Friday 24 June 2011

Pauline Croft and Mark Noll on the King James Version

There are two nice articles on the King James Bible in the latest edition of Theology – 114, 4 (2011) – currently with a free trial period.

Pauline Croft

The Emergence of the King James Version of the Bible, 1611

In 2011 we celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the publication in 1611 of the King James Version of the Bible. It is by far the best-known of all Bible translations, still used worldwide. In 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference, the more puritan wing of the Church of England pressed King James I to reform various ecclesiastical practices which they saw as abuses. He refused but agreed that there should be a new Bible translation. The article discusses this key event and traces the background, from Anglo-Saxon translations to the Reformation scholarship of men such as Tyndale and Coverdale, who used the new technology of printing to make Scripture widely available to those who knew no Latin or Greek. The process culminated in 1611 with the King James Bible, an exceptionally scholarly and readable version, at a time when expanding literacy allowed far more people to read the Scriptures for themselves.

Mark A. Noll

William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and the King James Version of the Bible

During 1911 three of the United States’ leading statesmen (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan) delivered lengthy speeches to commemorate the tercentenary of the King James Bible. While all three emphasized this Bible’s important contribution to American democratic ideals, Bryan also stressed the Bible’s role in revealing Jesus Christ as ‘Son of God and Saviour of Mankind’. Shades of difference in how these leaders spoke of the Bible and in how their careers promoted progressive politics suggests the range of meanings to which the King James Version has been put in American history.

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