Monday, October 31, 2011

Punctuating the Bible

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic (the Aramaic portions are as follows: Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:11-26; Daniel 2:4-7:28; Jeremiah 10:11, and two words in Genesis 31:47). The New Testament was written in Greek. The original Hebrew (and Aramaic) manuscripts were written without vowels and without punctuation. The fact that vowels were not written is not as problematic as it might seem, due to the character of the Hebrew language. In fact, most Modern Hebrew is also written without vowels. Vowels are inserted only when necessary to prevent possible misunderstandings. At least in the Hebrew manuscripts, the scribes did have spaces between words. For an example of such Hebrew manuscripts, see

The earliest Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters (called uncials), and were written without spaces between the words but with some punctuation, though the punctuation seems not to have been used consistently. For an example of such a manuscript, see In the Middle Ages, Greek manuscripts began to be written in a cursive script called miniscules. These manuscripts at least had spaces between the words, and a more sustained use of punctuation. For an example, see

Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Hebrew scribes that preserved and copied the biblical text developed a system for indicating the vowels in each word. These scribes are known as Masoretes, and the text they produced is the Masoretic text. In addition to this vocalization system, they developed a system of accents for the text. In this system, each word has its own accent. The accents serve three purposes. First, the accent indicates which syllable in the word is accented. Second, the accents serve as a sort of musical notation, indicating how the text is to be chanted. Third, the accents serve somewhat like punctuation. This system is still found in modern printed editions of the Hebrew Bible.

The punctuation in modern editions of the Greek New Testament comes in part from the punctuation found in manuscripts. In addition, punctuation is added by the editors of the Greek text.

The punctuation of English versions of the Bible is dependent in part on the punctuation indicated by the Hebrew accent system and on the punctuation of the Greek text. However punctuation in English is different and more extensive than punctuation in either Hebrew or Greek. Thus, the punctuation of English versions is determined by the translators and editors of the particular version. Thus, for example, Ephesians 1:3-14 (one extended sentence in Greek) is divided into three sentences by the KJV, and up to fourteen or so sentences by some of the modern simple language translations. But this punctuation is a matter of editorial choice. So for example, in Eph 1:4, the KJV reads, “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” The ESV reads, “that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” (with the sentence then continuing into verse 5). The difference between the two renderings is that in the KJV, the phrase “in love” is understood to go with what precedes, as is indicated by the punctuation. In the ESV, the phrase “in love” is understood to go with what follows, again as indicated by the punctuation. In this case, the KJV is supported by the punctuation as it is found in the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Most modern English versions, however, do the same as the ESV. In this case, the interpretational difference may be minimal. But where you put the comma, or whether you even use a comma, is not always so simple.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Translational Annoyances

Since I teach one of the Biblical languages, I am frequently asked which English Bible translation I recommend. I sort of cheat, answering that as far as I am concerned, the NKJV, the NASB, the ESV, and (if you pay careful attention to the words that have changed in meaning in the last 400 years) the KJV all have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are all about equally good. The main point here is that there is no perfect translation of the Bible. Those that I have listed do most things well, but no biblical languages scholar would be entirely happy with any one of them. I doubt that even members of the translation team for one of those versions would be entirely happy with everything the version does. Part of that is due to the fact that most translations are committee work, and a translation has to please everyone involved: the editorial staff as well as the members of the translation team. So if one member of the team likes a particular rendering of a given passage, but the other team members do not, he loses out. Likewise, the editorial team may tell a translation committee that a particular passage just doesn’t work and they need to go back and change it. So the editors are happy, but the translators are not. I’ve been told, for example, that the translation team for one particular version was trying to figure out what to do with 1 Sam 25:22 (and the other passages where the KJV uses the now offensive term “piss”). They wanted to do something that would indicate that the word here was not just one of the normal Hebrew words for male. However, they were told in no uncertain terms, “There will be no pissing in my Bible.”

All that being said, probably most biblical scholars have particular passages in particular versions that simply drive them nuts. I call these translational annoyances. One of these popped up for me in recent months as I was reading through the CEB. For a variety of reasons I think the version is a particularly odious translation. As a character in Connie Willis’s novel Doomsday Book said, “The King James may be archaic, but at least it’s not criminal.” So you would expect that I would find a lot of translational annoyances in it. But one in particular stuck out to me. Col 4:15 says, “Say hello to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea.” I realized, of course, that this was the CEB way of saying “greet,” and I figured that the translators thought “greet” was too sophisticated a word for this particular translation. So I looked back to Phil 4:21, expecting to see “say hello to.” Instead, I found, “Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus.” So I thought, “Well, maybe Paul used a different word in Philippians than in Colossians.” So I looked. No. Same word in Greek in both passages. So I looked at all the passages where that same form is used. I found no consistency in translation. About half of the passages have, “Say hello to.” The other half have, “Greet,” except for Matt 10:12, which says, “Say, Peace.” To my mind this is simply fundamentally bad translation. At the very least, all of the occurrences in the Pauline epistles should have read the same. But the careful reader of the CEB is going to think that the Greek uses different words, apparently because the translators and the editorial team of the CEB couldn’t get together on a reasonable consistency in the translation of a simple Greek word.

