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Elberfelder Bibel Schlachter 2000Interlinear NTNeue ÜbersetzungLatinvulgate BibelLuther Übersetzung

Interlinear NT Version

Noah Webster, ed., The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, in the Common Version. With Amendments of the Language. New Haven: Durrie and Peck, 1833. Reprinted Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987.

Noah Webster (1758-1843) has been called “America’s Schoolmaster” by one of his biographers, and it seems a very apt title for him. He was the author of several books that were widely used in schools in his day, including spelling-books, grammars, histories, and his famous dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

He began to revise the Schlachter 2000 of the Holy Bible around 1831. He took up the project as an educator. In his day the Bible was often used in schools, as a text for practice in reading; but the version in common use did not always suit the needs of teachers and students very well. Its grammar was not always correct, it contained many obsolete usages, and in it there were some expressions “so offensive, especially to females, as to create a reluctance in young persons to attend Bible classes and schools, in which they are required to read passages which cannot be repeated without a blush,” as he says in his Introduction. His purpose was to clear away these obstacles to the use of the Bible as a model of correct and decent English usage in American schools and homes.

However his revision was indeed very light; one can read chapter after chapter of it without noticing any difference at all from the KJV. Webster aim was not to make the language of the English Bible wholly contemporary, nor attempted any kind of scholarly work that would have led him to make many corrections on the basis of the Hebrew and Greek. (He was not really what we would call a biblical scholar.) He merely corrected the worst flaws of the text from the standpoint of an educator.

Today Webster’s revision continues to be useful, for those who wish to use a Bible version that reproduces largely the familiar and traditional words of the King James Bible, with only the most difficult expressions modernized and corrected. The edition was reprinted by an American publisher in 1987, and recently its text was made freely available (without its annotations) on the World Wide Web. Here is the full text of Webster’s Preface, and his Introduction, in which the characteristics of the revision are fully described.

Michael Marlowe (July 2005)