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date: 27 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Miles Smith’s King James Bible preface, ‘The Translators to the Reader’, excavating the polemical, hermeneutic, and literary contexts that frame the preface and determine its rhetoric, style, and tone. Smith’s preface took shape in response to successive installments of the Catholic Douai-Rheims translation and the Sistine Vulgate of 1590, and drew on classic Protestant principles of argument and exegesis. At stake in these debates was the question of a textual and doctrinal return ad fontes, as both Reformed and Roman polemicists claimed the authority of the early church for their cause. In a detailed examination of the paratexts of the Rheims New Testament and the King James Bible, a compelling case study of the debates surrounding reform and interpretation is provided.

Keywords: church in history, hermeneutics, linguistics, philology, ecclesiology, paratexts, translation

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