I've taken the liberty of copying the following from The Secular Web
In 1603, James I became King of England. He inherited the benefits of the Elizabethan age: the developing attitude of tolerance, the strong spirit of intellectual excitement (prompted by such men as Shakespeare, Bacon, Jonson) and broad interest in religious matters. James was something of a Bible scholar, and is said to have tried his hand at translation. In an attempt to ease some of the tensions among Christians, he responded to a suggestion of Dr. John Reynolds of Oxford, a Puritan, that a new translation of the Bible be undertaken. Forty-seven scholars and learned clergymen were appointed to the translation committee (James' letter of authorization mentions fifty-four). Among the guide rules developed for translation were the following:
- The Bishops' Bible was to be followed and only altered where necessary.
Old ecclesiastical terms were to be retained.
No marginal notes were to be included except to give suitable alternate readings or to cite parallel passages.
Wherever Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale, the Great Bible, or the Geneva Bible, were closer to the original text, these translations were to be followed.
The finished product, the famous King James Version
, was not a perfect work, and in 1613
a revised edition appeared. As a result of sharp criticism
, a third revision was made in 1629
. Unfortunately, the Codex Alexandrinus
had not arrived in England in time to be consulted, and eminent scholars were pressing for a new translation. The King James Version went through further revisions, one in 1638
, another more extensive one in 1762
and in 1769
still another, in which spelling and punctuation were brought up to date. The Rheims-Douai version was revised in 1749
by Bishop Richard Challoner.
Excerpted from Old Testament Life and Literature by Gerald A. Larue