The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible may be jeopardized by new legal action for alleged copyright infringement.
The William Tyndale Estate has filed a lawsuit against the British Monarchy. It claims the “Authorized Version” contains parts largely copied from Tyndale’s 1525 New Testament translation. Due to the magnitude of this case, the filing seeks an immediate hearing before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. They claim:
In translating the Bible, Tyndale introduced new words into the English language, and many were subsequently used in the King James Bible:
- Jehovah (from a transliterated Hebrew construction in the Old Testament; composed from the Tetragrammaton YHWH.
- Passover (as the name for the Jewish holiday, Pesach or Pesah)
- scapegoat (the goat that bears the sins and iniquities of the people in Leviticus, Chapter 16)
As well as individual words, Tyndale also coined such familiar phrases as:
- lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
- knock and it shall be opened unto you
- twinkling of an eye
- a moment in time
- fashion not yourselves to the world
- seek and you shall find
- ask and it shall be given you
- judge not that you not be judged
- the word of God which liveth and lasteth forever
- let there be light
- the powers that be
- my brother’s keeper
- the salt of the earth
- a law unto themselves
- filthy lucre
- it came to pass
- gave up the ghost
- the signs of the times
- the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak
- live and move and have our being
- fight the good fight
The complaint seeks an immediate injunction against all “KJV 400” celebrations. Furthermore, the suit asks the court to enforce a new title for all future printings of the KJV. If successful, it will become “The Revised Tyndale Bible, as authorize by the British Monarchy.” The foundation is also seeking a formal apology for Tyndale’s execution and an undisclosed financial compensation.
The Royal Family has declined to comment on the lawsuit. Few legal observers anticipate a quick settlement.
This legal action taken by the plaintiffs may also affect American congregations that previously claimed to be “King James only.”
If successful, some fear a chain reaction of legal action. The Lutheran church is rumored to be investigating their claims against later Tyndale translations for infringement upon Luther’s 1522 Bible.