The following paragraph is taken from the article "English Versions" by Sir Frederic G. Kenyon in the Dictionary of the Bible edited by James Hastings, and published by Charles Scribner's Sons of New York in 1909.

The Bishops' Bible (1568)

Meanwhile there was one quarter in which the Geneva Bible could hardly be expected to find favor, namely, among the leaders of the Church of England. Elizabeth herself was not too well disposed towards the Puritans, and the bishops in general belonged to the less extreme party in the church. On the other hand, the superiority of the Genevan to the Great Bible could not be contested. Under these circumstances the old project of a translation to be produced by the bishops was revived. The archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, was himself a scholar, and took up the task with interest. The basis of the new version was to be the authorized Great Bible. Portions of the text were assigned to various revisers, the majority of whom were bishops. The archbishop excercised a general supervision over the work, but there does not appear to have been any organized system of collaboration or revision, and the results were naturally unequal. In the Old Testament the alterations were mainly verbal [stylistic], and do not show much originality or genius. In the New Testament the scholarship shown is on a much higher level, and there is much more independence in style and judgment. In both, use is made of the Geneva Bible, as well as of other versions. The volume was equipped with notes, shorter than those of the Geneva Bible, and generally exegetical. It appeared in 1568, from the press of R. Jugge, in a large folio volume, slightly exceeding even the dimensions of the Great Bible. Parker applied through Cecil for the royal sanction, but it does not appear that he ever obtained it; but Convocation in 1571 required a copy to be kept in every archbishop's and bishop's house and in every cathedral, and, as far as could conveniently be done, in all churches. The Bishops' Bible, in fact, superseded the Great Bible as the official version, and its predecessor ceased henceforth to be reprinted; but it never attained the popularity and influence of the Geneva Bible. A second edition was issued in 1569, in which a considerable number of alterations were made, partly, it appears, as the result of the criticisms of Giles Laurence, professor of Greek at Oxford. In 1572 a third edition appeared, of importance chiefly in the New Testament, and in some cases reverting to the first edition of 1568. In this form the Bishops' Bible continued in official use until its supersession by the version of 1611, of which it formed the immediate basis.

Frederic G. Kenyon

Continue with the article: The Douay-Rheims Bible.