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Lavishly illustrated with reproductions from early editions of the KJB, Bible: The Story of the King James Version offers a vivid and authoritative history of this renowned translation, ranging from the Bible's inception to the present day. Gordon Campbell, a leading authority on Renaissance literatures, tells the engaging and complex story of how this translation came to be commissioned, who the translators were, and how the translation was accomplished. Campbell does not end with the printing of that first edition, but also traces the textual history from 1611 to the establishment of the modern text by Oxford University Press in 1769, shedding light on the subsequent generations who edited and interacted with the text and bringing to life the controversies surrounding later revisions. In addition, the author examines the reception of the King James Version, showing how its popularity has shifted through time and territory, ranging from adulation to deprecation and attracting the attention of a wide variety of adherents. Since the KJB is more widely read in America today than in any other country, Campbell pays particular attention to the history of the KJB in the United States. Finally, the volume includes appendices that contain short biographies of the translators and a guide to the 74-page preliminaries of the 1611 edition.
A fitting tribute to the enduring popularity of the King James Version, Bible offers an illuminating history of this most esteemed of biblical translations.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-09-13
- Reviewer: Staff
With the 400th anniversary of the King James Version (KJV) on the horizon, expect to see a cloud of dust rising from the march of all things commemorative. As Campbell, professor of Renaissance studies at Leicester University and coauthor of John Milton: Life, Work, and Thought, observes, the KJV "is the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world." Campbell's book is an erudite companion to a new release of the KJV that hews as closely to its 1611 progenitor as possible. Packed with information as minute as the genealogy of the king's printer and history of his printing house, it's tough to read on its own, despite the author's occasional wry asides. Yet as a resource detailing all aspects of the development and production of the KJV, this is a fine book. Readers will appreciate the discussion of original illustrations (some are reproduced here) and the recital of hilarious typos that plagued early editions. The subject of the KJV's influence on Christianity in American history, addressed toward the book's end, is unfortunately mired in excessive detail. (Oct.)