Monday, 22 November 2010

Quartercentenary of the 'King James Bible' Approaches

The quartercentenary of the Authorised Version of the English Bible, more commonly known as the King James Version, is fast approaching. Robert McCrum, an authority on the English language (as well as having an excellent name!), notes the cultural significance of this anniversary for English-speakers in an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper...

Whenever we put words into someone's mouth, or see the writing on the wall, or go from strength to strength, or eat, drink and be merry, or fight the good fight, or bemoan the signs of the times, or find a fly in the ointment, or use words such as "long-suffering", "scapegoat" and "peacemaker" we are unconsciously quoting the KJB. More astounding, compared to Shakespeare's prodigal 31,000-word vocabulary, the KJB works its magic with a lexicon of just 12,000 words.

McCrum goes on to wonder how secular Britain will mark this event, and asks if any of the official celebrations will include a non-stop reading of the AV...apparently not, but not a bad idea just the same. As it happens, a Lutheran congregation in the city where I live recently held just such a public reading of the entire Bible, however they did not use the Authorised Version, but the more prosaic New International Version, alas. (No, I'm not advocating a return to the Authorised Version in public reading, just lamenting that its magical cadences have disappeared so completely from our culture).

Click on the post title to read McCrum's article in full.

Btw, if you're interested in quality Bibles from Cambridge, Oxford, etc., you might like to check out the Bible Design Blog - there's a link provided in the Miscellanea column to the right. I'm afraid I can't afford to buy the Bibles Mark reviews, but his blog makes for interesting reading and he features high quality pics of the Bibles in question.
It seems there is at least one interesting commemorative edition of the AV coming out next year - in quite an intriguing format too.

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