature clearly and adequately bears testimony to God’s eternal might, and His nature as God, in a word, His Deity.  And once again, while “Godhead” was adequate and expressive of this sense in 1611 (and before) in the English-speaking world, after four centuries of change in the English language it no longer is adequate to express the meaning of the Greek; and again, “Deity” or “Divine nature” or even “Divinity” would today be more expressive--more communicative--of Paul’s meaning here.

 

Finally, at Colossians 2:9, the third Greek word translated “Godhead,” in the KJV is theotes, a word differing from the previous word by a single letter, and differing to an extent in meaning (though difficult to express in a single English word).  It occurs only here in the Greek NT.  And as with the previous two words, it too is derived from theos.  Here, all English versions from Wycliffe to the KJV, this time including the Rheims, have “Godhead” (the Latin Vulgate has “divinitas”).  In this context, Paul is affirming that the whole of God’s nature was expressed in physical form in the person of Christ.  And once again, though “Godhead” adequately expressed this sense to a reader with the vocabulary of the 17th century, today, the obsolete English “Godhead” fails to communicate clearly to the modern reader, while “Deity,” “God’s nature” or “God’s essence” exactly expresses the idea.

 

[On the relationship and distinction between theotes and theiotes, Thayer’s Lexicon under theotes, p. 288, has a brief note; Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament compares these two words on pp. 7-10; Lightfoot in his commentary on Colossians, at 2:9, discusses all three of the Greek words mentioned here]

 

It is notable, that for whatever reason, the KJV never uses the word “Deity” and only three times uses the word “Divine” (2 Peter 1:3, 4, as noted above, and uniquely among English versions up to 1611, at Hebrews 9:1; this latter reference would bear a close examination).  Both these words were current in English in 1611, and indeed had been for centuries--both are used, for example, by Chaucer and by Shakespeare.  Perhaps the existence of the then-suitable “Godhead” rendered their use unnecessary in their minds.

 

Among modern conservative English versions, we find the following translations of the three Greek words (in Biblical order):

 

NKJB--Divine Nature / Godhead / Godhead

NIV--divine being / divine nature / Deity

NASB updated--Divine Nature / divine nature / Deity

ESV--divine being / divine nature / deity

HCSB--divine nature / divine nature / God’s nature

 

Of these, the NKJB is the poorest, retaining twice the archaic “Godhead” while the NIV and ESV, by employing three separate and appropriate renderings most successfully carry over from the Greek the use of three distinct terms, with differing shades of meaning.

 

And just for the sake of completeness, I checked translations into several of the Romance languages (direct lineal descendants of Latin):

 

French (Osterzee)--divinite / divinite / divinite

Spanish (Reina-Valera 1602)--Divinidad / divinidad / divinidad

Portuguese (Almeida)--divinidade / divinidade / divinidade

Italian (Diodati, revised)--Divinita / divinita / Deita

Romanian (Cornilescu)--Dumnezeire / Dumnezeire / Dumnezeire

 

All, except Romanian (and once in the Italian version) reflect their Latin heritage from the word “divinitas”; “Deita” (“Deity”) in Italian, and “Dumnezeire” (from the Romanian word for God, “Dumnezeu,” which in turn is a modification of the Latin “Dominus Deus,” lit. “Lord God”) are descended from the Latin word “Deus,” “God.”

 

The sum of the matter: “Godhead,” a legacy of the Germanic side of the English language’s ancestry, once adequately expressed the sense of the Greek text at Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; and Colossians 2:9; but with the changes in English vocabulary and usage over the past four centuries, it no longer conveys the proper sense to the reader, if it conveys any sense at all.  The various renderings of modern English versions (except where the NKJB inexplicably follows the KJV), reflecting the Romance side of English’s heritage, are decidedly preferable, the NIV and ESV treatment being here the best of the lot.

 

This is yet one more glaring example (as though any more were needed!) of why the KJV is worthy of immediate retirement from use, with replacement by one or more of those contemporary English versions which more effectively communicate the truth of the Greek in modern English garb.

---Doug Kutilek

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The Master’s Voice

 

“To us also Jesus speaks as having authority, and we gladly believe whatever he said because he said it.”

John A. Broadus

Commentary on the Gospel of Mark, p. 20

(Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1905)

 

 

 

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Spanish Bible Versions: a Great Heritage, part II--

“From Enzinas (1543) and Ferrara (1553) to Reina-Valera (1602)”

Copyrighted by author, 2008

 

[Note: this study is appearing in multiple parts.  A complete bibliography of sources will appear with the final installment]

 

The First Complete Spanish NT

 

The complete NT was first translated into Spanish from Greek, rather than Latin, and published in 1543 in Antwerp, at the expense of the translator Francisco de Enzinas (born c. 1520; sources differ on the date of his death, giving both 1552 and 1570, though the former seems to be correct).  He was a young Spanish student who, having embraced the Reformation while in the Netherlands, lived for a time in the house of Melanchthon at Wittenberg where his NT translation was made (note that this and all subsequent Spanish versions until the late 18th century were made and published by exiles from Spain, where the Inquisition severely repressed Bible circulation and persecuted Bible translators and distributors).  How long he labored on this project, we are unable to say.

