Eddie and Sue Arthur

What writers think of the King James Bible’s language

In this year of celebrating 400 years of the King James Bible, here is an interesting article in today’s Guardian. A number of writers (including Alexander McCall Smith and linguist David Crystal) talk about their experience of the KJV’s language in 6 short pieces. Below are a couple of extracts from novelist Janine Winterson’s article:

“My mother taught me to read from the Book of Deuteronomy because it is full of animals – mostly unclean. So while other children had horses, bunnies, kittens and ducks, I had hoopoes, sloths, snakes, rock badgers, rams, swine and shellfish.”

“My dad left school at 12, and never learned to read properly. He had no trouble with his Bible, and when he didn’t understand a word or a construction, he asked Mrs Winterson or the minister. He was a man of few words himself, but he had dignity of speech, learned directly from the King James.”

There are easier ways to learn to read than from the Bible, but if you grew up reading the KJV from an early age, it’s language would certainly be etched on the memory.

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