The Bible in English: Its History and Influence

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The greatest of the earlier translators of the Bible into English, William Tyndale, was martyred in 1536 for his work. Immediately after him, however, translations proliferated: the whole Bible, or significant parts, has now been translated into English from its original Greek and Hebrew more than three thousand times. This major new book tells the extraordinary story of the Bible in England from approximately the fourth century, and its later translation into English in Britain and America to the present day. Eminent scholar David Daniell charts the profound impact successive versions of the Bible have had on the people and communities that read them. He explains the work of major translators, the history of influential translations following Tyndale, including Coverdale's, the Geneva Bibles and the King James Bible, and how greatly Americans have contributed in the late twentieth century, especially after the American Revised Standard Verson. Encompassing centuries of change-from a time when no one except priests had knowledge of the Bible beyond a few traditional stories mixed with saints' lives, through later years when ordinary people were steeped in Biblical doctrine and language, to the present, when popular knowledge of the Bible, we are told, has disappeared-this eloquent book reveals how the endeavor of translating the Bible into English has changed religious practice, the arts, society, and the English language itself.

Author Biography: David Daniell is professor emeritus of English at University College London.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Writing from a British Protestant perspective-but with an acerbic wit that skewers ecumenically-Daniell (English, emeritus, University Coll., London) critiques the literary value, or lack thereof, of the major Bible translations and shows the influence of the English Bible on British and American culture. Reproductions of Bible pages help to buttress many of Daniell's observations about the audiences for the various Bibles or the intentions of the publishers. An authority on William Tyndale, whose translation formed the basis of much of the King James version (though he was burned at the stake for his labors), the author authoritatively places the history of the English versions of the Bible in context. Although highly opinionated, Daniell has the learning-and the obvious love of the Bible-to back up his arguments. Somewhat more accessible are Paul Gutjahr's An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880 and Benson Bobrick's Wide as the Waters for the King James and its predecessors, though neither is as comprehensive as Daniell's work. Recommended for larger libraries and an essential purchase for church and seminary libraries.-Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099300
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 962
  • Sales rank: 528,998
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Before Printing 17
2 The Bible in Britain from the Earliest Times to A.D. 850 19
3 The Anglo-Saxon Bible, 850-1066 44
4 Romance and Piety, 1066-1350 56
5 The Wyclif ('Lollard') Bibles 66
6 Before and After Wyclif: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries 96
Pt. 2 After Printing 111
7 The Greek New Testament of Erasmus, 1516 and After 113
8 The Reformation in England 120
9 William Tyndale ?1494-1536 133
10 After Tyndale 160
11 Coverdale's Bible, 1535 173
12 'Matthew's' Bible, 1537 190
13 The Great Bible, 1539 198
14 Towards the Reign of Edward VI, 1547-1553 221
15 An English Plain Style, and Bible Reading 248
16 The Geneva New Testament, 1557 275
17 The Geneva Bible, 1560 291
18 Reformation Psalms 320
19 The Bishops' Bible, 1568 338
20 Laurence Tomson and the Revision of the Geneva New Testament, 1576 348
21 The Rheims New Testament, 1582 358
22 'Geneva-Tomson-Junius', 1599 369
23 Explorers of the Revelation: Spenser and Shakespeare 376
24 The English Bible in America: From the Beginnings to 1640 389
25 The King James Version, 1611 427
26 Printing the King James Bible 451
27 The Bible in England in the Seventeenth Century 461
28 The Consolidation of KJV, 1660-1710 487
29 The Bible in England and Ireland, 1710-1760 499
30 More Psalms, and Hymns 518
31 The Bible in America to 1776 539
32 The English Bible against Fashionable Deism: Handel and Pope as Examples 555
33 The English Bible in America, 1777 to the Early Nineteenth Century 580
34 Towards 1769, and After 604
35 Mathew Carey and the American Bible Flood 624
36 The Nineteenth-Century Bible in Britain, and Two Artists 659
37 The English Revised Version, 1870-85 683
38 The English Bible in America, 1841-1899 701
39 Bible Translation into English in the Twentieth Century 734
40 Conclusion 769
Appendix 775
Abbreviations 794
Notes 795
Chronological List of Bibles in English 843
Select Bibliography 852
Index 867
Photograph Credits 900
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Comprehensive--highly recommended!

    If you are interested in English translations of the Bible, this is an excellent source. I have read several books on this topic, and this is perhaps the most comprehensive. Very well written, and highly recommended!

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    No book yet.Order ID: 222668754003

    I have not received THIS book: The Bible in English David Daniell(Hardcover)
    Publisher: Yale University Press
    Pub. Date: 09/01/2003
    ISBN-13: 9780300099300
    Order ID: 222668754003
    Shipped on:
    June 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2004

    A Monumental Volume!

    Amid all the controversy today over the Bible, particularly in the English language (with a plethora of translations abounding), this book is a milestone. Having read Benson Bobrick's excellent 'Wide As The Waters' which covers the same subject (although far less thoroughly than Daniell does here), I was less than eager to take up this very intimidating history and analysis of the English Bible. Curiosity got the best of me, however, so I undertook the challenge. It was beyond rewarding! Daniell's style flows so well (once you get used to his sentence structure), and holds the readers interest to such a degree, that this massive read (on what could be a dull, dry subject) turns out to be a real 'page-turner.' Daniell is very passionate about his subject, but this in no way hinders his scholarship. His observations and arguments are well-founded and sustained by critical-minded research and documentation. He presents a fair, objective (but in no way soft!)appraisal of the raging controversies over textual approaches to biblical manuscripts and translation choices both in history and present day. He boldly addresses the tendency toward 'political correctness' in modern translations, yet unlike many who vilify those modern Bibles and exalt the King James Version, he does not acquit the King James Version of its own 'political' associations either. It is arguable that Daniell tends to overemphasize Tyndale, in this book as well as his biography of Tyndale (also published by Yale). It is equally arguable, though, that he may very well be accurate in his appraisal of Tyndale's role, considering the hard evidence that shows the proportion of material in later translations that is in fact Tyndale, especially the Geneva and King James Bibles. One gets the impression from Daniell that perhaps the strength of Tyndale's accuracy was his honest desire to simply take the words in Greek and Hebrew and render them in English without any preconceived notions of established tradition, church hierarchy or political interests, always factors in translations such as King James and some modern versions. Daniell also does not hesitate to admit that no translation is perfect, and that the Greek and Hebrew are still the original authoritative texts which all translations must be judged by. He makes this assertion as one who believes the Bible, not as one who dismisses it all as nonsense, as many scholars of his caliber do these days. Daniell, contrasting the view of Thomas Jefferson, makes clear that the Bible should be taken 'superstitious nonsense and all' rather than picking out the parts we like and leaving off (or softening) the parts we find 'offensive.' I recommend this book for Christians and non-Christians alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

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