By David Norton
A historical past of the English Bible as Literature (revised and condensed from the author's acclaimed historical past of the Bible as Literature CUP, 1993) explores years of non secular and literary principles. At its middle is the tale of the way the King James Bible went from being mocked as English writing to being "unsurpassed within the whole variety of literature." It reviews the Bible translators, writers equivalent to Milton and Bunyan who contributed rather a lot to our feel of the Bible, and a desirable diversity of critics and commentators.
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Extra resources for A History of the English Bible as Literature (2000) (A History of the Bible as Literature)
And for this reason he writes with a ‘tempered’ pen: ‘because I am loath to swerve from the text, I so temper my pen, that, if thou wilt, thou mayest make plain construction of [the Latin] by the English that standeth on the other side. This is done now for thee that art not exactly learned in the Latin tongue and wouldest fain understand it’ (p. ). His care for ‘the pure and very original text’ (p. ) of the version he is translating is such that, if he ﬁnds it necessary to expand it for the sake of clarity, he puts the expansions in square brackets, so that the text is ‘neither wrested nor perverted’ (p.
The same holds for all translators. Coverdale was probably the one whose choice of a rendering came nearest to being determined by taste. His defects as well as his qualities led to this. Of all the translators he was the least scholarly. Among men like Erasmus, Tyndale, Munster, or the Jesuits at Rheims, he shows like a rowing boat among battleships. This gave him a kind of freedom. Unable to judge between rival interpretations, he may often have been guided, half consciously, to select and combine by taste.
These ideas are similar to Erasmus’s ideas of the Bible language and of vernacular translation, which is hardly surprising since Luther’s NT depended on Erasmus’s work. In Enchiridion Militis Christiani, a work that Tyndale translated, Erasmus describes the language of the Bible as humble. 18 He also sees the Scripture as ‘somewhat hard and some deal rough and sharp’ (pp. –), and later writes that ‘the wisdom of God stuttereth and lispeth as it were a diligent mother, fashioneth her words according to our infancy and feebleness .
A History of the English Bible as Literature (2000) (A History of the Bible as Literature) by David Norton