Histories of the English Bible

Christopher Anderson, The Annals of the English Bible. 2 volumes. London: William Pickering, 1845.

James Baikie, The English Bible and Its Story: Its Growth, Its Translators and Their Adventures. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1928.

Dewey M. Beegle, God's Word into English: The Adventure of Bible Translation. New York: Harper Brothers, 1960. Revised ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964. Reprinted Ann Arbor: Pryor Pettingill, 1978. Beegle was a Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. His book is largely a defense of the recently published Revised Standard Version. The revised edition of 1964 merely adds an appendix on "More Recent Translations."

Benson Bobrick, Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Gerald Bray, ed., Documents of the English Reformation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994. For the study of the history of English versions, there is no substitute for reading the original prefaces. This book contains many of them: Tyndale's Preface to the New Testament (1526), 1534; Tyndale's Preface to the Pentateuch, 1530; Cranmer's Preface to the Great Bible, 1540; The Preface to the Geneva Bible, 1560; The Preface to the Rheims New Testament, 1582; The Preface to the Douay Old Testament, 1609; The Preface to the Authorised (King James) Version, 1611.

John Brown, The History of the English Bible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911.

Frederick F. Bruce, The English Bible, A History of Translations. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961. 2nd ed., 1970. A 3rd edition was published under the title History of the Bible in English, Oxford, 1978, reprinted by Lutterworth Press, 2002. ISBN: 0718890310. An excellent short history of the English Bible from Anglo-Saxon times to the 1970's.

Charles C. Butterworth, The Literary Lineage of the King James Bible, 1340-1611. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1941. Reprinted New York, Octagon Books, 1971

William Canton, The Bible and the Anglo-Saxon People. London: Dent, 1914.

Hannah Chaplin Conant, The English Bible: History of the Translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English Tongue: With Specimens of the Old English Versions. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman, 1856. Revised edition edited by Thomas Jefferson Conant, The Popular History of the Translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English Tongue. New York: I. K. Funk, 1881.

Blackford Condit, The History of the English Bible, Extending from the Earliest Saxon Translations to the Present Anglo-American Revision. 2nd edition. New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1896.

Walter Arthur Copinger, The Bible and its Transmission: Being an Historical and Bibliographical View of the Hebrew and Greek Texts, and the Greek, Latin, and Other Versions of the Bible (both Manuscript and Printed) prior to the Reformation. London: Henry Sotheran, 1897.

Henry John Cowell, The coming of the English Bible: biographical notes concerning John Wycliffe, William Tindale, Miles Coverdale, John Rogers, William Whittingham, and others; By Henry J. Cowell. With a foreword by Sydney Walton. London: The Epworth press, 1944.

David Daniell, The Bible in English: Its History and Influence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. ISBN: 0300099304. A comprehensive and detailed treatment, notable for its celebration of Tyndale.

Herbert Dennett, Graphic Guide to Modern Versions of the New Testament: How to Understand and Use Them. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1965. Reprinted as A Guide to Modern Versions, etc. by Moody Press in Chicago, 1966. Provides historical and descriptive notes on the various versions, together with some assessment of the quality of each.

John R. Dore, Old Bibles: An Account of the Early Versions of the English Bible. 2nd ed. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1888.

Alan S. Duthie, Bible Translations, and how to choose between them. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1985, revised 1995.

John Eadie, The English Bible: an External and Critical History of the Various English Translations of Scripture, with remarks on the need of revising the English New Testament. 2 vols. London: MacMillan & Co., 1876.

Andrew Edgar, The Bibles of England: A Plain Account for Plain People of the Principal Versions of the Bible in English. London: Alexander Gardner, 1889.

David C. Fowler, The Bible in Early English Literature. London: Sheldon Press, 1977.

Ernest S. Frerichs, ed., The Bible and Bibles in America. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988.

Edgar J. Goodspeed, The Making of the English New Testament. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925.

S. L. Greenslade, ed., The Cambridge History of the Bible; the West from the Reformation to the present day. Cambridge: University Press, 1963.

Henry Guppy, A brief sketch of the history of the transmission of the Bible down to the revised English version of 1881-95 ... With twenty facsimiles. Manchester: The University Press, 1926.

Henry Guppy, William Tindale and the earlier translators of the Bible into English, with twelve facsimiles. Manchester: The University press, 1925.

Paul C. Gutjahr, An American Bible: a History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

H. W. Hamilton-Hoare, The Evolution of the English Bible: An Historical Sketch of the Successive Versions from 1382 to 1885. London: John Murray, 1901.

Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible. Manchester: Carcanet New Press, 1982. New York: Philosophical Library, 1983. 249 pages. Hammond (Professor of English Literature at the University of Manchester) focuses on literary style, and notices especially the influence of Hebrew on the early translations.

