Blog powered by Typepad

« 'Ullo, Admiral, wanna a noo motor? | Main | VOTE LEAVE: #7 »

Friday, 29 January 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"the New English Bible is motivated by the opposite, an anxiety not to bore or intimidate"

Its greatest motivation was to be hip. It was a dreary concept executed with no regard for art or the beauty of language.

I started to read this book a couple of years ago, and (being too busy and a bit distracted) I gave up after a couple of pages. I now realise how stupid I was, and I will get another copy.

Have you read his "Sea Room"? Brilliant and haunting. Adam N. is as talented as his Father and Grandfather when it comes to fine ideas well expressed.

Duffers I agree it is a beautiful book, and the dreary 20th c translations of the bible are an excellent reason not to go to church and I suspect are an important reason why the churches are so empty.

Nicholson puts it far better than I can but the flat, dull, language written doubtless by the same people who write notices in doctors' waiting rooms - is one of the saddest things I know.

Ok, you have done it. Now I have to go out and buy the KJV, and I actually found one that says it is as published in 1611. An anniversary edition.
When I first started reading the Bible on my own (being brought up Catholic, that was frowned upon) I chose the New American Standard so that I could understand easily. Now that I have worn that one out, I think I can enjoy G-d's word in proper English.

Go to it, dear Miss Red! I have a copy which is properly bound and with a metal clasp to hold it closed and little flaps to protect the edges of the pages. Inside the fly leaf, in very neat Victorian hand-writing, it is dedicated to "Mary Edwards, Sept 24th 1880" Underneath it is signed by twenty ladies using just their Christian names. Inside the first page is a pressed flower leaf. Who they were I do not know. However, loose inside is a small printed card, which I assume is a funeral card, to "Mary Edwards, Born December 27th 1859; called to rest December 26th, 1880". So the poor girl died a day short of her 21st birthday.

Anyway, to remind me of the 'good works' of those translators some 400 years ago, I am going to leave it out on my desk and try and read the odd verse or two from time to time.

In the meantime if any of you history swots can recommend a really good biography of the first Lord Burghley and his son, Cecil, the first of the great Cecil family, I would like to know about it. They were the first great "Sir Humphreys!


You heard of the Arkansas minister who said, "The Kings English was good enough for the Holy Ghost, why waste my time with Greek and Hebrew/"


almost certainly too prosaic for Jacobean taste.

From the very Jacobean Douay Rheim

Now Elizabeth' s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son.

Seems similar to me.


While translators today have a primary consideration that, while being somewhat faithful to the original, it must be different enough from every other translation to avoid a copyright problem.

Back then a primary consideration was not to shock the reader (listner) with a radically different translation. If the previous translation was a reasonable presentation of the original language it was unchanged or had very minor changes to allow for change of meaning or a smother reading. Virtually all the translations from that period trace back to extremely literal 13th-14th century (possibly earlier) translations from the Latin Vulgate in some cases corrected against the Greek/Hebrew.

The translators of the King James were more radical in smoothing the language, but still more cautious than modern translators. As is your point, this made a more readable and elegant presentation in 16th century English.

Dammit, Sir, we can't have this Catholic 'agit-prop' besmirching our frightfully British Bible!

The comments to this entry are closed.