 

We cannot discover which printed Greek New Testament text(s) he used, though by 1543 some 17 different editions had been published.  And we are equally unable to state with any certainty what translations he may have consulted in pursuing his work.  It is highly probable that he consulted both the Latin Vulgate, and Erasmus’ revised Latin translation (as did most other Reformation-era translators), as well as Luther’s German version (he was living in Wittenberg when making the translation, after all).  Perhaps he employed some of the prior attempts at translating portions of the NT into Spanish.  Versions in French or English may perhaps have been available to him as well.

 

Enzinas dedicated the translation to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (who, as King of Spain, was known as Charles I) and personally presented him a copy.  In short order, the translation was officially suppressed, and Enzinas was arrested and imprisoned, escaping from custody after a year.  He later occupied a Greek professorship in England for a time, and labored also in Strasburg, Basle, and Geneva.  Because the first edition of his translation, like Tyndale’s, was officially suppressed, it had little direct impact in its day and survives in very few copies.  One source (Bebb in Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible) claims that Enzinas’ version was reprinted often, but I can find no other confirmation of this claim.  The title page of Enzinas’ NT is reproduced in The Battle for the Spanish Bible by Calvin George, p. 98.

 

The First Complete Spanish OT

 

The entire OT, rendered into Spanish from the Hebrew text, was first published in 1553, in the so-called “Ferrara Bible.”  This folio edition, carries on its title page the words, Biblia en Lengua Espanola traduzida palabra por palabra dela verdad Hebrayca por muy excelentes letrados vista y examinada por el officio dela Inquisicion, that is, “The Bible in the Spanish language, translated word for word from the true Hebrew by many excellent scholars, seen and examined by the office of the Inquisition.”  This edition was intended for use by Spanish-speaking Jews who had been driven from the Iberian Peninsula by the Inquisition, and was actually a revision of an earlier Jewish version previously extant only in manuscript form.  Copyright was claimed for it upon publication.

 

The revision was in large measure dependent on two learned works of Sanctes Pagninus (1466-1541): his very literal Latin version of the OT (1528) as well as his Hebrew thesaurus (1529).  Abraham Usque (a.k.a. Duarte Pinel), a Jew from Portugal, edited the work, and Yom Tob Atias (a.k.a. Jeronimo de Vargas) a Spanish Jew, funded its printing.  Two editions of this work were issued, one for Jewish readers, the other for Christian readers (with Isaiah 7:14 appearing in three different forms in the various editions).  A separate edition of the Psalms in this version in duodecimo format is reported for this same year.  New editions and revisions of the Ferrara OT in whole or in part were issued in 1611, 1628, 1630, 1643, and beyond.  This translation is commonly characterized as being severely, at times even unintelligibly, literal, reading more like an inter-linear text rather than a translation.  The title page of the Ferrara OT is reproduced in The Battle for the Spanish Bible by Calvin George, p. 101. 

 

The Second Spanish NT

 

The second complete Spanish NT, based on the original Greek text rather than the Latin Vulgate, was the work of Juan Perez de Pineda (b. before 1500, d. 1567), and was printed in Geneva in 1556, where the translator was living in exile.  It seems that this version was a revision of Enzinas’ edition of 1543, neither a mere reprint, nor an independent work.  Perez also issued a translation of the Psalms based on the Hebrew in 1557.  While it is reported that one Julian Hernandez succeeded in smuggling two large barrels filled with copies of Perez’ NT (and Psalms version) into Seville (for which the smuggler was executed), the overall influence and impact of this NT version seems to have come chiefly in its use in the making of the “La Biblia del Oso” of 1569.  The title page of the Perez NT is reproduced in The Battle for the Spanish Bible by Calvin George, p. 103.

 

A 1563 printing of the Spanish NT in Navarre under the supervision of Antonio del Corro with the assistance of Casiodoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera is reported by Schaefer in New Schaff-Herzog, but no further details are given and no corroboration was found.  This may be a confusion with some of the preliminary work on the 1569 Bible which the three co-operated on.

 

The First Complete Spanish Bible

 

The greatest names in Spanish Bible translation history are those of Casiodoro de Reina (c.1520-1594) and Cipriano de Valera (c.1532-after 1602).  What the Luther Bible is in German, the Cornilescu translation is in Romanian, and the King James Version is in English, the Reina-Valera translation is in Spanish.

 

Though the whole Spanish NT translated from the Greek had appeared in 1543, and the whole OT in Spanish, translated from Hebrew, had been published in 1553, the two Testaments in Spanish were not included in one volume until the appearance in 1569 of the so-called “Biblia del Oso” (“The Bear Bible”--a name taken from the printer’s logo on the title page of a standing bear collecting honey from a hollow tree trunk).

