The Folger Library is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. In this video two scholars comment on some of the typographical errors that have crept in during four centuries of publishing. I had heard of the "Wicked Bible," but hadn't heard this possible explanation:
Under dim lights in a grand hall of the great Folger Shakespeare Library lies the “Wicked Bible,” called so because it omits one distinctly important word from the Seventh Commandment. It is a word with the power to prevent sin.I suppose the story is apocryphal, but it would make sense.
“Thou shalt commit adultery,” the Wicked Bible commands.
For this unfortunate typo, the printer of this 1631 edition of the King James Bible met with retribution. By order of the king, copies of the “Wicked Bible” were quickly gathered and burned. Its printer, Robert Barker, was chastised for stupidity. Barker was summoned to the Star Chamber, an English court for the powerful, relieved of his printer’s license and fined 300 pounds. Barker pleaded his innocence. Legend says another printer with whom he was locked in a legal battle had bribed one of Barker’s workers to sabotage his printing, driving poor Barker into bankruptcy.