Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The King James, or Authorised, Version of the Bible remains the most widely published text in the English language. It has been called the "noblest monument of English prose" and has been recognised for centuries as both a religious and literary classic.

In the first of three programmes marking the 400th anniversary of its publication, James Naughtie tells the story of how and why King James VI of Scotland and I of England decided on a new translation of the Bible.

The programme is recorded at Hampton Court Palace.

In the beginning of the program, Naughtie says that the ideal way to approach Hampton Court Palace is from the Thames River, and that's exactly what Grandpère and I did during our romantic first visit to England in 1982.

The first episode of the program is excellent. For the next 6 days, you can listen to the program at BBC Radio 4. Don't miss it.

H/T to Suem at Significant Truths via Lapin.

Image from Wikipedia.

UPDATE: Here's the link to access all three parts of the BBC 4 series on the King James Bible.


Lapinbizarre said...

It really is (have only listened to part one so far) an excellent programme. The BBC people still have the ability to evoke strong visual imagery through the medium of a sound broadcast - though the fact that I, like you, have been there (me also by water, aged 9, and bored stiff!) helps.

Will James's "choice" of an "alternative life style" mute celebration of the anniversary in some circles?

ps Don't forget that the BBC only leaves archived broadcasts up for seven days.

it's margaret said...

Yes, I see the historic importance.
Yes, I understand the cadence, the appeal.

I get it.

I'll say it just once, and then promise to be quiet... I don't like the KJV... and I find all the hoopla suspicious --to be a conservative ploy to pull on the sentimental strings of the church.

If we do the KJV --why not everything else that went with it --boys only behind the altar rail, boys only at the lectern, boys only in the vestry and the pesky laity better just do as they are told.

Sorry Grandmere --I erased the rest of what I wrote... and please forgive me if I have been rude; but the KJV language is the language of oppression from which we are not yet free.

just sayin'.


Well, not exactly. But my eyes are brown.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lapin, we haven't heard much about James' "alternative life", have we?

margaret, I hear ya, and I understand, but I don't agree. I've been a feminist since way before the word was in common use, and perhaps there's something wrong with me, because I don't think about oppression when I read the words. I love the language of the KJV, which I think is some of the most beautiful writing in the English language.

If we do the KJV --why not everything else that went with it --

That's a pretty big leap to make, dearest margaret. We should throw out Shakespeare, and many other writers of in the past, too.

I know that the KJV was used for purposes of oppression. I understand why a good many folks do not want the KJV used in the liturgy, ever, but I can't agree, and I'd be lying if I said I did.

Do I want to hear the Psalms and lessons from the KJV every Sunday? No, but I enjoy the use from time to time. I never hear KJV read in my church in the conservative South.

Cathy said...

I feel exactly the same as Margaret and exactly the same as Mimi too. I love the KJV, and yet I am no fan of King James or his agenda. Anyway, enuff of that already. Very few things are an unmixed good, or bad, I suppose.

Lapin and Mimi, at Hampton Court Palace, did either of you see the ghost of Catherine Howard in the corridor along which she is still reputed to run, shrieking for Henry? ...

Mimi, I would love to hear a little more about your romantic first visit to England with Grandpere at some point, assuming you've not posted on it already? ... :-) I'm not demanding anything right away if you've not written anything previously. Just sayin' really.

I bought some damn fine ginger wine at Hampton Court Palace. I'm just sayin' (again).

I do wonder if Margaret is partly right about the hoopla about the KJV. But on the whole I suspect not particularly, given that it is the anniversary, after all, and it wouldn't really have mattered what was happening in the church at large at this point - the 400th anniversary would have been commemorated regardless.

BooCat said...

My brother and I had rather large vocabularies from a very early age that seemed well beyond our years. He used to say that it was because of the KJV Bible. The KJV was read to us, paraphrased and explained to us on a daily basis almost from birth. We heard it at church two to three times a week and at home as our family did our daily devotionals. The rich language of the best English poets and writers who worked on the translation became so familiar to us as to be simply matter of fact. He believed that the later generations missed out on something with new translations that made everything "easier to understand."

Grandmère Mimi said...

Cathy, we never saw the ghost of Catherine Howard at Hampton Court, although we watched for her.

Our 1982 trip was the first venture across the Atlantic. I wanted to go to France first, but we ended up in England, and I fell in love with the country. Our approximately two-week visit was the first time that we were away from our children for such an extended period, which I suppose made the time seem romantic. And then, too, when you fall in love with a country, you tend to fall in love all over again with the someone who is with you whom you already love.

I should write about our time in England, because it was one of the high points in my life. And I have a number of humorous stories from the trip, and you know how I love to tell stories.

Cathy said...

Yes, yes, you must tell the story, Mimi!! I'm sure we'd all love to hear it.

I was going to add re Catherine Howard, in advance, "No, me neither." It's a good story though.

BTW, whenever I hear the phrase KJV these days I tend to think of KJ and think of it as the "KJ version" of the Bible. I don't know what brought this on.

Grandmère Mimi said...

BooCat, you were blessed, indeed. Growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, I came to the KJV late, but I fell in love with its rich language and cadences. The old RC Douay version couldn't hold a candle to the KJV.

...the "KJ version" of the Bible.

Good grief, Cathy, don't tell KJ! He was once such a nice boy, but lately....

Cathy said...

I think KJ has had an inner Bond Villain thing going on all along, meself.