[sword-devel] Open Collaborative Bible Translation(was RE: Open Japanese Collaborative Bible Translation)

David Haslam d.haslam at ukonline.co.uk
Sat Apr 10 05:24:53 MST 2010

Hi Kunio,

Archaic or accurate?

The English KJV seems "old-fashioned" to many modern readers for several
(a) the use of second person singular pronouns, etc.
(b) some English words are now archaic, with some even having changed
meanings over time
(c) the huge expansion of the number of words in the English language since
it was first published.

Yet reason (a) is often misunderstood. The KJV was written in "Biblical
English", in which pronouns such as Thou, Thee, and the related verb
conjugations and adjectives were already out of common usage in 1611, except
in some English counties (e.g. Yorkshire). Second person singular was used
by the translators to distinguish from second person plural in all the
places where the original languages had the same distinction. 

Just one example, Luke 22:

31 ¶ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have
you, that he may sift you as wheat:  32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy
faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  

Passages like this can only be properly understood in translation if the
referents for the pronouns are not confused. You is plural (all the Twelve),
thee/thy/thou is singular (Simon alone).

Modern English translations that use second person plural throughout make
this more difficult for the readers and the preacher.

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