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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
Bible in English

One of the central themes of the *Reformation was that Christians should be able to read the Bible in their own languages. Manuscript translations had circulated among the *Lollards. But the first printed Bible in English was the translation by William Tyndale (c.1492–1536), published in parts in Germany (1525–31); the Old Testament in this version was never completed. Other famous 16C translations were similarly published by expatriates on the Continent. They include a Protestant version in Geneva in 1560 (commonly known as the Breeches Bible, because it used this word for the covering that Adam and Eve made for themselves from fig leaves); and the Roman Catholic Rheims-Douai version, made for the use of priests and published in 1582 (New Testament, at Rheims) and 1609–10 (Old Testament, at Douai).

From the point of view of the Church of England the most significant of these editions published abroad was that of Miles Coverdale (1488–1568), translator of the first complete printed Bible in English. His version of 1535, printed in Marburg, was made the basis of the Great Bible, a copy of which Henry VIII ordered to be placed in every church in 1539. But the royal initiative which provided the best-known and best-loved English Bible came from James I. In 1604 he presided over the Hampton Court Conference, which commissioned a new translation. Largely based on the earlier text by Tyndale, it was published in 1611 and became variously known as the King James Version (it was dedicated to him) and the Authorized Version (because its title page declared it to be 'Appointed to be read in Churches').

In the 19C the more archaic phrases in the Authorized Version were amended and the result was published (N.T. 1881, O.T. 1885) as the Revised Version. The New English Bible (N.T. 1961, O.T. 1970) is a translation by a committee of British Protestant scholars whose brief was to use the 'language of the present day'.

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