[Milton-L] Bible translations

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 14:56:27 EDT 2007


If you open the title page of a King James Bible you'll generally see
the words "Authorized Version" or "Authorized King James Version."
That's properly the title of the book, so the prof. was not misleading
you to insist upon it.  Of course, this is an issue separate from
regular practice both in mass culture and in published scholarship.
If professional journals accept "King James Version" then it's
acceptable.  Best practice is to check the style guides recommended by
the journals themselves.

I appreciate the responses to my question.  Translations of any OT
texts aren't sufficient to establish knowledge of Hebrew, as he could
have translated from the Vulgate, but of course a comparison of the
Hebrew and Latin to Milton's English would reveal his source.

My other question was methodological: how meaningful or necessary is
it to teach from the available English translations of Milton's day,
or the English translations he may have used or preferred, if he knew
the original languages?  For example, if I want to consider William
Blake's use of the Bhagavad-Gita I should read it in Wilkins's
translation from 1785, not in a contemporary translation.  Is this
practice meaningful in Milton's case?

I suppose the issue would be a matter of determining his regular
practice: did Milton usually read the Greek text, or did he usually
read, say, the Geneva Bible, only referring to the Greek and Hebrew
when he had a point to make?  Or do we know?

Jim R


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