King James, New David

The first edition of what is known in the United States as the King James Version (KJV), and in England as the Authorized Version (AV), was published seven years after the Hampton Court Palace conference of 1604 in which English bishops, Puritan leaders and other churchmen were convened by James I for the purpose of determining "things pretended to be amiss in the church". The fifty odd translators were divided into six companies who worked on the basis of the Bishop’s Bible to produce a text deliberately sought to eschew controversy, with an apparatus limited to a selection of biblical cross-references and devoid of illustrations. The privilege of printing and publishing the KJV was conferred to the King’s Printer, Robert Barker, who already held the privilege to the Bishop’s Bible, and remained in the Barker family until 1709. As the previous liturgical Bibles published in England during the 16th c. the black-letter typefaces of the KJV betray an archaic Parisian origin.

In the following years many editions were published in smaller formats, leading to the replacement of the Geneva Bible as a study Bible, as the KJV had replaced the Bishop’s Bible in the liturgical use of Anglican Churches.

King James I also prepared for many years a metrical translation of the Psalms that would be his legacy to the Churches of Scotland and England and supplant the Sternhold-Hopkins version, particularly criticized by the Calvinists. After James I’s death Charles I (1600-1649) failed in his attempts to make his father’s version the standard liturgical text.