That old tongue

Of the King James Version, editors Robert Alter and Frank Kermode in The Literary Guide to the Bible write, “Here is a miscellany of documents containing ancient stories, poems, laws, prophecies, which most of us cannot even read in the original languages, and which are a best, if we are English speakers, in an English that was already archaic when the King James (or “Authorized”) Version was published in 1611, and may now often seem distant and exotic: ‘that old tongue,’ as Edmund Wilson one vividly expressed it, ‘with its clang and flavor.’ Yet, as Wilson went on to say, ‘we have been living with it all our lives.’ In short, the language as well as the message it conveys symbolizes for us a past, strange and yet familiar, which we feel we somehow must understand if we are to understand ourselves.”

Later in the General Introduction we read, “We have as a rule used the King James Version in translation, and our reasons for doing so must be obvious: it is the version most English readers associate with the literary qualities of the Bible, and it is still arguably the version that best preserves the literary effects of the original languages.”

Robert Alter, Frank Kermode, eds., The Literary Guide to the Bible (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 1, 7.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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