Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, (for then the imputation of Sixtus had been true in some sort, that our people had been fed with gall of Dragons instead of wine, with whey instead of milk:) but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark.
Did the translators working at the behest of King James actually translate the Bible or did they simply revise the work of others? In this sample you can see that the Bishops Bible text has been revised, principally in spelling. But there are a few instances where a different word was chosen (for example, the change from sacrifice to offering).
My question for Hebrew scholars is this: can you show places where in fact the King James Version did improve the rendering of the Hebrew into English? I thought Leviticus might be a good place to look because of the medical and religious terminology.
The group called to translate this section had some serious scholars in Hebrew, principally, Geoffrey King, Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge and Richard Clarke.
But William Tyndale also seems to have been a serious student of Hebrew and is reported to have used the Hebrew for his translation of the Pentateuch:
For example, the Prolegomena in Mombert’s William Tyndale’s Five Books of Moses show that Tyndale’s Pentateuch is a translation of the Hebrew original.
So, which is it: Translation or Revision?