The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible
February 9, 2012 8:07 AM   Subscribe

“The words of the 1611 King James Bible ring out today in books, poems, popular songs, speeches, and sermons. But who translated it, and what made this particular translation so influential? Inspired by the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness tells the story of one of the most widely read books in the English language, through online content, exhibitions, and more.” Previously on Metafilter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
posted by found missing (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The physical exhibition at the Bodleian Library is no longer running, but it was very impressive when it was. The website is pretty good too, but it's not quite as spectacular as being able to peer (through glass) at the books themselves. The mid-way translated efforts before the King James Bible are particularly impressive.
posted by avapoet at 8:15 AM on February 9, 2012

My favorite commentary on the King James Bible is the song "Not King James Version" by Steel Pulse. (YT, don't let the harpsichord at the beginning fool you, this is ballsy reggae.)
posted by spitbull at 8:20 AM on February 9, 2012

I wanted my older kids to at least be familiar with bible stories, so I got one out from the library (incredibly, I didn't have a single bible in the house anymore). But it was a children's bible and it was terrible. The stories were all whitewashed, of course (Egypt only got like 2 plagues), but the worst part was the conversational tone. The KJV is really great for dramatic reading and memorability.
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on February 9, 2012

spitbull they interviewed a Jamaican guy in that BBC radio show that was linked last January here. (#5 in found missing's previously list up above) and he had some insight on how Jamaican patois had a bunch of stuff that was closer to 17th century King James English than what the BBC style guide uses today if I recall right. Also they played a reggae song with the "King James for the white man" thing but I don't remember if it was Steel Pulse.
posted by bukvich at 8:37 AM on February 9, 2012

I do not trust any version of the Bible that is not being read aloud by Brian Blessed.
posted by delfin at 8:58 AM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

I do not trust any version of the Bible that is not being read aloud by Brian Blessed.

I believe you mean ANY VERSION OF THE BIBLE THAT IS NOT BEING READ ALOUD BY BRIAN BLESSED *insert sounds of eardrums popping*
posted by thomas j wise at 10:48 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The NIV (New International Version) and the NAS (New American Standard) are quite sturdy, scholarly translations that stand up to the ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Id venture to say that if more non-believers and the uninitiated would read from these translations, a lot more of Scripture would make a lot more sense to a lot more people.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:58 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're looking for something with prose that's a bit easier to read but poetic bits that keep their rhythm, the New King James is also nice.
posted by verb at 8:25 AM on February 10, 2012

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