A History of the English Bible as Literature (A History of by David Norton

By David Norton

A background of the English Bible as Literature (revised and condensed from the author's acclaimed background of the Bible as Literature CUP, 1993) explores years of non secular and literary rules. At its center is the tale of the way the King James Bible went from being mocked as English writing to being "unsurpassed within the whole variety of literature." It reviews the Bible translators, writers comparable to Milton and Bunyan who contributed rather a lot to our experience of the Bible, and a desirable diversity of critics and commentators.

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Additional info for A History of the English Bible as Literature (A History of the Bible as Literature)

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William L’Isle contrasts the Saxon versions of the Scriptures with the Rheims-Douai Bible (a text stuffed ‘with such fustian, such inkhorn terms’). The Saxon hath words for Trinity, Unity, Deity and persons thereof; for Co-equal, Coeternal, Invisible, Incomprehensible . . for Catholic and all such foreign words as we are now fain to use, because we have forgot better of our own. I speak not 28 The Civil Conversation of M. Stephen Guazzo (London, ), unfoliated. 29            The task of completing and revising Tyndale’s work fell to Myles Coverdale (–), a less scholarly but no less devout man.

More did not concede that ‘elder’ was any improvement in Tyndale’s English. He jeers that here Tyndale has ‘done a great act, now that he hath at last found out “elder”. He hath of likelihood ridden many mile to find out that. For that word “elder” is ye wot well so strange and so little known that it is more than marvel how that ever he could find it out’ (Confutation, p. ). William Tyndale  grammar and his style. Although he recognises the dangers of translation and the difficulties of keeping ‘the same sentence whole’ (VI: ), he believes Tyndale too often follows the word order of his originals to the detriment of both sense and English style (VIII: ).

That he had a mischievous mind in the change’ (Works, VI: ). In particular he comments of ‘senior’ that in English it ‘signifieth nothing at all, but is a French word used in English more than half in mockage’, that it misrepresents the Latin and in fact in English signifies an alderman. His primary point is that Tyndale will use any word rather than call a priest a priest. Tyndale accepted the linguistic point only: ‘of a truth senior is no very good English, though senior and junior be used in the universities; but there came no better in my mind at that time.

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