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Melvyn Bragg was lyrical in his appreciation of the literary contribution of the King James Bible to the English language, crediting it with having the most influence on the all subsequent English literature of any writing. He dismissed the content of the Bible as being mostly fairy tales however, which was disappointing. As it is the 400th anniversary of the K.J.V. being universally available, I was hoping to find a book that gave some background to the events which finally allowed ordinary people to own these amazing scriptures which have influenced our culture so markedly. I lost interest halfway though the volume as it became a technical treatise about language.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you want a history of the King James Version, this book will probably be a disappointment. Melvyn Bragg tries to give an overview of the impact of the King James Version on the English speaking peoples and the world at large ranging over 400 years. The book has a too broad scope and therefore I think it fails. The impression that I got at times is that it is the ramblings of someone that don't know where to start and where to finish. While there are a lot of interesting bits, I was left with a lot of questions. Should a short rebuttal of Richard Dawkins be part of such a book? Does Bragg really know the difference between the Old and New Testament, as in the beginnig he especially equated the New Testament with the Bible? I really don't think Bragg is right when he says that British and other English speaking missionaries made their translations into other languages from the King James Bible. He quotes Diarmaid Macullach a lot, taking his point of departure uncritically. In the end I am a bit disappointed in the book. I really think there are better books on the issue for instance the one Alistar McGrath wrote. Bragg should really limit his scope in future.
This type of book is why I started listening to audio books as although I have a great interest in history it can sometimes be hard slog reading through. As an atheist but brought up a Presbyterian in Scotland I am acutely aware of religious differences in the UK. Too many people dismiss the role that religion has and still continues to play in our lives, the King James bible changed the face of history and played a massive part in freeing the peasants and opening up education to the masses.
I don't believe in God and the bible is full of stories written by men but there is no mistaking the profound affect on history.
Read this book regardless of your religious beliefs to discover how it changed the face of Britain, Europe and the Americas.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is among the best books I have ever "read". It was so interesting,brilliantly written and narrated. I will listen again because although dense with facts it is not at all tedious ... on the contrary it is totally absorbing. Congratulations Melyn Bragg, this is a classic.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful