Beautiful Literature ?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Jun 2, 2006.

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  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    The Word of God is in written form , of course . The Lord is not audible to many of us . Is one consideration for considering the KJV as the Bible translation of choice the alien sounding words ? Do you like the "otherness" feel to it ? Does it sound better because it uses what some may consider elevated language ? Because it is so different from the way we naturally speak today -- does that lend it a dignity that you appreciate ?

    William Shakespeare's works are not scriptural . They are not inspired in that unique sense that Scripture is alone . But I was wondering --- as far as I know Shakespear's plays have not been updated in our language . It would be thought of as marring beautiful literature . It would be considered tampering with something so special , so unique , so classic . The Canterbury Tales have been modernized because the English is even more unrecognizable . But don't touch our William Shakespear ! Foreigners ( like Koreans ) can enjoy Shakespear in a way many native English speakers cannot . The plays have been put in contemporary ways which people speak . Therefore they have a greater degree of understanding compared with native English readers .

    Could this have some application to the KJV devotees ?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    The beautiful lilt of the language is a draw.

    It was designed for easier public reading. Still is easy to read (and memorize).

    That's why I love my KJV and, though I dwell in Greek texts and enjoy other versions, I still have a "special" relationship with it.
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I as well will admit that the language is part of the reason that I am a KJV adherent.
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    An unexpected KJV admirer

    "Often it has been said that the Authorized Version ought to be retailned as the primary English Bible for public and private use, if for no other reason than that of its special impact on our literature. It is so much a part of our heritage that we deprive ourselves culturally (as well as religiously) if we set aside the 1611 Bible (sic) for modern translations." (From Lutheran Theologian John Reumann's Intro. to The Literary Impact of the Authorized Version, by C. S. Lewis, 1963, p. vi) :type:
     
    #4 John of Japan, Jun 2, 2006
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  5. Rippon

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    What may be beautiful literary excellence to one may sound odd , antiquated and cumbersome communication to another . Sometimes the "beauty" of it might be a barrier to a more understandable way of expressing a biblical text . The very familiarity of the KJV wording could be problematic at times . If one doesn't consult commentaries and other versions certain misconceptions about a text will persist though they "know the KJV cover-to-cover ." It is my assumption that most of the Christian public is not familiar with the original languages . Someone who prefers the KJV and knows Greek and Hebrew will be at a decided advantage .
     
  6. Rippon

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    I'll open this one with a quote from Edwin H. Palmer from the Presbyterian Guardian 44 ( Aug.-Sept. 1975 ) .

    Do not give them a loaf of bread , covered with an inedible , impenetrable crust , fossilized by three and a half centuries . Give them the Word of God as fresh and warm and clear as the Holy Spirit gave it to the authors of the Bible ...
    For any preacher or theologian who loves God's Word to allow that word to go on being misunderstood because of the veneration of an archaic , not-understood version of four centuries ago is inexcusible , and almost unconscionable .

    So I ( Rippon ) am asking this -- is it the best thing to use archaic language for the want of dignity ? I think it creates unwanted distance . I think it sets up a tradition of men . I think that to venerate any version ( but I am specifically referencing the KJV here ) because the style is beautiful is not a substantive argument. It has been demonstrated that the KJV has many inaccuracies . What is more important , supposed elegance , or to have a version which renders God's Word to today's people faithfully ?
     
  7. Rippon

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    Though Tyndale's basic wording is in much of the KJV New Testament and a good deal ( albeit less because he couldn't complete it ) of the Old Testament --- a Tyndale of today would not write in the style of the KJV flavoring . Tyndale wrote to be understood in the plain vernacular of the common people . He did not attempt to be ornate . And besides ,the KJV of 1611 was purposefully written in an older manner . It was not written in the language of the people for the most part . Of course they could understand much more of it than we do today . But the revisers fancied it up a bit to make it seem more stately .

