The Dutch State Translation: A Declaration of Independence

Helen Kraus

in Gender Issues in Ancient and Reformation Translations of Genesis 1-4

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731563 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

The Dutch State Translation: A Declaration of Independence

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The 1477 Delft Bible, a translation of the Latin Vulgate, had proved extremely popular. However, the Latin version was that of the Church of Rome and thus a new translation from the Hebrew rather than Latin constituted something of a declaration of independence, both from the Catholic Church and from Spanish occupation. Like the English Authorized Version, the Dutch translation adhered closely to the Hebrew text. The most striking feature of the Statenbijbel is the use of the word huysvrouwe in Genesis 4:1, implying that she belongs to the man and is his legitimate wife, the proper foundation of a sexual and procreative relationship. Marriage in the 17th‐century Netherlands had become a civil matter rather than a sacrament. The Dutch statesman and self‐styled poet and hugely popular moralist, Jacob Cats, though himself no puritan, reinforced the strict principles of female chastity and male dominion.

Keywords: Dutch State Translation; Delft Bible; Vulgate; Authorized Version; Statenbijbel; huysvrouwe; procreative relationship; marriage; Jacob Cats; female chastity; male dominion

Chapter.  12231 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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