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The King James Bible and the World It Made
Edited by David Lyle Jeffrey
The King James translation of the Bible ushered in a new eloquence that until 1611 had not existed in the English language. Four centuries later, the literary and historical power of this Bible continues to awe. Originally conceived to help unify Protestants during the English Reformation, many of the Bible's phrases still saturate popular prose—as evidenced by sayings such as "an eye for an eye" and Abraham Lincoln's famous "a house divided against itself," and even in the intonations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the music of Johnny Cash. The King James Bible and the World It Made brings into conversation leading contemporary scholars who articulate how this celebrated translation repeatedly influenced the language of politics, statecraft, and English literature while offering Christians a unique resource for living the faith.
Including Mark Noll, Alister McGrath, Lamin Sanneh, David Bebbington, Robert Alter, Philip Jenkins, and Laura Knoppers, this collection highlights the most notable facets of the King James Bible and the history it created, and astutely reflects on its relevance to the modern world.
by David Lyle Jeffrey
1. The "Opening of Windows": The King James Bible and Late Tudor Translation Theories
by Alister E. McGrath (King's College London)
2. Translating Majesty: The King James Bible, John Milton, and the English Revolution
by Laura L. Knoppers (Penn State University)
3. The King James Bible in Britain from the Late Eighteenth Century
by David W. Bebbington (Baylor University)
4. The King James Version at 300 in America: “The Most Democratic Book in the World”
by Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame)
5. The King James Bible, Mission, and the Vernacular Impetus
by Lamin Sanneh (Yale University)
6. Regions Luther Never Knew: Ancient Books in a New World
by Philip Jenkins (Penn State University)
7. The Question of Eloquence in the King James Version
by Robert Alter (University of California, Berkeley)
8. The Word That Endureth Forever: A Century of Scholarship on the King James Version
by Beth Allison Barr (Baylor University Press)
Notes on Contributors
"Altogether, the essays in this volume approach the KJV from a variety of trajectories, addressing issues that should be helpful to readers interested in the continuing presence of the 1611 translation in contemporary culture. Like the Bible itself, the collection contains both unity and diversity. The tension is perhaps a strength of the volume; it is a testament to the KJV’s complex history. And after all, they are writing about a book that contains the messages of both Qoheleth and Jesus—and both are equally the word of God."
—Armond Boudreaux, East Georgia State College, Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XLIV, No. 1
"Carefully crafted and dignified. This volume leaves no doubt that the King James Version has served as the most authentic voice of scripture for more than three centuries—and raises important questions about the absence of any such standard in the church today."
—Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College
"... a well-done collection of essays."
—Mark S. Krause, Nebraska Christian College, Stone-Campbell Journal (Spring 2013)
"This outstanding collection of essays by accomplished and learned scholars provides a host of insights into the religious and cultural impact of the King James Bible over these four centuries. I highly recommend this book for those who wish to learn more about this powerful, beautiful, and influential translation of the Bible."
—David F. Watson, Associate Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean for Master's Programs, United Theological Seminary
“… this work is to be commended and studied with pleasure by all who value the impetus of the KJB.”
—Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton, Review of Biblical Literature (04/2013)
"... a fascinating work on the King James Bible.... [T]hese essays are a cut above the typical book touting the King James on its 400th Anniversary. Many of the essays offer profound historical insights and analysis on the King James Bible."
"Contemporary scholars such as David Bebbington, Alister McGrath, Philip Jenkins and Laura Knoppers share the results of their in-depth study."
—The Washington Post
"An international array of acknowledged experts here focus on a theme of obvious historical and contemporary significance. This is first-rate scholarship and commands much attention."
—Trevor A. Hart, Professor of Divinity, University of St Andrews, Scotland
David Lyle Jeffrey is Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities at Baylor University. He is the author or editor of more than 12 books including Houses of the Interpreter: Reading Scripture, Reading Culture.