Saturday, October 30, 2010

1611-2011 Celebrating 400 Years of the King James Bible

Can you believe it? Maybe you never thought about the impact the King James Bible has had on our contemporary lives. I hadn't until I received this book to review. So in exchange for my opinions I received this beautiful leather bound book of selected verses with the history of the King James Bible woven throughout.
The timing for the beginning of the translation couldn't be more perfect for the KJB considering the invention of the Gutenburg press in 1450 as well as it being considered the golden age of English literature. From the book: "Regarding the English language of the period, Adam Nicolson states: 'Boisterous, elegant, subtle, majestic, finely nuanced, sonorous and musical, the English of that period has a more encompassing idea of its own reach and scope than any before or since. It is a form of the language that drips with potency and sensitivity.'"
At the time the request was made by 800 clergy to King James (prior to ascending the throne) the Bishops' Bible was the standard in churches but the Geneva Bible was the most popular English translation in the homes. The clergy who signed the petition and King James himself wanted to replace the Geneva Bible because the marginal notes tended to be anti-king and state. So a new translation began.
Winston Churchill recognized the importance of the KJV noting that it "had forged an enduring link, literary and religious, between the Englishspeaking people spread across the world."
From the book: "David Crystal, a linguistic expert on the development of the English language, adds that the King James Version 'did something that nobody else had done, or nothing else had done in the history of the language previously. Not even Shakespeare had managed to do as other text in the history of the English language has done as much as the Bible to shape our modern idiom.'"
If you think about it, even unchurched people use and understand references from the Bible without maybe even realizing from where those references have come, like the use of "longsuffering," "peacemaker," or "scapegoat."
David Simpson, member of parliament, attributes the Bible to many great events as the bible of Milton and of the Protectorate, guiding the Glorious Revolution which gave England the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, and it as the Bible of Whitfield and Wesley preventing a bloody revolution in Britain like the brutal and bloody French Revolution.
It one of the most common translations around even today. So when you see a King James Version or New King James Version (full translation released in 1982) you can now think about what a great historical treasure we have.

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