Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011

Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011

by Gordon Campbell
     
 

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Produced during the lifetime of Shakespeare and Donne, the King James Version of the Bible has long been viewed as the most elegantly written and poetic of the many English translations. Now reaching its four hundredth anniversary, it remains one of the most frequently used Bibles in the English-speaking world, especially in America.

Lavishly illustrated with

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Overview

Produced during the lifetime of Shakespeare and Donne, the King James Version of the Bible has long been viewed as the most elegantly written and poetic of the many English translations. Now reaching its four hundredth anniversary, it remains one of the most frequently used Bibles in the English-speaking world, especially in America.

Lavishly illustrated with reproductions from early editions of the KJB, Bible: The Story of the King James Version offers a vivid and authoritative history of this renowned translation, ranging from the Bible's inception to the present day. Gordon Campbell, a leading authority on Renaissance literatures, tells the engaging and complex story of how this translation came to be commissioned, who the translators were, and how the translation was accomplished. Campbell does not end with the printing of that first edition, but also traces the textual history from 1611 to the establishment of the modern text by Oxford University Press in 1769, shedding light on the subsequent generations who edited and interacted with the text and bringing to life the controversies surrounding later revisions. In addition, the author examines the reception of the King James Version, showing how its popularity has shifted through time and territory, ranging from adulation to deprecation and attracting the attention of a wide variety of adherents. Since the KJB is more widely read in America today than in any other country, Campbell pays particular attention to the history of the KJB in the United States. Finally, the volume includes appendices that contain short biographies of the translators and a guide to the 74-page preliminaries of the 1611 edition.

A fitting tribute to the enduring popularity of the King James Version, Bible offers an illuminating history of this most esteemed of biblical translations.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
Gordon Campbell…gives the full sweep of the KJV's truly majestic life, and for that we must be grateful.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
With the 400th anniversary of the King James Version (KJV) on the horizon, expect to see a cloud of dust rising from the march of all things commemorative. As Campbell, professor of Renaissance studies at Leicester University and coauthor of John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought, observes, the KJV "is the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world." Campbell's book is an erudite companion to a new release of the KJV that hews as closely to its 1611 progenitor as possible. Packed with information as minute as the genealogy of the king's printer and history of his printing house, it's tough to read on its own, despite the author's occasional wry asides. Yet as a resource detailing all aspects of the development and production of the KJV, this is a fine book. Readers will appreciate the discussion of original illustrations (some are reproduced here) and the recital of hilarious typos that plagued early editions. The subject of the KJV's influence on Christianity in American history, addressed toward the book's end, is unfortunately mired in excessive detail. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Gordon Campbell's BIBLE received a review in the August 2011 issue of CHOICE, where the reviewer said, "All told, Campbell's flair for the interesting anecdote and careful painting of context makes this an informative, compelling biography for both scholars and general readers of the premiere English Bible."

". . . an informative, compelling, biography for both scholars and general readers of the premierer English Bible. . . Highly Recommended."—Choice

"...Campbell's flair for the interesting anecdote amd careful painting of context makes this an informative, compelling biography for both scholars and general readers of the premiere English Bible"—S. Young, McHenry Country College

"Campbell does a great job thoughout the book showing how the KJV is the most important book in the English. I highly recomment Bible, THe Story of the King James Version by Gordon Campbell from Oxford University Press."— Randy A. Brown

"...KJV is the translation that is a building block of our collective cultural heritage."—Jon Sweeney

"Campell has set out to write a historically accurate and scholarly informaed account of the origins development, and reception of this most famous of English Bibles, and has succeeded admirably in that task."—Alister E. McGrath. Kings College London

"...intensely political story detailed so well by Norton and Campbell...."—-Mark Noll, Books Culture

"Valuable and enlightening."—Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology

Library Journal
Whether held as a paradigm of style or as the completion of divine revelation, the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible remains one of the most celebrated works in the English-speaking world. As its 400th anniversary approaches, Campbell (Renaissance studies, Leicester Univ.) presents an accessible yet academic history of the KJV, focusing on the story of the translation, its textual apparatus, and its publication. There are important discussions here of how biblical translation can support differing theological positions, but Campbell pays more attention to book history than religious controversy. He begins by briefly surveying the history of the Bible in English before the KJV, reviews the process of translating and the background of the KJV translators, then describes how the KJV became almost the sole fountainhead of Bible translations in English. His focus is on the KJV in England and, especially, on its continued import in the United States. VERDICT This important history of the KJV's evolution and its impact is an essential read for students of the Bible's history, the history of books, and English literature. Appendixes contain short biographies of the KJV translators and a guide to the 74-page preliminaries of the original 1611 edition. [In October Oxford University Press is also publishing a 400th anniversary limited edition of the King James Bible, edited by Campbell.—Ed.]—Steve Chabot, Univ. of Toronto

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199693016
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/15/2011
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Campbell is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Leicester University. An authority on Renaissance literature, he is the co-author of John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought (with Thomas N. Corns).

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