Nathan O. Hatch and Mark A. Noll, eds., The Bible in America: Essays in Cultural History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Christopher Hill, The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution. London: Penguin Books, 1994.

Frederic G. Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts: being a History of the Text and its Translations. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1895. 2nd edition, 1896; 3rd ed., 1897; 4th ed. (revised and enlarged), 1939, Reprinted 1948; 5th ed. (revised and enlarged by A.W. Adams, and with an introduction by G.R. Driver), 1958.

Sakae Kubo and Walter Specht, So Many Versions? Twentieth century English versions of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975, 2nd ed. 1983. This book is useful, and includes many interesting details about the versions it brings under discussion; but unfortunately the authors, who are Seventh-Day Adventists, use the book to promote the peculiar teachings of their sect. They focus on the versions' translations of gehennah (hell) and psyche (soul), and criticize perfectly accurate renderings of these words, because their sect does not believe in the reality of an eternal hell or the immortal soul.

G. W. Lampe, ed., The Cambridge History of the Bible: the West from the Fathers to the Reformation. Cambridge: University Press, 1969.

John W. Lea, The Book of Books and Its Wonderful Story: A Popular Handbook for Colleges, Bible Classes, Sunday Schools, and Private Students. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1922.

Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible from KJV to NIV: A History and Evaluation. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981, 2nd ed. 1991 (with new chapters on the NKJV, REB, NRSV). Read a review of this book.

John Lewis, A complete history of the several translations of the Holy Bible, and New Testament, into English, both in MS. and in print; and of the most remarkable editions of them since the invention of printing; by John Lewis. The second edition, with large additions. London: printed by H. Woodfall, for Joseph Pote, Eton, 1739. Third edition ("to which is now added, a list of various editions of the Bible, and parts thereof, in English, from the year 1526 to the present time, extracted from Bishop Newcome's Historical view of English biblical translations; with a continuation by another hand") London: W. Baynes, 1818. Originally published in 'The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ translated out of the Latin Vulgat by John Wiclif, ... to which is praefixt a history of the several translations', London, 1731.

Geddes MacGregor, The Bible in the Making. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1959.

Geddes MacGregor, A Literary History of the Bible from the Middle Ages to the Present Day. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1968.

Herbert G. May, Our English Bible in the Making: The Word of Life in Living Language. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1952.

Cleland Boyd McAfee, The Greatest English Classic: A Study of the King James Version of the Bible and Its Influence on Life and Literature. New York: Harper, 1912.

Samuel McComb, The Making of the English Bible, with an Introductory Essay on the Influence of the English Bible on English Literature. New York: Moffat, Yard and company, 1909.

Bruce M. Metzger, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997. This is Metzger's account of his life of teaching, writing, translating, editing, and lecturing. Provides insight into some of the 20th century's crucial developments in the text and translation of the Bible.

Bruce M. Metzger, The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001. A simple and unannotated book, much below the scholarly level of Metzger's previous book on the ancient versions (The Early Versions of the New Testament, 1977). His remarks on English versions are disconnected, brief, and rather pointed when discussing versions favored by evangelicals.

George Milligan, The English Bible: a Sketch of its History. New York: Anson D.F. Randolph, 1895.

Jacob I. Mombert, A Hand-book of the English Versions of the Bible : With copious examples illustrating the ancestry and relationship of the several versions, and comparative tables. New York: A.D.F. Randolph, 1883.

William F. Moulton, The History of the English Bible. London and New York: Cassell Petter & Galpin, 1878. Revised edition London: Charles H. Kelley, 1911.

William Muir, Our Grand Old Bible. 2nd edition. London: Morgan & Scott, 1911.

David Norton, A History of the Bible as Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. 2 vols. Revised and condensed one volume edition, 2000. The first volume gives an account of how people have thought of the Bible and Bible translations from biblical times to the end of the seventeenth century, with special attention to what the English Bible translators were trying to do, and early reception of their work. Norton reveals the way contrary views can often be held of the same text at different times in his evaluation of response to the King James Bible. The book deals with translatability and communication and the relation of these issues to literary quality. In the second volume he brings the discussion up to the present, with comments on Alter, Sternberg, et al.

Astley C. Partridge, English Bible Translation. London: André Deutsch, 1973.

T. Harwood Pattison, The History of the English Bible. London: Baptist Tract and Book Society, 1894.

Julius D. Payne, The English Bible: an historical survey from the dawn of English history to the present day. London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1911.

Jaroslav Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible / The Bible of the Reformation. Yale University Press, 1996. Examines the role of the Bible in the Reformation and the effect of the Reformation on the text of the Bible, biblical studies, preaching and exegesis, and European culture in general via vernacular translations. The book also serves as the catalogue (by V. Hotchkiss and D. Price) for a major exhibition of early Bibles and Reformation texts, and includes many illustrations and some color plates.

