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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter illuminates European debates concerning Bible translation and the post-1611 contexts of scriptural translation and editing. Learned as well as relatively unlearned critiques of the KJB continued throughout the seventeenth century; nowhere were they more fervent than in the turbulent middle decades. The most sustained critique, Robert Gell’s ‘An Essay toward the Amendment of the last English-translation of the Bible’, recommended close to 500 particular revisions in a text of more than 800 pages. Smith addresses Gell’s scholarly methods as well as the text’s relationship with Gell’s broader theology; his resistance to predestination and his pursuit of the theology of inherent righteousness; his interest in the occult; his deployment of aesthetic theory; and his relationships with religious radicals and philosophers. Gell’s significance, Smith concludes, lies less in his critique of the KJB, and more in his role in inspiring the influential Pietism of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: Robert Gell, radicalism, Anne Conway, Henry More, John Milton, King James Bible, Pietism, interpretation

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