Of course, the CEB is not the only offender in this. The NLT sometimes uses “greet” and sometimes “give my greetings to.” It is particularly grating in Romans 16, where apparently the NLT translators couldn’t stand the fact that Paul used the same term sixteen times in the same passage, so they decided to change it up for the reader. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bible Translation and Editorial Consistency

One of the fundamental difficulties in any translation work is for the translator to enable the reader to hear the “voice” of the original writer. A recent translator of The Three Musketeers commented to the effect that he found earlier translations of the work, particularly nineteenth-century translations, made the work much less accessible than it was in the original. He therefore strove in his translation to convey in English the style of the original French. In a book of such length as The Three Musketeers it is fairly easy over the course of the novel to convey something of Dumas’s style. In the Bible, it is a much more difficult task. For one thing, the translators are faced not with one book, but with sixty-six, and from as many as perhaps forty writers. Further, even the longest books of the Bible (Jeremiah, Genesis, and Psalms are longest by Hebrew word-count) are far shorter than even an average novel, let alone a novel such as The Three Musketeers. Even the three together would make only a very short novel (about 60,000 words total, about 120,000 in the KJV, which would make a decent-length novel). However, the three books have very different styles (in Hebrew). A proficient Hebrew reader would be able to tell within a few verses which of the three he was reading from if he was given an unidentified portion to read. But it can be difficult to make those stylistic differences apparent in English.

Formal equivalence translations have an advantage over functional equivalence translations at this point, because of the attempt to follow the Hebrew (or Greek) fairly closely, and to maintain consonance as much as possible, (Consonance is the practice of translating a given Hebrew/Greek word by the same English word when reasonably possible to do so.) Functional equivalence translations, on the other hand, tend to be simple-language translations, which limits, for example, the use of technical terminology, and tends to paraphrase or replace idioms in the original with “equivalent” English idioms.

A further problem for functional equivalence translations is that they tend to prefer short, choppy English sentences. In some places, that works. Hebrew narrative, for example, tends to consist of short clauses, sometimes no more than a word or two. The reader should understand, however, that it is possible to put a whole English sentence, albeit a simple one, in one word. The English sentence, “He offered it up as a burnt offering” is two words in Hebrew. However, when it comes to Paul’s letters, the functional equivalence translations lose the ability to represent Paul’s style. As is often observed Eph 1:3-14 is one sentence in Greek. The KJV turns that into three sentences. The NLT turns it into fourteen sentences in three paragraphs. The CEB also turned it into fourteen sentences, though they have retained the one paragraph. Certainly not a real representation of the sentence Paul wrote.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lord of Hosts

Last time, I was arguing that “hosts” in this title probably does not refer to angels, but rather to the hosts of Israel. It is pertinent to this contention that the word “hosts” when used apart from this phrase and in the plural always refers to human armies, most commonly to the armies of Israel. So, for example, Ex 12:41 says, “all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Deut 20:9, when speaking of the armies of Israel preparing for battle says, “then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people” (literally: they shall appoint princes of the hosts at the head of the people). 1 Kgs 2:5 speaks of the “two commanders [princes] of the hosts of Israel.” Psa 68:12 says, “kings of armies [hosts] did flee apace.”

The title “Lord of hosts” occurs one hundred forty-five times in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. It occurs over fifty times in the much shorter Book of Zechariah. It occurs fourteen times in the two chapters of Haggai and twenty-four times in the four chapters of Malachi. The usage in the prophets accounts for the vast majority of the uses of the term in the Old Testament, and it is used consistently with the nation of Israel in view. This would seem to lend weight to the idea that the focus is not on angelic armies, but rather on human armies, in particular the armies of Israel.

Interestingly, when the word “host” is used in such a way as to indicate the possibility of the “host” being angels, it occurs in the singular. Thus with the cryptic text in Josh 5:14ff, it is the prince of the host (singular) of the Lord who appears to Joshua. Likewise, in 1 Kgs 22:19 “all the host of Heaven,” host is singular. It is the same case in Psa 103:21 and Psa 148:2.

What can we conclude from this? I think first, that the reason hosts is singular in regard to angels is due to the fact that they are considered a single army. Israel, on the other hand, was made up of twelve tribes, each providing its own army [host]. Hence the God of Israel is the Lord of the hosts of Israel, a perfect image of the Old Testament church militant.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lord of Hosts: Lord of Heavens Armies?

