A Statement on the Edition of the King James Bible I Publish
By Brandon Staggs
Author of SwordSearcher Bible Software and editor of AV1611.com.
The bottom line (aka, TL;DR)
I use the KJV text Cambridge published for most of the 20th century. The exemplar source is the 1920 Cambridge Cameo.
If you'd like to know more, read on...
- The text published on AV1611.com and in SwordSearcher Bible Software conforms to an edition of the King James Bible originally published by Cambridge University Press, and immediately thereafter, Collins and other printing houses in both England and America.
- Some examples of this text in my personal collection are various Cambridge Bibles including “Cameo” and “Pitt Minion” models, Collins “Brevio,” Allan, and Bibles from American printing houses.
- From this point on I will refer to this as the Common Cambridge Text. I use this name only because it is technically appropriate – this edition of the text was in common use by Cambridge and numerous other (licensed and unlicensed) printing houses, as my own collection of Bibles shows.
- The original digital source of the text was a public domain copy of the KJV published in the 1980s. Over the years it has been meticulously checked, corrected, and double-checked. Using multiple digital and printed sources, I personally compared the orthographic variances between this text and several others to locate areas that needed to be verified. I removed the last of the discovered variances from the text by ensuring that each word matches the Common Cambridge Text as presented in numerous printed copies of it in my possession.
- The end result is an electronic copy of the Common Cambridge Text, consistent in the following respects:
- Specific word spellings, such as “inquire” (Common) vs “enquire”, and “rasor” (Common) vs “razor.”
- Correct word selection, such as “throughly" in 2 Timothy 3:17 (Common), not “thoroughly” (an error).
- The placement of punctuation: periods, colons, semicolons, etc.
- The capitalization of letters in words.
- Certain visual details have not been included or exactly matched in the electronic edition, including pronunciation guides, graphemes, postscript placement, and pilcrows. Some of these would negatively affect the usefulness of the text as an electronic, easily searchable book. Some are editorial and not consistent or complete across Common Cambridge Text printings.
Other Matters and Questions
- “What is your authority for deciding which spellings, capitalization, or italics to use?”
- I have chosen the Common Cambridge Text to be the standard for the electronic King James Bible I publish precisely because I do not have the authority to make those choices myself, independent of some definitive standard. Based on the collection of Bibles I have, and hours upon hours of scouring used bookstores and eBay for current and out-of-print copies of the KJV, I found that this is the most common single uniform edition of the text ever printed, at least as far as I can tell. I have a stack of King James Bibles printed between 1910 and 1995 from both American and English printing houses, with different sizes and typefaces, with different margins and bindings, and they all agree in word and letter as I am publishing it on AV1611.com and in SwordSearcher. Every time someone contacts me reporting what they think is or may be an error, I diligently open these Bibles and ensure that what I am publishing matches, on the chance that there is still some minor variance in need of correction. I consider this a reasonable Historical Testimony on which to base an electronic copy of the King James Bible. To avoid setting myself up as an authority or publishing a unique edition of the KJV, I do not wish to deviate from this Historical Testimony presented in these Common Cambridge Text printings.
- Is this the “Pure Cambridge Edition?”
- Because the text I publish is consistent with the orthography of the Common Cambridge Text, many people refer to it as “a PCE” or “the Pure Cambridge Edition.” For an explanation of the origin of the text I publish, see above, numbers 4 and 5.
- The standard for the text I publish is my collection of printed Common Cambridge Text King James Bibles, not a web site, database, or PDF file from third party sources. The text I publish is not a unique or novel edition of the KJV; it is an historical Cambridge setting circa 1900.
- I believe any faithful, honest printing of the King James Bible is God's word, including the first edition from Robert Barker (Proverbs 30:5). I have chosen an historical setting of the KJV to publish to avoid making my own edition of the KJV, not because I want to make an issue over its orthography or printing errors among its varied settings.
- If you have questions concerning this, all I ask of you is to prayerfully contact me with your concerns so that these issues can be adequately addressed.
Understand that I have not made private, unilateral decisions about the orthography of the text, and that I am simply publishing the Cambridge University Press text of the King James Bible, circa 1900.
I do not purport to be infallible but have prayerfully approached this issue and know that I will never please all the brethren.
Ps 68:11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.