February 17, 2019

A Brief History of the English Bible

“In the beginning, there was no English version of the Hebrew Bible. As Christianity was born and the Church evolved, for centuries on end, it used a Latin translation of the Bible done by St. Jerome in the 4th century. The Vulgate was the only version of the Bible the Church of Rome sanctioned, and so it was in the churches of medieval England as well.

This began to change in the 14th century, a turbulent time in English history, which saw the Great Famine and intense social upheaval. And to top this off in Europe, the Church was in the middle of a schism.

The linguistic make up of England was very different back then: The Church clergy and civil administration communicated in Latin; the nobles – the descendants of the Normans who conquered the island in 1066 – spoke French; and at the bottom of the social heap were the poor, unlettered masses, who spoke Middle English – a version of Anglo-Saxon heavily influenced by French.”

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