By David Norton

ISBN-10: 0521778077

ISBN-13: 9780521778077

A historical past of the English Bible as Literature (revised and condensed from the author's acclaimed heritage of the Bible as Literature CUP, 1993) explores years of spiritual and literary principles. At its center is the tale of the way the King James Bible went from being mocked as English writing to being "unsurpassed within the whole variety of literature." It stories the Bible translators, writers corresponding to Milton and Bunyan who contributed lots to our feel of the Bible, and a desirable diversity of critics and commentators.

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Extra info for A History of the English Bible as Literature (A History of the Bible as Literature)

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William Tyndale  ). The most revealing English use comes in the KJB’s rendering of Psalm  which calls its reader to ‘worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ (v. ), and then builds up a description of ‘the voice of the Lord’, including this: ‘the voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty’ (v. ). This could be read as a description of the Bible, since the Bible is the voice of the Lord. ‘Majesty’, it seems from the parallelism, connotes power: it is part of ‘the beauty of holiness’ (a phrase the KJB uses several times).

What we desire is that nothing may stand forth with greater certainty than the truth itself, whose expression is the more powerful the simpler it is. (p. ) This, because it takes biblical eloquence as secondbest, is a backhanded acclamation of simplicity as eloquence, especially when set against Luther, but it is significant nonetheless. Whether this or Luther’s attitude and example gave Tyndale a sense of literary possibilities in simplicity is impossible to tell, but in Erasmus it precedes his wish that there should be vernacular translations of the Scriptures so that ‘even the lowliest woman’ may read them and so that the uneducated may enjoy them: ‘would that .

In Enchiridion Militis Christiani, a work that Tyndale translated, Erasmus describes the language of the Bible as humble. 18 He also sees the Scripture as ‘somewhat hard and some deal rough and sharp’ (pp. –), and later writes that ‘the wisdom of God stuttereth and lispeth as it were a diligent mother, fashioneth her words according to our infancy and feebleness . . She stoopeth down and boweth herself to thy humility and lowness’ (p. ). Erasmus returned to this idea in his Paraclesis which prefaces his  edition of his Greek and Latin NT.

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A History of the English Bible as Literature (A History of the Bible as Literature) by David Norton


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