I thought about the King James Only Debate while reading a book by David Bentley-Taylor entitled My Dear Erasmus: The Forgotten Reformer (2002).  I have always found the logic (or lack of it) in King James proponents appalling.   I have also thought that the issue is one of church tradition rather than the Bible itself.  The Erasmus book is largely a book of quotes from letters to and from Erasmus (mostly from Erasmus).  The letter in particular that caught my attention was probably in 1515.  Maarten van Dorp wrote Erasmus the following words (taken from David Bentley-Taylor’s book):

I understand that you have also revised the New Testament and written notes on over a thousand passages.  This raises another point on which I should like in the friendliest possible spirit to issue a warning.  What sort of operation is this, to correct the Scriptures, and in particular to correct Latin copies by means of the Greek?…It will do a great deal of harm.  Many people will have doubts about the integrity of the Scriptures if the presence of the least scrap of falsehood in them becomes known.

Much like the KJV only proponents today, many Catholics  in the early sixteenth century reacted to any corrections in the Latin Vulgate as this quote shows.  If we get back to more accurate copies of the Scriptures in the original languages of the Bible, but in the process show that the Latin had some problems, it would produce skepticism about the Bible.  KJVers argue the same way today.  This is always the tradition that will be elevated when someone holds to the inspiration or inerrant status of a complete translation.

Erasmus replied to van Dorp the following way:

I wonder what has beguiled your very clear-sighted mind.  You write like one of our ordinary divines who habitually attribute to the authority of the church anything that has somehow slipped into current usage.  Supposing some synod has approved the Vulgate, did it approve it in such terms that it is absolutely forbidden to correct it by the Greek original?  Were all the mistakes approved as well?

Similarly, it is the KJV movement which is really invoking the authority of tradition to supposedly defend the Word of God, when in fact, all it is doing is hindering people from seeing the pure word of God in the original languages.

Quotes above are from David-Bentley Taylor’s book, p. 63-64.