Saturday, August 09, 2008

God and Vladimir

It strikes me as the height of hubris, though the strike it makes on you might be different (lightening, plagues of locusts, ad nauseum) but a book review of The Bible? C’mon. And it isn’t as though the Book needs the sales bump: by all accounts, it does pretty well even without a full time literary publicist. Even so, today at The Globe and Mail, author Donald Harman Akenson (Surpassing Wonder) takes a stab at The King James Version. Fer cryin’ out loud:
Like Vladimir Nabokov, the Almighty did his best writing in English. His Hebrew and German (I mean He, not Nabokov) were also excellent, but His Greek and Latin were a bit sloppy. Still, no one's perfect. The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible of 1611 (also called the Authorized Version) was a new creation. If it still is the best rendering of the Hebrew and Greek originals in English, it nevertheless changed utterly the way the Tanakh (the Hebrew scriptures) and the so-called New Testament are read. The magisterial language of the KJV loses in its solemnity the Hebrew puns and word games of the Tanakh and covers up the verbal messiness of the Greek New Testament.
The full piece is here.


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