[personal profile] thecosmicdance
A fundamentalist penned list of reasons why the King James Version of the Bible is the best choice has been making the rounds of religious blogs- here are two discussions.

Stuff Fundies Like

Exploring Your Matrix

The King James is not worthless- it's The Bible in English after all. Not the very first Bible in English but the concept, by itself, was a pretty revolutionary act at the time. The Anglican church was still a relatively new thing, the idea that, for the first time in a very long time, an entire European nation was refusing to recognize the Vatican as a legitimate authority and had the audacity to retranslate the Bible to prove it. The Catholic church had previously had people arrested and put to death for attempting to translate The Bible into anything other than Latin. That was at a time when a significant portion of Europe was still functionally illiterate. When it came to reading books in a sort of dead language only spoken by the well educated, they just didn't stand a chance, when they probably would've had a painful time making it through their equivalent of The Cat in the Hat. This concentrated religious power in the hands of priests and rich people(mostly male rich people but that's another subject).

So the King James Version struck a gigantic blow for linguistic and literary equality. Now, you can get The Bible in every major world language. And comic book form, and Lego and LOL Cat.

The KJV is important for another reason. It's a massive collection of English language poetry and prose, which makes it extraordinarily significant in artistic and cultural terms. It's beautiful work, no one can deny the effect it has when it's read out loud in a booming voice from a pulpit or recorded as narration to a movie/audio book by the voice of James Earl Jones, or Johnny Cash. “And the darkness moved upon the face of the water” sounds waaay cooler than “And there wasn't any sun in the sky”. No one's ever going to write poetry or paint paintings inspired by the epically beautiful wording of The Message even if it is more "relate able".

But since it (The KJV) was designed as a work of English verse, it is not, in fact, a literal translation. For one thing, like most bible translations, it had an agenda. There are certainly worse translations out there, but the world of Biblical translation has also moved on since 1611, it's even moved on since the NIV (which really isn't a good translation, it's now considered outmoded).

Number #5 on the list doesn't even make sense. Apparently, this person just assumes that if the originals existed, we would also be living in a world where printing presses and photo copiers didn't exist.

Studying koine Greek is pretty much a standard requirement at any halfway decent Christian seminary and most good high schools (as well as all Catholic ones, good or not) still offer Latin. Modern Hebrew speakers can figure out Biblical Hebrew. You can also sign up for a course in any of these languages at a local college or university because we have a decidedly different approach to education in the 21st century. It's not reserved for boys whose parents can afford to pay the monks. But if you really wanna talk about the importance of The Bible being translated into a language that the average uneducated person can understand, those exist and they're not the KJV. Because “basic English” has also moved on.

Low church Protestant fundamentalists tend to be the most absolutely rabid KJV Onlyists. Interesting, because they don't as a whole, have a good opinion of Anglicans, or the government interfering in their day to day religious operations and they definitely don't like ga-never mind. As I previously mentioned they emphatically reject not only the NIV but many editions of the King James that aren't the 1611 or close enough to it. Why would you do that, forcing people to only read a book written in an irrelevant dialect, when you want so badly for the whole world to be Christian?

It's so bizarre.



May 2013

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