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What the editors of the QJB didn’t change of the KJV

December 13, 2012

What We Didn’t Change

We didn’t change anything else to create this edition of the Queen James Bible. The Queen James Bible resolves any homophobic interpretations of the Bible, but the Bible is still filled with inequality and even contradiction that we have not addressed. No Bible is perfect, including this one. We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn God’s LGBT children, and we succeeded.

The discussion of homosexuality in the Bible is great and far-reaching and we encourage all to study it more. Our website has resources for further study.

Yours in Christ,

The Editors

The above is the statement that those producing the “Queen James Bible” have made concerning what they did not change of the “King James Version” of the Bible.  Here’s their statement about what they did change:

How does this compare with Ann Nyland’s GLBT Study Bible?  Have the QJB editors been successful in their stated aim?  What do you think?  Given the horrible history of homophobia, we ask you to express your opinions with kindness and reason.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2012 5:35 am

    I don’t care for this. It reminds me of Alan Gribben’s edition of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn which replaced “nigger” with “slave” (and had some other terminological changes.) By doing this, Gribben was tampering with a classic of literature — one that forces us to confront racial views of the time.

    Ignoring for a moment what our received Hebrew and Greek texts say; the KJV is also a classic of English literature. Of course, it has faced minor editing to remove typographical errors, and in a few cases to repair translation, but this appears to fit neither of those circumstances; it is an attempt to wash away text in a literary classic. This group could have easily included notes in their edition explaining their views, but instead, they pretend that the verses simply do not exist in the KJV. (See, for example, the notes in the New Interpreter Study Bible which addressed similarly homophobic translations in the NRSV.)

    Further, it seems to me that a translator has a certain obligation to represent the source text fairly. This was a point that Craig dealt with in one of the best posts ever on BLT. I don’t believe in going through and whitewashing texts. [For example, I think many students are shocked by Abraham Lincoln’s frank views in the rightly celebrated Douglas-Lincoln debates — Lincoln clearly states that blacks (whom he calls “niggers” sometimes) are inferior to whites and at that time, he is willing to tolerate slavery as a Southern institution (although he opposes its expansion to the Western territories). As painful as those texts are, it is important for students to work through them if they want to gain a more accurate picture of politics in the year preceding the US Civil War.]

    I don’t want a sanitized Bible. I want a Bible that gives me as direct a view as possible into the minds of the humans who wrote it down, and as direct a view as possible into the culture that produced it. Let’s have Bibles that keep the hard verses, but let’s also learn how Judaism and Christianity later interpreted those verses. (For example, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says what it says, but Judaism carefully reinterpreted it in such a way that it is virtually impossible to apply the stated penalty.)

    So I’m happy to read notes or commentary, but I’d prefer not to whitewash texts (that is the way, I am certain you remember, that Tom Sawyer gets his start!)

  2. Gentleman Ranker permalink
    March 19, 2013 1:00 pm

    I am no biblical scholar, but once upon a time I earned my keep by translating a very non-biblical language on very non-biblical subjects. I understand the issues; even a skilled and honest translator may sometimes be an unwilling traitor. Never mind that overt political or theological biases exist; the KJV translators themselves were given instructions on how to translate certain terms in support of James the king’s war on the Geneva Bible (is ekklesia “church” [KJV] or “congregation” [Geneva]?). Such things continue to this day.

    Pace the good Theophrastus, but as far as I can tell, the editors of the QJB have not translated anything, they have simply bowdlerized an existing text of which they do not approve. They have every right to do so (outside the UK at least), but let us call the thing what it is.

    I do not participate in the debate on full inclusion, but I do know that there are cogent text-critical and text-based theological arguments in favor of inclusion. I think that the editors of the QJB would have done better to have based their efforts on presenting these arguments rather than making a specific, pre-existing text say what it does not say.

    As an aside: when I was in graduate school I once taught a course at a local community college. Being young and foolish, I actually quoted Lincoln’s racist remarks from the debates to the class and asked them which well-known political figure had made them, thinking — or so I thought — to make the point that we need to be careful about interpreting political rhetoric. I was very obviously “monitored” by scowling regular faculty for the next several days, though nothing was ever said to me.

  3. March 22, 2013 4:00 pm

    Gentleman Ranker — thanks so much for your careful thoughts on this.

  4. Ross permalink
    March 16, 2016 12:32 am

    Which passage in the Geneva uses “congregation” instead of “church,” I can not seem to locate an instance.

  5. Gentleman Ranker permalink
    May 1, 2016 11:57 am

    Ross is correct, “congregation” does not appear in the Geneva, though it does appear in Tyndale’s (and perhaps Matthew’s ?) translation. I regret the error, and can only plead that I am very much an amateur at biblical scholarship.


  1. Beyond the Queen James Bible

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