본문 바로가기
  • Home

Acceptability of the Bible Translation: Focusing on the Geneva Bible in Shakespeare’s Period

Myung-soo Hur 1

1한동대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Iver Larsen and Diphus C. Chemorion argue that acceptability is one criterion of a good Bible translation. Acceptability is the receptor audience’s subjective response to a translation. This paper compares the acceptability of the Geneva Bible (1560) to those of other translations in circulation during Shakespeare’s lifetime (1564-1616). The comparison demonstrates that among the available translations, the Geneva Bible had the highest level of acceptability. Acceptability was high because the Geneva Bible translators provided readers with copious and relevant information, such as exegetic commentary and notes concerning doctrinal differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Faithfulness to available source texts, compatibility with respected protestant theologians such as John Calvin and Theodore Beza, and acceptable responses to the prevailing Anglican conventions and anti-Catholic cultural norms of its time further enhanced the Geneva Bible’s acceptability. The Geneva Bible’s preference for English vernacular over Latin also enhanced its acceptability. Evidence for the acceptability of the Geneva Bible has been found in the fact that its original and revised editions were published and circulated more than any other English version of the Bible prior to the King James Version (1611). However, despite its high popularity and acceptability in Shakespeare’s period, the Geneva Bible failed to become the Authorized Version, mainly owing to the marginal notes’ controversial anti-Catholic sentiments, strong Calvinistic doctrines, and some disparaging comments regarding royal authority. Both Queen Elizabeth and King James rejected the Geneva Bible as the Authorized Version for Anglican worship, and instead ordered a new version which became the King James Version of 1611. The Geneva Bible’s failure to be used as the Authorized version, however, does not diminish the translation’s acceptability among its intended audience. Rather, this failure is merely an indication that royal and ecclesiastical authorities adhered to different evaluative criteria than the English public at large.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.