The translators of the King James Version of the Holy Bible intentionally preserved, in Early Modern English, archaic pronouns and verb endings that had already begun to fall out of spoken use. This enabled the English translators to convey the distinction between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural verb forms of the original Hebrew and Greek sources. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This one might be a touch weird, but bear with me. Here are the facts:
- Every school’s getting a copy of the King James Bible if Michael Gove’s plan goes ahead.
- Some people were cross that the cost of this (£370,000) was going to be paid for by taxpayers.
- So some Tory donors are paying for it.
And here are my reactions:
- The Bible’s terrific, and everyone should have access to it.
- The KJV isn’t my favourite translation, but it’s alright.
- £370,000 really isn’t very much in the grand scheme of things (around 6p per taxpayer).
- A lot of schools already have copies of the Bible so won’t need another one.
- This particular Bible has a gold ‘presented by’ message right on the spine, which reminds me of King Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem (Jesus didn’t really like that).
Others have reacted to it, but let me point you towards a couple. David Mitchell has his own unique take on this which made me chuckle. Richard Dawkinshas a different take on it (as you’d expect), which I find a bit silly really. I’ll explain why.
For a start, it’s in the Science section of the newspaper. I don’t get that at all.
Secondly, Dawkins’ issue seems not to be with ‘Giving a Bible’ vs. ‘Not giving a Bible’, but instead ‘The KJV’ vs. ‘Everything else in the world’.
Thirdly, Dawkins’ funny little story about self-professing Christians not being able to identify the first book of the Bible is misleading; (1) I wasn’t asked so they clearly missed some in their poll, (2) a lot of people who say they’re Christians may well not be, and (3) when Dawkins was asked to give the title of Charles Darwin’s evolution book on live radio he couldn’t get past the first couple of words. Whoopsie.
Fourthly, Dawkins’ assumption that Christians think the Bible’s a moral guidebook is simply wrong – it’s the story of God’s redemptive work for humanity. It’s all about grace!
Fifthly, the following [annotated] quote is actually quite good:
In the words of Paul, the inventor of Christianity (or whoever really wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews [very unlikely to have been Paul so I’m not sure where he’s got that from]), “without shedding of blood, there is no remission”. And the scapegoat couldn’t be just anybody. The sin was so great that only his son (or God himself, depending on your Trinitarian theology [the Christian theology would say Jesus is both]) would do. It was necessary for God to come “down” personally to Earth and have himself tortured and executed, after being “betrayed” (though why it was a betrayal since getting himself executed was the main purpose of the visit, is never explained, nor is the millennia-long vendetta against Jews as “Christ-killers” [the Bible’s pretty clear that things can be against God’s moral will yet still aligned to God’s sovereign will; Dawkins needs to do his homework]).
Whatever else the Bible might be – and it really is a great work of literature – it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite. The examples I have quoted are the tip of a very large and very nasty iceberg. Not a bad way to find out what’s in a book is to read it, so I say go to it. But does anybody, even Gove, seriously think they will?
Good challenge, Richy Rich, let’s read the Bible!