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Beauty, Language, and the King James Bible

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: King James Bible, KJV, Catholic, Bible, More Intelligent Life, spirituality, Will Wlizlo,


Regardless of your creed or convictions (or lack thereof), it’s hard to deny that the King James translation of the Bible is an epic tome of efficient diction, unforgettable narratives, and beautifully wrought poetry. The translation—arguably the most widely read text in the English language—celebrates its 400th birthday this year and deserves praise for its enduring allure and literary relevancy.

Ann Wroe of More Intelligent Life recently lauded the elegant language of the King James Bible in a passionate piece of personal essay and approachable scholarship. First, she describes her initial interaction with the KJV, a chance reading at St. John’s College Chapel. “The effect was extraordinary” remembers Wroe, “as if I had suddenly found, in the house of language I had loved and explored all my life, a hidden central chamber whose pillars and vaulting, rhythm and strength had given shape to everything around them.” And when you open its pages, she continues, “

Although she covers many of the KJV’s linguistic curiosities, her ruminations on the specificity of vocabulary are particularly interesting:

Source: More Intelligent Life 

Image by Ian B-M, licensed under Creative Commons.