We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The English Bible

What does one do to turn the word of God into Nabbish? Blunt it whenever possible; grind down the word of God into a dull-edged sword. Here, for example, is a famous verse from Psalm 23, translated into early modern English in the King James Bible: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. That is exactly what it says in Hebrew. The King James translators, naive as they were, believed their task was to submit wholly to the word of God, its meaning, its connotation, its imagery, its rhetorical force. They found the unusual compound tzal-maweth and shuddered from the beauty of it: the shadow of death. Imagine walking through that valley. The trees loom; a strange silence comes over us; we do not know what awaits. It is, unquestionably, one of the most memorable images in all of Scripture. Most English Bibles retain it.

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