KJV Book Review

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by Deacon, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    The full title of the book is “In the Beginning, The Story of the KING JAMES BIBLE and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture” by Alister McGrath. The first eight chapters of the book acquaint us with the social, religious and political events that lead up to the printing of the most wildly read Bible translation in the world. Chapters nine and ten deal with the difficulties encountered in translating and printing the Bible. Finally chapters eleven and twelve describe how the translation shaped the English language and its journey to ultimate acclaim.

    Okay, I have to admit it; I was drawn to the book by its title, “In the Beginning”. ;) (My hobby is studying the various forms of creationism). But here is a history book that everyone will learn something from.

    For a histri-phobe like me, this book put some pieces together. McGrath describes the struggles and the accomplishments of key individuals and how they took part in the history of the development of the KJV translation. Johannes Gutenberg (1450’s-printing press), Wycliffe, Shakespeare, King Henry VIII, Martin Luther, Erasmus, Tyndale; their labors triumphs and failings and even for some, their martyrdom, are described in such a way as to make their contributions easily understandable.

    Even people who are well acquainted with the history surrounding the events leading up to KJV translation will be astonished at the tidbits incorporated smoothly into its text. (Did you know they even had pocket editions back in the 1500’s, best suited for smuggling into countries where it was banned?)

    Alister McGrath’s book will not change your position on the “KJV only” debates that seem to pop up from time to time on the Baptist Board. But it will help you to understand the impact that the translation had and why the King James Bible is known as a masterpiece of English literature. And it will help you to treasure the Bible (of any translation that you read) in a way that perhaps you have not before.

    [ September 30, 2002, 09:08 PM: Message edited by: Deacon ]
     
  2. Zebedee

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    I read this book and enjoed it very much.
     
  3. tyndale1946

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  4. Deacon

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    Tx. Guess we all enjoyed it! [​IMG]
     
  5. Rippon

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    An Oldie But Goodie Thread

    I just bought In The Beginning last night.It's wonderfully informative.There's a section heading :"Archaic English Forms In The King James Bible"that I found fascinating.Here goes :

    One of the most interesting aspects of the King James Bible is its use of ways of speaking that were already becoming archaic in the standard English of the first decade of the seventeenth century. By adopting these older forms, the King James Bible had the unintended effect of perpetuating ways of speaking that, strictly speaking, were dying out in everyday English speech.

    ...A careful study of the court records of the nothern English city of Durham suggests that "you" had replaced "thou" as the normal form of address in spoken English by about 1575. (pages 265-267)


    Some have suggested that the King James Bible's use of "Thee," "Thou," and "Thy" to refer specifically to God is a title of respect, and argued that modern Christianity should retain this practice. This is clearly indefensible, at least for the following two reasons:

    1. These same forms of address are used indiscriminately for God, Satan, and human beings, reflecting the usage of the early sixteenth century;
    2. the use of these forms of address was, if anything, derogatory, implying superiority on the part of the user over the one being thus addressed. It is one thing for God to address a human being as "thou"; for this hint of superiority to be returned is quite another.

    ...The inbuilt conservatism of the translation process, reflecting the concerns of those who sponsored and directed the three "official" English Bibles, thus led directly -- yet unintentionally -- to the retention of older English ways of speaking in religious contexts,creating the impression that religious language was somehow necessarily archaic. (pages 268-269)

    ... The King James translators simply did not believe that they had the authority to make changes reflecting developments in the English language, and so continued to reproduce the English of nearly three generations earlier. (p.271)
     
  6. Rippon

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    My thanks to Rob who started this thread almost 6 and a half years ago! Is EdSutton taking notes? I think this one may be a personal record.I have revived old threads before -- but this one is ancient.
     
  7. Dale-c

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    THis thread would have been around during the old red theme way back when.
     
  8. Dale-c

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    I also note that I was a PC user at that time, that was one month before I got my first Mac :)
     
  9. Rippon

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    I shall quote some more from In The Beginning. This time I'll be in the section dealing with "Sayeth' or 'Says'.

    What is particularly interesting is that there is strong evidence that, while the older "eth" ending continued to be written it was pronounced as if it were "s." In his Special Help to Orthography, published in 1643, Richard Hodges comments that although it was customary to write such words as leadeth it, noteth it, raketh it, perfumeth it,"and so forth, in everyday speech it was customary to say leads it, notes it, rakes it, per-fumes it, and so on. English not being a phonetic language, words can undergo significant changes in pronunciation without any need for changes in their spelling. The implications of this are, to say the least, remarkable. Would those who read the King James Bible aloud in church have pronunced "knoweth" as "knows"? (272,273)

    So why did the King James translators use an archaic verbal form in what was meant to be a modern translation? Again, the answer seems to lie with the rules provided for the translators, which more or less bound them to use the language of 1525 in their translations. A comparison of Tyndale's translation of Matthew 7:1-7 with the King James Bible shows that precisely the same older Middle English verbal endings are found in both translations. In Tyndale's time, they were in general use; by 1611, they were virtually obsolete. (273,274)
     
  10. Rippon

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    Hey TinyTim!

    This post is for TinyTim. I wasn't able to locate a post of his where he spoke of reading the KJV and used the "s" sound for the verbs ending with "eth".
     
  11. Rippon

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    This Is For Pilgrim's Benefit

    The info above negates Pilgrim's false claims.
     

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