the character of the age in which they lived


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The Character of the Age in which they Lived


The following is incredibly astute and may be helpful. Written in 1836 by two scholars from Princeton, Joseph Addison Alexander and John Seely Hart. They were reviewing two excellent sermons by John W. Nevin and William Adams.

The English Bible (Page 157)
Joseph Addison Alexander and John Seely Hart
The Biblical Repertory and Theological Review, 1836
These two urls
shows Addison as author with Hart.

The review by:

Joseph Addison Alexander (1809-1860)

John Seely Hart (1810-1877)

can be seen here:

The Biblical Repertory and Theological Review, conducted by an Association of Gentlemen in Princeton, Volume 8, (1836)

The two sermons are at:

The National Preacher, Volumes 9-10
The History, Character and Importance of the Received English of the Bible (preached Oct 4, 1835)
William Adams (1807-1880)

Presbyterian Preacher (1836)
The English Bible
John Wiliamson Nevin (1803-1866)

And see at:

Biblical Repertory (1836)
Nevin and Adams


Alexander and Hart, in their review of Nevin and Adams:

1. The character of the age in which they lived.—" The age in which our translation was made was pre-eminently a learned age. In science and the arts, that in which we live is, we admit, greatly beyond its predecessors. But so far as learning and scholarship is concerned, we do affirm there never has been an age equal to it. There never was an age so distinguished by so many illustrious scholars in every department of classical and biblical learning. Where do we go for profound original information on Latin, Greek or Oriental Literature? Where are the great storehouses from which our bookmakers draw their Lexicons, their Grammars, their Commentaries? Was Melancthon a "mere Latin scholar?" Did Roger Ascham know nothing of Greek? Were Erpenius, and Golius, and Pococke, unacquainted with Arabic? Was Hebrew a dead letter to such men as Buxtorf, Morinus, Pagninus, Arias Montanus, Tremellius, Junius, Beza, Castell, Walton and Pool ? Where is the Public Library, three-fourths of whose volumes on sacred philology are not dated in the 16th and 17th centuries ? We find in this period among the magnates of Oriental and Classical learning besides those already mentioned, such names as Budaeus, Erasmus, Turnebus, the Scaligers, P. Manutius, Aldus Manutius, the younger Casaubon, Fagius, the Morels, Gesner, Fabriius, Morus, Glass, Capellus, Grotius, Usher, Lightfoot, Montfaucon, Vossius, Heinsius, (father and son), Bochart, Meursius, Robert and Henry Stephens, all of them scholars of the very highest order; to say nothing of the incomparable divines, and illustrious authors of every sort and in every nation, who flourished during the same period. Now, though all these were not living at the time our translation was made, yet a majority of them were cotemporary with the translators; and they show the general character of the age, that it was the age of great men, especially of great scholars. The eighteenth century excelled it in science and works of taste. But for men of profound erudition, beyond all contradiction there never was such a period since the foundation of the world. The turn which the Reformation took, and the great controversies, between the Papacy and its opposers, appealing at every step to the original languages of the Scriptures, made Greek and Hebrew what politics is now, the great absorbing topic of the world. Critical editions of the Bible and of Classical authors were published on a scale and in a style utterly unparalleled. The immense Thesaurus of the Greek language, by Henry Stephens; the Rabbinical Lexicon of Buxtorf; the Arabic Lexicon of Golius ; the Hierozoicon, of Bochart, the twelve folio volumes of Meursius on Grecian Antiquities, are but specimens of the thorough-going manner in which the scholars of that day handled every subject which they attempted. It is impossible even to glance at their productions without a profound veneration of their scholarship, only equalled by our amazement at the effrontery which would call it in question. Their very printers were learned men. Even their books of devotion are so crowded with Greek and Hebrew that many a sciolist of these days could not read a page in them without his Lexicon and Grammar, who yet would not blush to call himself a scholar, or to attempt with some "consulted aids " to make "a new translation of the Bible."

... Dr. George Hakewell, a cotemporary, in a work first published in 1627, says,

'This latter age hath herein so far excelled, that all the great learned scholars, who have of late risen, especially if they adhered to the Reformed Churches, have been by friars and such like people, in a kind of scorn, termed grammarians. But these grammarians are they who presented us with so many exact translations out of Hebrew and Greek. into Latin, and again out of Latin into other languages. To which may be added the exquisite help of dictionaries, lexicons and grammars, in this latter age, beyond the precedent, not only for the easier learning of the western languages, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French, but especially the eastern, the Hebrew, the Chaldaic, the Syriac, the Arabic. Of all the ancient fathers, but only two (among the Latins, St. Jerome, and Origen among the Grecians), are found to have excelled in the Oriental languages; this last century having afforded more skillful men in that way than the other fifteen since Christ.'
Now is it probable that, only twenty years before this testimony was written, the monarch of an enlightened nation, himself proud of being thought a learned man, and ambitious to effect a version of the Scriptures that might be quoted as the great glory of his reign, should not be able, out of fifty-four of the principal scholars in the kingdom, including the Hebrew and Greek professors of the Universities, and the most distinguished heads and fellows of the several Colleges, to obtain any learned and honest enough to "translate directly from the original." But laying aside all probabilities, what are the known facts of the case as recorded by unquestioned contemporary historians ? Who were the venerable men called by King James to this celebrated undertaking ?

(the article continues with the specific translators)" — (p.164-167)

This was published in:

Southern Presbyterian Review, Volume 10 (Jan, 1858)
The Revision Movement p. 493-519
Richard S. Gladney

Richard Strong Gladwill (1806-1869)


George Hakewill (1578 or 1579 – 1649)

work is :

Apologie or Declaration of the Power and Providence of God (1627, 1630 and 1635)
George Hakewill (1630 edition)
Quote, his section is abbreviated, the full section can be seen here,

From a review of Henry John Todd (1763-1845) an AV defender:

The British review and London critical journal (1820)
Vindication of the Authorized English Translation of the Bible

And here is Todd's section:

An Authentic Account of Our Authorized Translation of the Holy Bible, and of the Translators: With Testimonies to the Excellence of the Translation (1834 2nd edition)
Henry John Todd

Oh, the doofus Jonathan Homer, the "scholar" who is quoted with stuff like "mere Latin scholars" has a section quoted in the Biblical Repertory article above, His fuller writing on this topic was in an earlier issue:

The Biblical Repository and Classical Review, Volume 6.
Early English Versions of the Bible
Bela Bates Edwards
"at the close of this article, we are happy to present ...I have long been seeking to improve the text of the Common Version" p. 477-482

The article itself, Early English Versions of the Bible, by the editor Bela Bates (1802-1852) Edwards, is otherwise very fine, beginning on p. 451


Note: This thread can be expanded to have a variety of AV majestic material

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery


the language skill level of the people ENTERING the universities in those years
how these went downhill over the years

the language skills and fluency of the 50 learned men who worked on the AV-1611

the public debates held in Greek - the "Greek acts"

the focus on real language skills, rather than arcane geek-o-crat emphasis that will satisfy publish or perish

the inability of so many of our modern scholars to actually speak Greek

how even simple language immersion (which at least can create fluency) barely exists in Biblical Greek studies

how Biblical Greek got derailed by nonsense like the Granville Sharp Rule for Fools

examples of the silliness that passes for Biblical Greek scholarship today

the example of Eugenius Bulgaris and the heavenly witnesses, how a truly fluent Greek scholar expert relates to the interface of language and text.

how lexicon scholars can always make lexical excuses
(because they do not speak the languages)
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