The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0754 Wednesday, 12 August 1998.
From: Chris Kendall <
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 13:45:51 -0600
Subject: KJV Team
Richard J Kennedy writes:
>After an unexplained delay of
>about 3 years, work was begun in earnest in 1607, the translators being
>divided into 6 groups based at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster. The
>translation of the King James Bible was finished in 1610 and put
>through the press and published in 1611, acclaimed ever since to be the
>most beautiful English prose in all our literature.
>We know practically nothing about how these 54 men worked at this
>prodigious labor. We might expect that someone would have kept notes of
>the many conferences held during those several years, but no notice has
>been left to us, nor do we have any correspondence between the groups.
>Two or three small and slight anecdotes have been told, second-hand
>stories of the smallest importance if we were to understand how this
>magnificent work was achieved. Nor is there a word left to us by the
>translators themselves, neither in diary nor in letter, nor yet in attic
>or archive has been found a jot of information to tell us how these 54
>men set themselves to the task. One man alone left some fragments of
>linguistic quibbles, but that is all. And not a single translator has
>been remembered in epitaph for his part in this singular labor, nor was
>there revel, nor reception by the crown, nor barely a murmur when the
>work was done."
As a programmer currently working on Y2K issues, I can imagine how the
KJV team operated and so account for all of the above. The king hired 54
men based on LOE estimates submitted by non-translators. They met for 3
years arguing about specs. Meantime, one man spent his spare time
actually doing the translation, which was submitted to the group in more
or less finished shape in 1607 and then argued over for three more
years, until the king fired the whole group and published the thing
himself. The translator who had done the work had long since left to
write adventure stories and was forgotten.