[Milton-L] KJV in NYTimes

Nancy Charlton nbcharlton at comcast.net
Mon Jan 10 21:17:38 EST 2011

On 1/10/2011 2:49 PM, Jameela Lares wrote:
> Nancy,
> I am happy to see any discussion of the KJV in this its 400th year, as I am starting a Ph.D. seminar next week on Milton, Bunyan, and the King James Bible.
> In the past for such classes, I have used F. F. Bruce's History of the Bible in English (Lutterworth, 2003), though this year I am using a trade book written by a Miltonist, Gordon Campbell's readable Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611-2011.  The UK amazon site has an entertaining video of of the author: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bible-Story-James-Version-1611-2011/dp/0199557594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294699561&sr=1-1.
> I'll be having the students each choose a book and an article to report on.  I've already attached my selected bibliography to the syllabus, but if anyone wants to list a favorite title, I'm all ears.
I have two to suggest:

Alter, Robert and Kermode, Frank, eds. /The Literary Guide to the 
Bible/.  1987, Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard U.P.  A 
collection of essays by scholars of various traditions on 
individual books of the Old and New Testaments, and a section 
called "General Essays."  I have found the essays on Lamentations 
and Job particularly useful, as well as Bernard McGinn's 
refreshingly non-doctrinaire approach to Revelation.  The essays 
have individual lists of references, and there is a general 
glossary and index.

Manser, Martin H. ed. /I Never Knew THAT Was in the BIBLE!:/ /A 
resource of common expressions and curious words from the 
bestselling book of all time/.  1999: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 
Inc.  This book may now be out of print.  I found my copy at a 
supermarket remainder sale, took it home and ten minutes later 
went back to the supermarket to get another copy or two to give 
as gifts, but they were all gone!  A search of Amazon showed 
general unavailability, but I can only hope that this will mean a 
new edition will be forthcoming.  Despite the wild title, it is a 
serious and useful book  It consists of short essays on--opened 
at random--such topics as "as," "grief, grieve," "physician, heal 
thyself," "rude."  The essays strike a balance between scholarly 
and general; they never talk down to the reader but attempt 
always to clarify some very complex matters.  Sometimes this 
means filling in some background.  It often requires showing how 
meanings have shifted, which often necessitates quoting of 
Shakespeare (heavy on the Henry plays), Milton, Bunyan, Spenser, 
Byron, the Victorians.  Aspiring writers will appreciate the 
comparisons of various Bible translations.  A quick run-through 
of the 500-odd pages shows references to /Lycidas, SA, PL PR, 
/and /Tetrachordon/ . And did I mention that there is a 
bibliography and that it is full of cartoons?

Both books use transliterated Hebrew and Greek.
Nancy Charlton

> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 118 College Drive, #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> 601 266-4319 ofc
> 601 266-5757 fax
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Nancy Charlton [nbcharlton at comcast.net]
> Sent: Monday, January 10, 2011 4:36 PM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: [Milton-L] KJV in NYTimes
> http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/opinion/09sun3.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211
> This is the URL for a short and gracious appraisal of the place the King James Bible holds in literature and culture. The author Verlyn Klinkenborg, concludes:  "Its words are almost never Latinate, and its rhythms are never hampered by the literalism that afflicts other translations."
> I've started and erased half a dozen sentences commenting on this and trying to bring it deliberately into the purview of Milton studies, but the most original thing I can think of, and I don't recall it ever being discussed here, is the question of verbal antiquity and archaism in Milton's works.
> Many in our day are as ill-equipped as Tyndale's ploughboy to take on, say, PL XI.385-422, but few would not be touched by "...took their solitary way" or "Earth felt the wound." Milton was generally aware of himself as the author or narrator or any piece, but he was never preoccupied with his own responses. This he has in common with the Bible narrations and even where the poet pours out his soul and describes  physiological effects ("I wept") still focus on the reason ("...when I remembered Zion.")
> Would this be worth a discussion, or a study?
> Nancy Charlton
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