Richard Kilby

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Richard Kilby (born 1560 in Radcliffe, Leicestershire — died |1620) was an English scholar and priest. He was a graduate of Lincoln College, Oxford, which he also served as rector during the lean years at the beginning of the 17th century. He was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity in 1610, and served in the "First Oxford Company" charged by James I of England with translating the latter part of the Old Testament for the King James Version of the Bible.

The following, quoted by McClure, are the words of "honest Izaak Walton," taken from his biography of Bishop Sanderson:

"Dr. Kilby was a man of so great learning and wisdom, and so excellent a critic in the Hebrew tongue, that he was made professor of it in this University; and was also so perfect a Grecians that he was by King James appointed to be one of the translators of the Bible; and that this Doctor and Mr. Sanderson had frequent, discourses, and loved as father and son. The Doctor was to ride a journey into Derbyshire, and took Mr. Sanderson to bear him company; and they, resting on a Sunday with the Doctor's friend, and going together to that parish church where they then were, found the young preacher to have no more discretion, than to waste a great part of the hour allotted for his sermon in exceptions against the late translation of several words, (not expecting such a hearer as Dr. Kilby,) and shewed three reasons why a particular word should have been otherwise translated. When evening prayer was ended, the preacher was invited to the Doctor's friend's house, where, after some other conference, the Doctor told him, he might have preached more useful doctrine, and not have filled his auditors' ears with needless exceptions against the late translation; and for that word for which he offered to that poor congregation three reasons why it ought to have been translated as he said, he and others had considered all them, and found thirteen more considerable reasons why it was translated as now printed; and told him, 'If his friend,' (then attending him,) 'should prove guilty of such indiscretion, he should forfeit his favor.' To which Mr. Sanderson said, 'He hoped he should not.' And the preacher was so ingenuous as to say, He would not justify himself.' And so I return to Oxford."

Kilby also published a volume of commentary on the Book of Exodus, drawn from earlier Hebrew rabbinical studies.


  • McClure, Alexander. (1858) The Translators Revived: A Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible. Mobile, Alabama: R. E. Publications (republished by the Marantha Bible Society, 1984 ASIN B0006YJPI8 )
  • Nicolson, Adam. (2003) God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-095975-4

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