A History of the English Bible as Literature (A History of the Bible as Literature)
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A History of the English Bible as Literature (revised and condensed from the author's acclaimed History of the Bible as Literature CUP, 1993) explores five hundred years of religious and literary ideas. At its heart is the story of how the King James Bible went from being mocked as English writing to being "unsurpassed in the entire range of literature." It studies the Bible translators, writers such as Milton and Bunyan who contributed so much to our sense of the Bible, and a fascinating range of critics and commentators.
from the New Testament revisers An English account of changes in the New Testament The New Testament revisers at work The reception of the New Testament The preface to the Old Testament An American account of changes in the Old Testament Notes from the first revision of Genesis Conclusion An aside: dialect versions ‘The Bible as literature’ The Bible ‘as a classic’: Le Roy Halsey The American Constitution and school Bible reading Matthew Arnold Richard Moulton and literary morphology
so to follow it in thy daily conversation [conduct], that other men, seeing thy good works and the fruits of the Holy Ghost in thee, may praise the Father of heaven and give his word a good report: for to live after the law of God and to lead a virtuous conversation is the greatest praise that thou canst give unto his doctrine. (p. ) Most significant is that he calls the Bible not ‘Scripture’ or ‘writing’ but ‘doctrine’. The one linguistic matter he gives consideration to here is variety of
amount of red ink it uses in the substantial prefatory material and, particularly, in the quality and quantity of its engravings. It is a Bible for public show. Nevertheless, it was also intended as a study Bible: it is annotated, often at such length that the bottoms of columns have to be used and the page is blackened. A series of hieroglyphics intrudes into the text to draw the reader to the annotations. Though all this militates very strongly against literary reading, the use of poetic form
dictionary, teaching the language of the Holy Ghost in our own native tongue; which if a man could once attain to speak naturally and kindly he would be more powerfully eloquent than if he spake with the tongues of men and angels’ (Wilson, , unfoliated). This can be taken as suggesting that the English of the Bible is a perfect divine language, and it encourages true Christians to model their language thereon. Popular familiarity with the KJB was to be the main foundation for love of its
that understands the Hebrew’ (fol. Ar). They give the verse first in Hebrew characters, then transliterated, then in the words of the KJB. No further comment is made, but the careful English reader who knew no Hebrew would see in the English a playing on the alliterative ‘feast’ and ‘fat’ as well as the development from ‘wine on the lees’ to ‘wines on the lees well refined’: ‘a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined’. The