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The King James Bible

In January 1604, shortly after his accession to the English throne, King James I convened the Hampton Court Conference in an effort to broaden and solidify ecclesiastical support for his reign. Meeting with representatives from the Church of England and the Puritans, James helped broker a number of religious settlements that smoothed over several contentious religious issues. James's most significant action, however, was to commission a new translation of the Bible that would redress any errors or shortcomings of the English Bibles that had come before. The result, it was hoped, would be a Bible that would satisfy the desires and needs of all English Bible users. Six companies of translators—two each at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster—divided the Bible and diligently compared their respective sections to existing English translations and a variety of other sources, including numerous Hebrew, Latin, and Greek versions. As the translators themselves explained, their purpose was not "to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one… but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one…". After seven years of painstaking work, their finished product was printed in May 1611, forever changing the face of English Bible teaching, preaching and reading.