The Bible, King James Version (KJV) - Introduction
Variously known as the Greatest Story Ever Told, The Book of Books and many other names, the Bible is reputed to be the biggest bestseller of all time. Translated into thousands of world languages and studied, worshiped and revered in the four corners of the earth, the Bible remains Christianity's canonical text and is considered the Word of God.
The King James Version (KJV) is a translation commissioned by the Church of England in 1604 and the work continued till 1611. However, it wasn't the first translation into English from the original Hebrew, and some portions in Aramaic. Two earlier English translations had been approved by the Anglican Church, but this third version was commissioned in response to some perceived mistakes and flaws in earlier translations which were found to be unsatisfactory by the Puritans.
King James VI ascended the English throne at the age of thirteen months after his mother Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate in his favor. With his reign, the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland came under the Crown. The Jacobean Age was famous for the flowering of literary and artistic movements. Shakespeare, Marlowe, John Donne and a host of poets, playwrights and writers contributed to the rich literary environment.
The KJV was ordered so that it would reflect the Episcopal structure of the Anglican Church and the ordained stature of English clergy. More than 47 translators worked on it. The Old Testament was directly translated from the original Hebrew and Aramaic, while the New Testament was from a Greek version. A Catechism was added to The Book of Common Prayer. The KJV soon gained popularity and supplanted all other versions over a very short period.
The version we have today has remained almost unchanged since the 19th century and is exclusively used everywhere in the Protestant world. It has had a huge impact on English literature over the four hundred odd years of its life and its literary and lyrical qualities have been praised by people of all religions.
Apart from being a sacred text, it has immense cultural and literary value. Thousands of phrases, idioms and usages from the KJV have found their way into everyday communication in English. It has added to the richness and depth of the language across the centuries and inspired millions of writers, artists, poets and musicians to create beautiful and enduring works.
Truly a magnificent and memorable read for people of any age or faith.
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