Tuesday, 22 February 2011

King James Bible

There's been a lot of interest recently about the translations of the King James Bible including a recent article in The Guardian Review on 19 February.

My experience was as a child sitting Sunday after Sunday listening to the lessons.  Much of it incomprehensible to me for the longest time but what I began to appreciate as I grew older was the power of the language and the rhythm of the words.

Reading what people including Jeannette Winterston felt reminded me of a teacher I worked with back in the 1970s when I was still a librarian.  Having taught primary school children for 30 years she was firmly in favour of challenging young children with unfamiliar language.  She thought that the more they were given the chance to hear it, the larger would become their vocabulary and the more they'd be likely to express themselves, in their own language.

It wasn't unusual where I grew up.  I went to a church school and attended services regularly.  Nobody said it was difficult, nobody said I shouldn't listen; it was part of our experience. Of course I didn't understand the religious significance of the words but that didn't matter.

What I did enjoy were those colourful expressions and strong images.  Made an impression then and sticks in my mind now, rather than the supposedly clearer but blander text of the 201th century translations.

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