The Buggre Alle This Bible

21 January 2010

I spend quite a few spare hours at a site called Distributed Proofreaders, which prepares scanned texts for uploading to Project Gutenberg. The DP crew have crowdsourced proofreading and formatting so that every page gets processed by several different people before a project manager assembles it and sets it off to fly, my pretties, fly.

I’ve been on the site a while now, so I proof on a team which reviews special projects to give new proofers feedback. Usually, these are forgotten novels from the 19th and 20th centuries, but a couple of weeks ago one of the project managers ran ten instalments of The Bible for Young People through there.

OCRs are crabbit old things, so the occasional fortuitous error was to be expected, such as the number of times the prophets seemed to be instructing the Israelites to ‘bow down before the LOUD’ instead of the LORD.

One slip that won’t be adding itself to the venerable list of Bible errata – where the entire edition is traditionally named after the erratum – came up this evening when one of us was doing the second look at a new member’s proofing of II Kings.

During an involved chronicle of the Israelites’ war with Assyria, the Authorised Version has:

And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth,

That wasn’t good enough for the first proofer, whose username, oddly enough, wasn’t that far away from a famous diabolical child of the 1970s:

And they spake against the gods of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth,

We changed it back, not wanting to come any closer to the Blasphemy of the Crowds Bible than we had.

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