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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611 - 2011 Hardcover – 28 Oct 2010

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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: 21.8 x 2.8 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

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).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Laverne on 15 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Steve on 13 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By His Honour J. Qc on 4 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Elmore on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate on 24 Dec. 2011
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 to other books. Particularly cheap bibles. The author is an educated man with a clear knowledge of English Literature and languages.

The contents of this book seem to be very well researched (there is an authoritative bibliography for your own research) from what appears to be a plethora of sources hitherto-often hidden. The text is well written, and fluent, unlike many history books- and leads you slowly but surely into this huge subject. It is huge. I would like a diagram of the history somewhere. Just to keep a track.

The book would be of infinite size, if every correction and emendment was looked at with its historical context; but that said, there are some shocking and eye-openng revelations for the bible scholar. 1 John 5:7 KJV for example. Where the trinity is defined with poesy 'symbolically'. Your NRSV bible has been re-written from new Greek documents. Jesus, however actually puts these symbols into definition by contextual examples in St Matthew "heaven and earth shall pass away but the word shall never pass away". Look yourself. The interesting thing, is that some have allowed the word "the word", then taken it out? Sometimes newer translations can perhaps miss the point...
As I say, this cannot be an exhaustive study, but I feel that this book leads us in the right directions. And even explains, how the KJV compilers agonized over exactly such situations as these above- but themselves found "inspiration" and not the 'breathly inculcations' of poor literal Greek. Sorry, couldn't resist.
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