    Benson Bobrick's book : " Wide as the Waters " speaks of this on page 255 . Bobrick says :

    Their conservative mandate -- not to make a new translation but to revise the old -- restrained them to some degree from moderizing the English of it , even up to the usage of their ow time . Some of the expressions they adopted were already a bit archaic in 1611 -- such as verily and it came to pass -- but these were kept because they also seemed to endow the text with a certain "antique rightness" for which it has always been prized .
     
  8. Rippon

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    I think some believe that the mere antiquity of the KJV is a built-in virtue . But being old doesn't necesarily bestow literary beauty . Please consider a couple of examples .

    KJV I Corinthians 13:4

    Charity suffereth long , and is kind ; charity envieth not ; charity vaunteth not itself , is not puffed up .

    The same reference in the NIV/TNIV :

    Love is patient , love is kind . It does not envy , it does not boast , it is not proud .

    KJV Job 41:12-14

    I will not conceal his parts , nor his power , nor his comely proportion . Who can discover the face of his garment ? or who can come to him with his double bridle ? Who can open the doors of his face ? His teeth are terrible round about .

    TNIV

    I will not fail to speak of Leviathan's limbs , its strength and its graceful form . Who can strip off its outer coat ? Who can penetrate its double coat of armour ? Who dares open the doors of its mouth , ringed about with fearsome teeth ?
     
    #8 Rippon, Jun 5, 2006
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  9. PASTOR MHG

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    Poor examples...try again!

    Max
     
  10. Rippon

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    Okay , you want some examples of obsolete , enigmatic English from the KJV ? I thought that needed little demonstration . But here is a start . I'll give phrases from both the KJV and the TNIV .

    Gen. 26:8 KJV

    Isaac was sporting with Rebekah

    Isaac carressing his wife Rebekah

    Gen. 31:12 KJV

    all the rams which leap upon the cattle

    all the male goats mating with the flock

    Gen. 31:34 KJV

    put them in the camel's furniture

    put them inside her camel's saddle

    Exodus 5:19 KJV

    And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case

    The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble

    12:4 KJV

    And if the household be too little for the lamb , let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls ; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb .

    If any household is too small for a whole lamb , they must share one with their nearest neighbor , having taken into account the number of people there are . You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat .

    13:12 KJV

    That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix , and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast ; the males shall be the Lord's .

    you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb . All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord .

    16:23 KJV

    and seethe that ye will seethe

    and boil what you want to boil

    17:13 KJV

    And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

    So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword .

    21:23 KJV

    and if any mischief follow , then thou shalt give life for life .

    but if there is serious injury , you are to take life for life .

    22:28 KJV

    Thou shalt not revile the gods

    Do not blaspheme God

    Lev. 8:7 KJV

    and he girdled him with the curious girdle

    decorative waistband

    8:13 KJV

    and put bonnets upon them

    and fastened caps on them

    16:29 KJV

    ye shall afflict your souls

    you must deny yourselves
     
  11. IveyLeaguer

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    The romantic beauty of the KJV is incomparable, but I would never think of it as literature.
     
  12. Rippon

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    Of course it is literature . But since it is breathed-out by God it ( and other translations/versions of the Word of God ) stands apart from merely human works .
     
  13. Ransom

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    John of Japan said:

    (From Lutheran Theologian John Reumann's Intro. to The Literary Impact of the Authorized Version, by C. S. Lewis, 1963, p. vi) :type:

    Ironically, Lewis himself goes on in that speech to argue that the language of the AV is no more inherently beautiful than any other literature, and that the literary influence of the AV in particular (as opposed to the Bible in general) has been overstated.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    You are pretty much right, as I see by looking over the work, which I haven't read in a long time. Lewis makes some good points about that. (Gasp, a Fundamental Baptist praising C. S. Lewis???)

    His main point is that the Bible is the Word of God, meant to be lived rather than just admired. He writes, "In most parts of the Bible everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with 'Thus saith the Lord.' It is, if you like to put it that way, not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite, it excludes or repels, the merely aesthetic approach" (pp. 32-33).
     
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