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

Gordon Campbell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
Price: £11.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Oct 2010
This is a history of the King James Version of the Bible (known in Britain as the Authorised Version) over the four hundred years from its remote beginnings to the present day.

Gordon Campbell, expert in Renaissance literatures, tells the fascinating and complex story of how this translation came to be commissioned, of who the translators were, and of how the translation was accomplished. The story does not end with the printing of that first edition, but introduces the subsequent generations who edited and interacted with the text. The present text of the King James Version differs in thousands of small details from the original edition. Campbell traces the textual history from 1611 to the establishment of the modern text by Oxford University Press in 1769.

Attitudes to the King James Version have shifted through time and territory, ranging from adulation to deprecation and attracting the attention of a wide variety of adherents. It is more widely read in America today than in any other country, and its particular history in there is given due attention.

Generously illustrated with reproductions taken from early editions, this volume helps to explain the enduring popularity of the King James Version throughout the world today.

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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 + King James Bible: 400th Anniversary Edition (Bible Kjv)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (28 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199557594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199557592
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 410,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


Campbell has managed to combine academic depth with readability, producing a thoroughly enjoyable book which will appeal to scholars and lay readers alike. (Theology)

Beautiful and inspiring book (Lancet)

This history of its origins, creation and impact offers an expert guide to the most influential book in the English language. (Independent)

This is not just a book for theologians but for students of language too. (The Tribune)

Beautifully crafted book. (New Statesman)

A fascinating read. (Church of England Newspaper)

About 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).

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King James Bible - History 4 April 2011
This is not a book for the faint-hearted.It is scholarly, well illustrated and packed with historical facts. The author traces the various attempts to produce a version of the complete Bible - Old and New Testaments, which as one earlier translator put it could be understood by every ploughboy. He did not expect "every ploughboy" to be able to read it himself, but to be able to understand it on hearing it read. Gordon Campbell makes it clear that the aim of the compilers of the King James Bible was similar. Thus although to modern readers and hearers the language of the King James Bible may seem archaic and in places obscure that would not have been the impression made on those reading and hearing it when it was first published and for many generations thereafter. In this context it is worth remembering that for many years, and indeed well into the early years of the last century men and women of little, if any, formal education seem to have had no difficulty in understanding its language. Gordon Campbell does make the interesting point that by the date of the "new" Bible's publication in 1611 "thou" and "thee" had fallen out of use.
Gordon Cambell's book would make a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in Church history and the evolution of the English language.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Utterly fascinating 15 Dec 2010
By Laverne
This is that rarest of things - a book that will appeal to scholars as well as interested ignoramuses such as myself. It is a compelling read, written so well that the story is never dry, as it might have been. This is clearly a work of love, by a man with a deep understanding of, and an infectious enthusiasm for, his subject. It seems to have been consciously pitched at US and UK readers, which is perfectly sensible, but Oxford's production, in my edition anyway, is another matter. The typesetting is not of the first water and the paper is rather starkly white. Furthermore, the book seems not to have been stitched, which I think is unwise in a hardback; the pages of my copy began dropping out as soon as I opened it. The reader deserves better than this and so does he author. So, five stars for the wonderful text but two stars for the production quality.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all lovers of the English language! 13 Sep 2011
By Steve
This is a stylish read for all who are interested in the development of the English language. Professor Campbell's account is written with a delightful balance of authority and dry (Scottish) wit, which is sustained from beginning to end. He focuses - and lightly speculates - on the motivations of the original translators, and on the political and religious trends which have provoked the revisions that have followed in the intervening four hundred years. But the two highlights for me are his obvious enthusiasm for the literary merit of the King James Version, and his admiration for the scholarship of the translators.

Scholars have clearly made great advances in the last four hundred years, and the Bible today is no doubt truer to the original manuscripts than ever before; but Professor Campbell makes a compelling case for the 1611 translation as the most complete work of theology and literature, created by a group of eminent scholars whose like we will not see again.

A warm and accessible book, full of insight. Heartily recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon Campbell's take on the KJB 24 Dec 2011
By Kate
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An entertaining but scholarly read on a weighty topic. It was refreshing not to find a closely-printed tome with hundreds of pages which one never finds time to read. Overall, the best souvenir of the anniversary for the common man/woman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Back Story to the King James Bible 23 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The four-hundredth anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is currently upon us. If you still read the Bible in the KJV and you are interested in how the translation and the editorial decisions were made, then this book provides a fascinating "backstory" to the production of the original 1611 text. The author, Gordon Campbell, is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Leicester University, and the man who wrote the Anniversary Essay at the back of the new Oxford 1611 Quatercentenary facsimile edition of the KJV.

The author takes us through previous translations, such as the Tyndale and Coverdale versions, before giving us the history of how the KLV was originally commissioned by the King and how the team of scholars organised their work. He than follows the fortunes of the KJV over the centuries up to the present, giving brief details of competing translations and other notable editions.

The territory that the author covers would normally be of interest to literary scholars and textual bibliographers, but the KJV is so widely known and the material so fascinating that this book could be read with profit and enjoyment by any number of people. The author makes a real effort to be engaging and to avoid bibliographic and textual minutiae, with the result that he has produced a very readable and easy-to-follow account. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous bit of History 29 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I own many Bibles as there are plenty with new translations and revisionist have altered and played with but never owned this one. The Artwork and reproduction of this world famous genius scribe and artwork, it is far better then I expected and I envy people who have owned it in the past as it makes me feel how I have missed something great. Nevertheless I own a copy now and it is a fine bit of work
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Story of the King James Bible
The quality of manufacture of this book is assured. It has thick paper inside with a large print, and the cloth-bound spine and black boards embossed with gold are a stark contrast... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr H
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This is an informed and well written book that is easy to read. He covers ground not dealt with in previous accounts of the KJV bible. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Geoff
3.0 out of 5 stars KJV Surprises
AV Addicts will welcome this but may be in for a few surprises. The AV in common use, for example, is not the original which suffered badly from printers and translators' errors,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by A. Gilmore
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
Enough depth for those who really want to know details, but engaging enough to keep the attention of most readers.
Published on 20 May 2011 by M. Earwicker
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like it
I thought it was a small bible. I did not actually see it was the story of King James Bible from 1611 to 2011. I wish I could return it and purchase another full King James Bible.
Published on 23 April 2011 by Christ 4ever
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Marvellous story which opens up the impact the KJV has had in so many contexts. While not a fan of the KJV this has been a most enjoyable read.
Published on 8 Feb 2011 by A_Chap
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality in the US
I agree with the first reviewer about the quality of the research and writing. In fact, I have assigned the text for one of my university classes, despite its trade-book status... Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2011 by Ithuriel
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