Not the Bible's Authorized 'Virgin' . . .
Be wary next time you pore over your King James Bible. You might be reading Exodus 20:14 in a rare copy of the 1631 Wicked Bible:
. . . a version . . . in which the unfortunate printer Robert Barker and his associate, Martin Lucas, left a "not" out of the commandment against committing adultery; both were fined. Barker was later put into debtors' prison, where he ultimately died.If that's the punishment for inadvertently advocating adultery, imagine the consequences of actually carrying out that unfortunate commandment, verse 14 in the image above, which looks like it says, "Thou fhalt commit adultery," but that would be senseless. It really says, "Thou shalt commit adultery."
I'd heard of this Bible version, but I'd never seen the verse before a New York Times article by Edward Rothstein, "400 Years Old and Ageless" (September 29, 2011), brought the passage directly to my attention. Imagine the havoc that might have been wreaked if this particular version had not been caught in time and had thus caught on, say in America, which was being populated by English settlers around that time.
Actually, things likely wouldn't have turned out much different since that same verse in the correct version -- the one with "not" -- has been honored more in the breach than the observance.
There are other interesting "Bible Errata," the most theologically worrisome being the 1611 "Judas Bible," which confuses the antagonist for the protagonist in Matthew 24:36 by having Judas -- rather than Jesus -- advise the disciples, "Sit ye here while I go yonder and pray," leaving readers to wonder if the prayer also switches things around: "Not thy will, but mine be done"?
I don't, however, think the printers were that confused!