Wycliffe’s Bible: A colour facsimile of Forshall and Madden’s 1850 edition of the Middle English translation of the Latin Vulgate
Volume III: Proverbs to 2 Maccabees
Prepared for Publication by Michael Everson
First edition, 2019. Prepared for publication by Michael Everson. Dundee: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-143-9. Price: $99.95, €87.95, £78.95.
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|Forshall and Madden’s 1850 edition of Wycliffe’s Bible has long been out of print. It is very scarce and those rare copies that are available from antiquarian booksellers tend to vary both in condition and in cost. This facsimile edition contains the entire text in a sturdy binding and will be suitable for students of Middle English as well as those interested in the history of the English bible.
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|The two translations given below are conventionally designated “Wycliffe’s Bible” or “the Wycliffite Bible” because John Wycliffe (c. 1328–31 December 1384) was inspired to render Jerome’s Latin Vulgate into the spoken language of the English people, that they might be better able to understand the scriptures. Today we know that Nicholas of Hereford (died c. 1420) worked extensively on the translation of the Old Testament, completing it by 1382. John Purvey (c. 1354–16 May 1414) was probably responsible for revising the “early” translation (produced during Wycliffe’s lifetime) to the more idiomatic “later” translation, which exhibits less influence from Latin syntax. It is also possible that Cornishman John Trevisa (1342–1402) participated in the earlier translation; indeed the preface to the 1611 King James Bible mentions that Trevisa, a contemporary of Wycliffe, was involved in translating the Gospels into English.|| || |
|Josiah Forshall (29 March 1795–18 December 1863) and Frederic Madden (16 February 1801–8 March 1873) worked for twenty-two years on their remarkable edition. The early translation is given in the left-hand column, and the later translation in the right. In their text they retained the letter yogh (Ȝ ȝ) throughout but, curiously, replaced the letter thorn (Þ þ) with the digraph th. A glossary of Middle English words is given at the end of Volume IV.|| || |
|The table of contents gives the names of both the canonical and deuterocanonical books as Forshall and Madden gave them. Where the modern names differ, they are given between parentheses in italic type.|| || |
|Some versions of this facsimile are available on the internet converted to black and white. The quality of the text in these facsimiles is often questionable, particularly in the marginal notes which are often quite illegible. A colour facsimile preserves more information. Not very much intervention was required in the preparation of this edition, apart from straightening the pages and centring the text to fit margins, which did take some planning because some pages have marginal notes on one side, some have them on both sides, and some have none at all. I did repair the torn pages in Volume II p. 848 and Volume IV p. 538, and removed some blemishes throughout.|| || ||At the end of Volume IV there was originally an oddity in the pagination of the back-matter. The end of the book of Apocalypse was on page 681, followed by a blank page 682. Immediately following this was a section of Additional Prologues at pages 681b–695b, after which followed a Table of Lessons pages 683–698, a Glossary pages 699–749, a blank page 750, and a Correction page 751. In this edition I have moved the Additional Prologues to pages 751–765 after the Glossary, and I have kept the Correction page as the final page redundantly at the end of each volume, although I have applied all of the specified corrections to the relevant pages (all but one I could not find, at II p. 546 c. I. l. 22, amending te to the). I have also added guide-words to the headers in the Glossary. || ||
|My thanks are due to Derí Ó hUiginn and Detlev Hagemann, who helped me to prepare the image files for this publication, and to Andrew West and Mathew Staunton who discussed other aspects of the colour facsimile with me. I would also like to thank the subscribers to this publication, namely James Cross (Virginia), Henry A. Kelly, Spenser Santos, Andrew West, Tommy Lee Whitlock, Nicholas Williams, and Patrick H. Wynne, and to the friends of this publication, namely James Cross (Jerusalem), Angela Florschuetz, Giovanni Giusti, Tanya Anderson, Jenna Mead, Donka Minkova, Ryan Moniz, John Sheridan, Yvonne Socha, Mathew Staunton, Anders Stenström, Petri Tikka, Elizabeth A. Williamsen, Johan Winge, and Eva Zhekova, whose early contributions helped bring this project to fruition.|| || |
Dundee, 31 December 2018
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