Early English Bible Translations

(1062 words)
  • Richard Marsden (University of Nottingham)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The language of western Christianity in the early medieval period was Latin, and it was the Latin Bible (in the form known as the Vulgate) which remained the official source of scripture for the English church until the Reformation. Yet even before the Norman Conquest of 1066, a signifcant proportion of the Bible was available in vernacular translation also — in Old English — even though there was never a complete “Old English Bible”.

As early as the opening decades of the eighth century, the Venerable Bede, well aware of the problems faced by English monks having to master Latin, seems to have put at least parts of the gospel of St John into English, but the details are sketchy. Our first clear evidence o…

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Marsden, Richard. "Early English Bible Translations". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 March 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1270, accessed 08 July 2015.]