 

This translation was the end product of twelve years’ labor by Casiodoro de Reina, under circumstances that were far from conducive to such an important work.  Reina had fled persecution in Spain in 1557, and had gone from place to place in England and continental Europe, serving as Bible teacher and pastor while the work was in progress.  As the translator himself explains in his lengthy “Admonition to the Reader,” in the OT he did not always follow the Vulgate Latin translation, but followed the Hebrew text, with guidance from Pagininus’ Latin version, widely deemed the closest to the Hebrew.  Likewise, while he did rely on the Ferrara Spanish version of 1553, he didn’t hesitate to abandon it when it departed from the Hebrew.  Other unnamed versions seem to also have been consulted.  The apocryphal books were included in the volume (as was also done in Luther’s German Bible, and later the KJV), but were scattered throughout the OT after the manner of Roman Catholic Bibles.  The Biblical text was preceded by a preface in Latin and an admonition to the reader in Spanish.

 

For the NT, it seems that Reina originally planned to incorporate an edition being produced at Paris by Juan Perez and others, but this version was suppressed and destroyed by the government and Perez died.  As a result, Reina was compelled to prepare his own NT version, no doubt a revision of Perez’ 1556 NT, and for which, among others, Reina consulted the recently published Syriac version of the NT.   Kinder reports that Reina was in such a hurry to get his Bible completed and published that he copied practically word for word the last six books of the NT from Perez’ 1556 NT, including the chapter summaries, with numerous trifling differences.  Throughout both Testaments, besides the chapter summaries, there are numerous marginal notes and cross references provided.  Some 1,100 copies are reported by Kinder as having been printed, though Valera in his 1602 revision says that 2,600 copies were printed in 1569.  The NT portion of this version was reprinted (slightly revised) in 1599 by Elias Hutter as the Spanish version in his twelve-version polyglot NT.  No claim of copyright was evidently ever made by Reina (or his successor Valera) for his Bible translation.  The title page of Reina’s 1569 Bible is reproduced in The Battle for the Spanish Bible by Calvin George, p. 105.

 

Cipriano de Valera was a disciple of Arias Montanus (1527-1598), one of the most learned Orientalists of his day and compiler of the Amsterdam Polyglot Bible.  Valera became a fellow exile from Spain with Casiodoro de Reina in 1557.  He had been college-trained in Spain before taking additional degrees in England, where he found a wife and remained as a teacher for a number of years.

 

The work of revising Reina’s 1569 Bible occupied 20 years of Valera’s life, from age 50 to age 70, that is, 1582 to 1602 and was in part motivated by the exhaustion of the supply of printed copies of the 1569 Bible.  The NT appeared first, in 1596, two years after Reina’s death.  London was the place of publication.  At an unknown point in time, Valera left England for the Continent.  In 1602, his revision of Reina’s Bible was published in Amsterdam.  Valera himself called his work a “second edition,” though only his name and not Reina’s is found on the title page.  The work is in a larger format than the 1569 Bible, includes an “Exhortation to the Reader” by Valera, followed Reina’s original Spanish “Admonition to the Reader” but not his Latin preface.  It has considerably more marginal notes, though the text is only infrequently altered.  My own close inspection of Genesis 1-12 in facsimile editions of the 1569 and 1602 showed them to almost never differ in the text (other than in spelling), but to differ with some frequency in the margins--chiefly Valera’s additions and in some cases alterations.  Some places in Reina’s text demanded revision.  The words “by faith” were from whatever cause left out in Romans 3:28, and Hebrews 12:29 was accidentally omitted altogether.

 

The Apocryphal books are included, but placed together between the Testaments (as in the 1611 KJV) and labeled as the Apocrypha.  A table of contents is also provided opposite Genesis 1 (the 1569 had no table of contents of any kind). 

 

The 1602 Reina-Valera Bible soon became the standard Spanish Bible.  It was consulted by the KJV translators in their preparation of that English version.  And while the Ferrara OT continued to be reprinted for many decades, when the NT or the whole Bible was printed in Spanish, it was in the Reina-Valera version.  The Reina-Valera of 1602 has undergone numerous revisions and up-dating, chiefly in spelling but also in vocabulary and occasionally in text in the four centuries since its first appearance, including at least 4 revisions in the 20th century.  We shall examine these and other modern Spanish versions, after considering Roman Catholic Spanish translations.

 

Note: both the 1569 and the 1602 editions were reprinted in exact facsimile in 2002 by the Bible Society in Madrid.  Each is accompanied by an informative booklet (these are included in our bibliography).  I acquired copies of both facsimiles through the American Bible Society, where they may or may not yet be available.  For the zealous student of the history of the Bible in Spanish, these two are indispensable research tools.

---Doug Kutilek

 

[Next: “The Spanish Bible Versions: Catholic Versions and Modern Translations”]

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