Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Not the Bible's Authorized 'Virgin' . . .

Wicked Bible

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!

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At 5:51 AM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

Years ago, I found an encyclical by Pope Leo XIII - or the like - where, instead of "Dio stesso" (God himself), it was printed "Dio sesso" (God sex).

The most famous, now legendary case in Italy was when the main Catholic newspaper, instead of "il culto della Madonna" (the cult of Virgin Mary), published a headline mentioning "il culo della Madonna" (Virgin Mary's ass).

At 6:02 AM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

This one may be less of a scandal, but a worse one, from a certain standpoint. The Catholic Church in Italy has just (a couple of years ago) published the new books to be officially used during the Mass. Parish priests and readers were astonished in finding things like, "From the First Letter of St Paul to Romans."

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I didn't know "culo" meant donkey!

As for that letter to the Romans, I'm surprised that any Catholics even noticed since -- as everyone knows -- Catholics don't read the Bible!

Just kidding . . . but to be fair, that was Paul's first letter to the Romans, right? Why, he even states in it that he hasn't written to them before.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:26 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

Why, he even states in it that he hasn't written to them before


Catholics don't read the Bible!

That's unfair. When I was a teenager, I did flip it through in order to find... the episode of St George killing the Dragon!

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I take it back. You Catholics do know your Bible!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is too funny! The line of St George was one of mine in the play, Inherit the Wind, which finished its run on 9/25 - "If St George had slain a DragonFLY, who would remember him?"

At 9:47 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...


Well, I also had a noble purpose, at that time: to write a sci-fi story. And I did, after gathering the info about the Saint (in an encyclopaedia, not in the Bible...)

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jay, you gotta remember to sign your John Hancock! I had to think to recall that you were performing in that play!

And you know I don't like thinking . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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