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 principles. 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 diversity of literature." It experiences the Bible translators, writers comparable to Milton and Bunyan who contributed loads to our feel of the Bible, and a desirable diversity of critics and commentators.
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Extra info for A History of the English Bible as Literature (2000) (A History of the Bible as Literature)
For Coverdale, like Tyndale, has his reputation. Lewis expresses it with a memorable image in a paragraph that is particularly interesting as it begins with one of the rare recognitions of the argument being put forward here: It is not, of course, to be supposed that aesthetic considerations were uppermost in Tyndale’s mind when he translated Scripture. The matter was much too serious for that; souls were at stake. The same holds for all translators. Coverdale was probably the one whose choice of a rendering came nearest to being determined by taste.
As a whole this repeats the point that Tyndale is concerned with accuracy and clarity. In detail it deﬁnes areas of concern, ﬁrst to avoid ampliﬁcation or omission, second with accuracy and clarity of vocabulary, third with diﬀerent characteristics of diﬀerent languages. ‘Proper English’, which at ﬁrst sight suggests English of good quality, in fact means ‘accurate’ or ‘literal’ English. It is one aspect of the problem of ‘one tongue taking another’. This use of ‘proper English’ would already have been apparent had Rolle’s passage about translation not been modernised, for the phrase that is given as ‘I ﬁnd no exact English equivalent’ reads in the original, ‘I fynde na propir Inglys’ (above, p.
Here is the opening stanza of Psalm : At the rivers of Babylon There sat we down right heavily; Even when we thought upon Sion, We wept together sorrowfully. For we were in such heaviness, That we forgot all our merriness, Creators of English And left oﬀ all our sport and play: On the willow trees that were thereby We hanged up our harps truly, And mourned sore both night and day. (p. ) This is a terrible struggle with rhyme and metre, expanding Coverdale’s own rhythmical prose versions to banality.