- Hardcover: 219 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan; UK ed. edition (March 9, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780310320258
- ISBN-13: 978-0310320258
- ASIN: 0310320259
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,446,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Verily, Verily: The KJV - 400 Years of Influence and Beauty Hardcover – March 9, 2011
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From the Back Cover
As historian Tony Lane once noted, without the King James Version of the Bible, it can be speculated that, there would be no Paradise Lost ... no Pilgrim's Progress ... no Negro spirituals ... no Gettysburg Address. And even though today there are more accurate and contemporary translations of the Bible, the KJV reigns supreme in the English-speaking world. It is printed and circulated more widely than any other version. The everlasting literary power of this phenomenal volume is unarguable. But how did this remarkable work originate? What were the historical circumstances driving its completion? What sorts of errors (many of them outright hysterical) crept into the translation? Why does it still outsell every other English translation?Verily, Verily offers an informative, inspirational, and light-hearted look into how the world's most popular Bible was created and why it is still important. Jon M. Sweeney reflects on the cultural importance, spiritual value, beautiful phrasings, and occasional humor of the King James Bible. And Sweeny shows why the KJV has been the most important entry into the Christian scriptures for the English-speaking world and a new understanding of why it is still worth reading.
About the Author
Jon M. Sweeney is an author, editor, and popular speaker with a wide range of interests. For many years, he was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of SkyLight Paths Publishing. Since 2004, he has been the associate publisher at Paraclete Press. The author of several books including The Road to Assisi and Light in the Dark Ages, both about St. Francis, Jon is a Catholic living in Woodstock, Vermont. He wrote about his evangelical childhood in the memoir, Born Again and Again, which received an Award of Merit from Christianity Today. You can follow Jon on his King James Bible fan blog, www.kingjamesbiblegeek.blogspot.com.
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The author's style of writing and sense of humor make this read one to easily digest. This book could easily be used for a group study. There is a portion at the end which translates the meanings of phraseology in the original KJ which is most helpful.
I love the beauty of the original King James Bible, but now use the New King James in personal study, referencing back to the original.
The author's "light-hearted" tone is sometimes a bit too light (I could have done without almost all of chapter four, "Lo, the Humor!" but his knowledge of and appreciation for the King James bible is fascinating.
The book starts out with a short history of the Bible leading up to the KJV, including a chapter on a few lesser known English Bibles and the influence of King Henry VIII on Christianity in England. Sweeney does a good job of condensing a lot of history into a small amount of space, but still keeping it relevant and precise. He then moves on to how the KJV was translated.
The real fun starts when Verily, Verily moves onto a chapter discussing the humorous and odd verses that only the KJV boasts, because of spelling and the oddities of Middle English. Sweeney then discusses the "KJV only" movement and its origins. Another chapter lists notable people who's works were influenced by the KJV, such as Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, and Mark Twain. Also appearing are chapters that list famous KJV verses, the conflict of science and the KJV, and a glossary of archaic words and phrases found only in the "Authorized Version."
This is a educational and entertaining book, and those interested in Bible history won't be disappointed.
I have read different versions of the bible and have used them for studying, but the KJV has always been my favorite. Being raised reading it, it is very hard to make a change to these newer versions, but I do have to say I use the NIV quite often. I can understand that a new Christian would have difficulty understanding the KJV and the more modern versions would be easier for them, For myself there is nothing more beautiful than reading the 23rd Psalm in the KJV all though it is close in other editions.
I have to agree with another reviewer when they points out what the author states." that the slightly old fashioned language of the KJV helps us to slow down, to ponder meanings, to treat the Bible with the reverence which it deserves." So all in all I have to say I really enjoyed this book as the author takes the reader through the KJV from its beginning to still going strong. It's a book that will stay on my reading shelf with other study books.
In my case, at least, Mr. Sweeney is wrong. I'm an atheist and I've read this book because I find religion a fascinating subject - exercises in social engineering that have been going on in every country - in every group of people large enough to be called a tribe, or "a people" or a country.
Mr. Sweeney extolls the virtues of the King James Bible in his book, saying: "..the KJV ...is a building block of our collective cultural heritage. ... the KJV has made a greater contribution to the literacy, culture, spirit, faith and beauty of Western civilization than any other book in history."
And finally: "Contemporary English translations make the Word of God accessible, but they can also make it seem ordinary."
That last I agree with in particular. The Bible is supposed to sound like..the Bible. With thees and thous and those and verily.
So I enjoyed reading this book on several levels.
It's not a scholary tome. Sweeney talks to the reader as if he, Sweeney, and the reader are sitting on a park bench somewhere, feeding the ducks and enjoying nature and having a pleasant chat. (Which means it does ramble at times, but that's part of its charm.)
For one thing, Sweeney doesn't even explain why the King James Bible is called the King James Bible until a couple of chapters into the book. (King James commissioned the translation of this Bible in 1604, the Old Testament translated from Hebrey, the New Testament from Greek and Latin. It was completed in 1611.)
The book is divided into 9 chapters, starting with So Much at Stake (explaining why the early translators of the Bible from the Vulgate Latin were usually burned at the stake), to the humor (unintentional) in it because of various typos and mistranslations, to famous politicians who were most influenced by it, to immortal verses and proverbs from it, and finally the Bible and the Wonder - the Bible talks of satyrs, and giants, and people living for thousands of years and so on.
I found this book very educational (in the way that education is supposed to be these days, obtained while having fun).