A History of the English Bible as Literature

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Revised and condensed from David Norton's History of the Bible as Literature, this book tells the story of English literary attitudes to the Bible. At first jeered at and mocked as English writing, then denigrated as having 'all the disadvantages of an old prose translation', the King James Bible somehow became 'unsurpassed in the entire range of literature'. How so startling a change happened and how it affected the making of modern translations such as the Revised Version and the New English Bible is at the heart of this exploration of a vast range of religious, literary and cultural ideas. Translators, writers such as Donne, Milton, Bunyan and the Romantics, reactionary Bishops and radical students all help to show the changes in religious ideas and in standards of language and literature that created our sense of the most important book in English.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a volume this detailed, a nod in the direction of the enormous vogue for such interpretation of the Bible since about 1960 would be appropriate. Accessible and recommended for undergraduate and graduate collections that do not own the two-volume edition." Choice

"This edition of the two-volume History of the Bible as Literature (1993) cuts down the material to more manageable proportions by confining the focus to the English Bible, reducing the number of examples, and omitting the appendices." Theology Digest

"Norton's magisterial study...is a treasure trove for anyone who is interested in the cultural imapct of the Bible in the English-speaking world." Religious Studies Review

"This is a very good book indeed...Norton's volume is filled on every page with the true scholar's eye for detail and understanding of the whole field...Norton's fine book does a good deal to begin to restore the Bible to its proper place in English language cultural history." Theology Today

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of plates
List of abbreviations
1 Creators of English 1
2 From the Great Bible to the Rheims-Douai Bible: arguments about language 35
3 The King James Bible 56
4 Literary implications of Bible presentation 76
5 The struggle for acceptance 89
6 The Psalter in verse and poetry 115
7 'The eloquentest books in the world' 140
8 Writers and the Bible I: Milton and Bunyan 174
9 The early eighteenth century and the King James Bible 188
10 Mid-century 218
11 The critical rise of the King James Bible 242
12 Writers and the Bible 2: the Romantics 272
13 Literary discussion to mid-Victorian times 299
14 The Revised Version 327
15 'The Bible as literature' 358
16 The later reputation of the King James Bible 387
17 The New English Bible 430
Bibliography 456
General Index 463
Biblical Index 471
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