Did a KJV translator make use of Codex Vaticanus text?


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Ginsburg's Introduction describes at length 24 printed editions; number 23 is the famous Second Rabbinic Bible by Ben-Hayyim published by Bomberg in 1525. But number 24 is a printed edition not mentioned in Ginsburg's TBS edition, namely the Quarto Bible issued by Bomberg in 1528 and designated by Ginsburg in his Introduction as Bomberg III.

I had suggested, on the basis of no evidence whatever, that the KJV translators did not use the Second Rabbinic Bible, despite its reputation, because it was so bulky and cumbersome. And others had suggested, because the KJV included the verses, that the KJV translators used a Hebrew Bible that included Josh 21:36-37 and Neh 7:68. This Bomberg III is a compact edition which includes those verses. Ginsburg describes it as based on the First and the Second Rabbinic Bibles - and more important, that this edition enjoyed "popularity with the Divines at the time of the Reformation ..... My own copy is not only marked throughout with glosses by early Reformers, but contains notes in the handwriting of Luther." (Intro., p. 975). An edition so popular with Christian scholars would probably have been the basis for several more editiions, including those equipped with chapter and verses numbers, up to the time of the KJV.

Steven Avery

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Thank you, Shoonra.
Good backdrop, appreciated.

We can say definitely that theories of the AV depending on the Ben Hayim are simply false and very poor scholarship. Whether stated or quoted by Donald Waite, some TR or AV defenders, James Price or Rick Norris.

All purported scholarship following that theory is GIGO.


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I had previously said I coud find no details on Bomberg's Third Rabbinic Bible (1549) ... I have recently been reminded of a monumental article by the scholar Bernhard Pick (1842-1917), "History of the Printed Editions of the Old Testament, Together with a description of the Rabbinic and Polyglot Bibles" Hebraica (pub. by Univ. of Chicago) vol. IX (Oct 1892-July 1893) pages 47-116. This issue of Hebraica is findable on Hatha, Internet Archives, and JSTOR.

On page 67 begins a description of the Third Rabbinic Bible, "published at Venice, 1547-49, 4 vols. folio and edited by Cornel. Adelkin. ... in the main a reprint of the second [=Second Rabbinic Bible ed by Ben-Hayim 1525]...." However certain commentaries that appeared in Ben-Hayim were replaced by others in this edition. Adelkind went on to edit a four volume 18mo Bible and two quarto Bibles for Justiniani. Pick lists several other editions that were largely or entirely influenced by Ben-Hayim's text. Some of these were published after 1547 by which time the inclusion of chapter and verse numbers was a frequent feature in Hebrew Bibles.

Plantin, who also published Greek NT editions, published in 1566 three editions of the Hbrew Bible - a one-volume quarto, a two-volume octavo, and a four-volume 16mo; Plantin acknowledged some connection with Bomberg.

My supposition, without any evidence, is that the KJV translators made use of a conveniently sized Hbew Bible from a reputable Christian publisher like Plantin, rather than wrestle with the cumbersome Ben-Hayim edition itself.


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(b) "Biblia Rabbinica Bombergiana," second edition

Daniel Bomberg, of Antwerp, who had established a printing-office for Hebrew and rabbinic literature in Venice, published, in 1518, two important editions of the Hebrew text: (a) an edition for Christian readers, in quarto, which was reprinted in 1521, 1525-28, 1533, 1544; (b) an edition for Jewish readers, edited by the Jewish convert Felix Pratensis. It contained the Targumim, the Massorah, and many Jewish commentaries, but did not satisfy the Jews. Hence Bomberg found it advisable to publish another edition under the editorship of R. Jacob ben Chayim, the most celebrated Jewish scholar of his time. He brought the text into closer agreement with the Massorah, and added several more Jewish commentaries. The work appeared in Venice, in four folio volumes, 1525-26, and was justly regarded as the first Massoretic Bible. It won the approbation of both Jewish and Christian scholars, so that it had to be republished in 1547-49, and 1568; the- last edition was brought out under the direction of John de Gara. In spite of the great merits of the work, it is not wholly free from defects; Ben Chayim paid too much attention to the Massorah and too little to reliable old manuscripts. The principal codex he followed fell afterwards into the hands of de Rossi, who testifies that it is quite defective and has not been carefully edited. Chayim printed it without correcting its most glaring mistakes.