Sunday, 5 May 2013

King James Study Bible

Reasons for Reading: Harold Bloom's Western Canon. Philip Ward's A Lifetime's Reading Also, if you're a serious reader and you want to understand all the biblical references in anything from contemporary magazine articles to Dante's Inferno, you can only get away with not reading it for so long. I chose the KJV because it has had the most impact on English language and literature.

Podcasts: There are thousands available for any sort of bible reader. I recommend the ones from Yale Divinity School if you're a secular reader.

Brow: Low to high, depending on your method and reasons for reading it.

Summary: How do you even summarise the bible? Well, it's a mishmash of genres and styles, from origin myth to sex poems to apocalyptic prophecy. Most of it is pretty dull and repetitive and it's true that you could probably get away with just reading Genesis, Matthew, and the first few chapters of Luke and you'd probably get 90% of the references.

What I liked about it: The Song of Solomon is pretty good, what with it being a book of sex poems that somehow got into the mix. I also liked some of the bits about the crazy prophets and their bizarro tactics for getting people to believe that god was seriously mad again.

What I didn't like about it: It turns out that there are no annotated versions of the KJV published by mainstream publishing houses. There are annotated bibles put out by Oxford University Press, for example, but they use the New International Version, where the language is easier to understand but less majestic. I thought this one would be fine, but it was put out by Jerry Falwell's Liberty University Press and so his annotations are useless unless you're an evangelical Christian uninterested in thinking about the historical and literary context.

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