Friday, March 11, 2011

The King James Version (1611-2011)

Dr. Becker draws attention to an anniversary many of us would probably have missed in a blog article entitled "The AV at 400."  It turns out that 2011 is the quadricentential anniversary of the King James Version.  My parents came of age with the KJV, but as for me it was the RSV.  Nevertheless, the KJV has been part of my library and world, especially since I grew up with the Lutheran Hymnal in which much of the language is old Anglican/KJV.  When I read Becker's article two books in my library came to mind that had received little to no attention in years, save being moved from one shelf to another:
  • White, James R.  The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1995.
  • Moynahan, Brian.  God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible - A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal.  New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002.
It occurred to me that the 400th anniversary of the KJV might be a great excuse to finally pull these off the shelf and give them the attention they have deserved.  White's book received endorsements from J.I. Packer and Bruce Metzger, the latter who recommended the book for anyone who is "troubled by criticisms of the English translations." It addresses an issue that was probably more prevalent back in the 90's, namely, that the KJV was the only divinely-endorsed translation, seemingly on par even with the original Greek itself.

Moynahan is a former history scholar at Cambridge and his book lays the historical foundation that leads to the KJV.  I'm thinking that this might be the book to read first (once I finish the other tome I'm reading by former President Bush.) 

The KJV remains as an historical landmark in literature, and regardless of subsequent developments in biblical studies and translations the beauty and art of its language cannot be surpassed.

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