Josiah Penniman, A Book about the English Bible. New York: MacMillan Co., 1919.

Alfred W. Pollard, Records of the English Bible, the documents relating to the translation and publication of the Bible in English, 1525-1611. London: Oxford University Press, 1911.

Hugh Pope, The Catholic Church and the Bible. New York: MacMillan, 1928. The author is Roman Catholic.

Hugh Pope, English Versions of the Bible. Revised and amplified by Sebastian Bullough. St. Louis and London: B. Herder Book Co., 1952. Reprinted at Westport Conn., by Greenwood Press, 1972. A history of both Roman Catholic and Protestant, with an extensive bibliography. The author is Roman Catholic.

David Price and Charles C. Ryrie, Let It Go Among Our People: An Illustrated History of the English Bible from John Wyclif to the King James Version. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2004. ISBN: 0718830423. Numerous illustrations. David Price, the primary author, is a professor of history at Southern Methodist University.

Ira Maurice Price, The Ancestry of our English Bible: An Account of Manuscripts, Texts, and Versions of the Bible. New York: Harper, 1907. 2nd ed. 1949. 3rd ed. revised by William A. Irwin and Allen P. Wikgren, 1956.

Edwin H. Robertson, The New Translations of the Bible. London: S. C. M. Press, 1959. "Chapters three to eight tell the story of various modern versions. These are: of the Bible, those by Ferrar Fenton, James Moffatt, and J. M. P. Smith and Edgar Goodspeed; of the New Testament, those by the Twentieth Century group and by R. F. Weymouth, J. B. Phillips, E. V. Rieu, and Charles K. Williams. Each of these is briefly described, and a number of passages are quoted from each, with enough length and variety to give the reader a taste of its distinctive quality. Chapters nine to eleven deal similarly with the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, 1952; with Ronald Knox's authorized Roman Catholic translation 'from the Latin Vulgate in the light of the Hebrew and Greek originals,' 1955; and with the Jewish translation by Hugh Schonfield entitled The Authentic New Testament, 1955. An excellent feature is the reprinting, on pages 119-132, of Robertson's interview with J. B. Phillips and E. V. Rieu, broadcast by the B.B.C. on 3rd December, 1953. This has been printed in various journals, but it is good to have it in this more permanent form. Chapter twelve gives a clear account of the principles and aims of the New Translation [i.e. the New English Bible] now in process under a joint Committee set up by the Churches and Bible Societies of Britain." --L. A. Weigle.

Edwin H. Robertson, Makers of the English Bible. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1990. Takes a close look at the lives of the translators of the Bible, from John Wycliffe and William Tyndale to modern translators like C. H. Dodd and William Buckley.

Henry Wheeler Robinson, ed., The Bible in its Ancient and English Versions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940 (revised 1954).

Charles Roger, A collation of the sacred scriptures : the Old Testament from the translations of John Rogers, the bishops, the Genevan, and present authorized version; the New Testament from Wiclif, Rogers, the Rhemes, or Roman Catholic, translated 1582, the Genevan, the present authorized, and Gilbert Wakefield, 1795; with a historical account of all the English versions, and also an account of the more ancient mss. and editions; and memoirs of the principal translators; by Charles Roger. Dundee: Printed for the author by M'Cosh Park, and Dewars, 1847.

Philip Schaff, A Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version. New York: Harper & Bros., 1883.

Jonathan Sheehan, The Enlightenment Bible: Translation, Scholarship, Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

P. Marion Simms, The Bible from the Beginning. New York: Macmillan, 1929.

P. Marion Simms, The Bible in America: Versions that have Played their Part in the Making of the Republic. New York: Wilson-Erickson, 1936. An interesting book, but often opinionated and unreliable.

John Paterson Smyth, How We Got Our Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1886. Revised 1889.

John Stoughton, Our English Bible: Its Translations and Translators. London: Religious Tract Society, 1878.

Peter Johannes Thuesen, In discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant battles over translating the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Paul D. Wegner, The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.

Luther A. Weigle, The English New Testament from Tyndale to the Revised standard Version. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1949.

Brooke F. Westcott, A General View of the History of the English Bible. London: MacMillan, 1868. 3rd ed. revised by William Aldis Wright, 1905. Reprinted New York, MacMillan, 1927.

Laura H. Wild, The Romance of the English Bible; a history of the translation of the Bible into English from Wyclif to the present day. Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1929.

Roland H. Worth, Jr., Bible translations: A history through source documents. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1992. Worth brings together translators' statements or other materials related to the translation that provide information about it, and documents from translation controversies, to supplement traditional histories of Bible translation. Documents range from early references to pre-Septuagint translation to Jerome, Waldo, Luther, and Erasmus. The rest of the book (over half) is then devoted to English translation from the Reformation to the present. Worth provides brief introductions to each of the 88 documents (extracts in many cases) reproduced in the book.