A History of the English Bible as Literature (2000) (A by David Norton

By David Norton

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

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The limitations of the vocabulary available to Tyndale and Coverdale are strikingly illustrated. Moreover, any time they ventured towards such words they were in danger not only of identifying their work with the Church they opposed, but also of maintaining a religion based on the preservation of divine mystery, hidden from the people and interpreted by the Church. The manner of English translation was a fundamental issue of the Reformation. Though this attempt to make the English Bible latinate, ecclesiastical and majestic failed, anxiety about the proper use of the Bible persisted.

Creators of English English. His care above all was for accuracy in representing the originals, then for clarity (which might sometimes have to be achieved through glossing since he tried to avoid expanding or contracting the original), lastly for fidelity to his sense of the proprieties of English grammar and vocabulary. There is only one explicit suggestion that he considered matters of style beyond the proprieties, his use of ‘well-favouredly’: any further sense of his bringing aesthetic considerations to his work must be deduced from literary criticism of his translation carried out with due awareness of the context within which he worked.

Creators of English phrase, ‘proper English’. In his ‘Epistle to the Reader’ at the end of his  NT, he reviews ways in which the work might be improved: In time to come . . we will give it his full shape: and put out if ought be added superfluously: and add to if ought be overseen through negligence: and will enforce to bring to compendiousness, that which is now translated at the length, and to give light where it is required, and to seek in certain places more proper English, and with a table to expound the words which are not commonly used, and show how the Scripture useth many words, which are otherwise understood of the common people: and to help with a declaration where one tongue taketh not another.

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