In a couple of weeks I’m going off to Los Angeles to give a lecture at Loyola Marymount University as a keynote address for their putting on of the (traveling) exhibition on the King James Bible, started in commemoration of its 400th year (in 2011). The exhibition is called Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible, and my lecture is entitled: “What Kind of a Text Is the King James Bible? Manuscripts, Translation, and the Legacy of the KJV.” In addition to celebrating the greatness of the translation – it’s obviously one of the greatest classics of the English language – I will be talking about various aspects of the KJV that make it less usable as a study or research Bible.
I haven’t written the talk yet, but I’m thinking, at this point, about talking about three topics:
- The fact that in the New Testament the KJV was based on Greek manuscripts (the only ones available at the time, of course – so it was no one’s fault) that are now recognized as being inferior in nature, leading the translators to include verses and even passages that we now believe were not originally in the New Testament;
- The problem of theological bias that occasionally crept into the translation;
- And the problem of the change of language over the past 400 years, so that English today simply isn’t the same as English then.
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