The KJV rendered the Hebrew phrase yhwh tseba’ot by the English phrase “Lord of Hosts.” Since then, most English versions have simply followed the KJV. More recently, however, especially with the rise of “simple-language” versions, the phrase has begun to disappear from English Bibles. Admittedly, there is nothing especially sacred about the translation Lord of Hosts. Many people today may not even know that “host” in the seventeenth century meant “army,” or “great multitude.”

Thus, several of the newer versions have sought a translation that communicates more effectively and more accurately the meaning of the Hebrew phrase. Thus the New Living Translation (NLT) renders it as “the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” The new Common English Bible (CEB) renders it “Lord of Heavenly Forces.” God’s Word translation uses “Lord of Armies.” The Good News Bible, the NIV, and the TNIV all render it as “Lord Almighty.” The New Century Version and the Contemporary English Version render it “Lord All-Powerful.” But how helpful, and how accurate, are these translations?

The NLT and CEB translations are clearly equivalent. Further, they add to the idea of army or force the idea that these are heavenly forces. The first word in the Hebrew phrase is Yahweh, the divine name. The second word in the phrase is a plural form of a noun that means “army” or “warfare.” Hence God’s Word translation Lord of Armies, omitting the idea of heavenly forces. The NLT and CEB are probably influenced by the fact that angels are sometimes referred to as a “host.” This appears, for example, in 1 Kings 22:19, where the prophet Micaiah says that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the “host of heaven” standing by him. The reader should notice, however, that in this and similar verses, the word “host” is in the singular, and it is specifically identified as “the host of heaven.” Further, the Lord is not referred to as Lord of Hosts, but simply as Lord. When “hosts” is used in the plural (apart from the phrase Lord of hosts), it refers to the armies or military arrangement of Israel or other human armies. By usage, then the NLT and the CEB seem to be wrong in implying that the term is in reference to heavenly armies. In fact, one of the standard Hebrew lexicons says, “the thought of angels and stars as army of God is later.” Based on the views of the scholars who produced that lexicon (Frances Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs), it would appear they thought it unlikely that such a use (heavenly armies) appeared before the period of the exile. Even a more recent work (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis) seems to find the evidence for such a view lacking.

The evidence for Lord Almighty or Lord All-powerful is even scantier. The NIDOTTE says, “Another approach would take ‘hosts’ as a plural of intensification or majesty, particularly in view of the LXX translation of hosts as ‘Almighty.” But such an abstraction lacks convincing evidence.”

When the reader further considers that Lord of Hosts does not appear in the Bible until 1 Samuel, it would seem to indicate that the epithet is particularly connected with the rise of the Israelite monarchy, particularly under David. Hence it refers to the armies of Israel as the covenantal hosts, or armies, of the Lord.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is the CEB the New NRSV? (2)

Technically, the answer to that question is, “No.” The CEB is not being done by the Division of Christian Education of the NCC, which holds the copyright on the NRSV. Instead, according to the CEB website, “The Common English Bible is a distinct new imprint and brand for Bibles and reference products about the Bible. Publishing and marketing offices are located in Nashville, Tennessee. The CEB translation was funded by the Church Resources Development Corp, which allows for cooperation among denominational publishers in the development and distribution of Bibles, curriculum, and worship materials.  The Common English Bible Committee meets periodically and consists of denominational publishers from the following denominations: Disciples of Christ (Chalice Press); Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (Westminster John Knox Press); Episcopal Church (Church Publishing Inc); United Church of Christ (Pilgrim Press); and United Methodist Church (Abingdon Press).”

In other words, it is being funded by five denominations, all of which are currently member denominations of the NCC. It simply seems odd to me that they would not be using the NRSV. Perhaps the motivation is simply to have a simple-language translation that meets all the current sensitivity requirements, such as gender-neutrality. There are already several simple-language translations available that are gender-neutral. The Today’s English Version is probably the oldest (1976). There is also the New Living Translation (1996, the latest edition is 2007),  The Contemporary English Version (1995), and the NIV2011. All three, however, still use “Son of Man” in reference to Christ. The CEB uses “the Human One.” I suppose these three versions are insufficiently sensitive to gender issues.

Are we moving into a new era of English Bible translation? Are we headed toward a “niche” mentality, where each denomination or cluster of denominations has its distinctive translation? The HCSB and the CEB seem to point in that direction. Roman Catholicism has always had its own versions, currently the New American Bible, which appeared in a new edition earlier this year. That would be expected, however, because the Catholic Bibles will include the apocryphal books, and not in a separate section the way the KJV had it. But outside the mainline churches and the SBC, churches are small enough that supporting a translation distinctive to the denomination (or even to a group of related denominations) would be difficult. For now, the NLT, the NIV (and perhaps its 2011 version), and the ESV will probably continue to dominate the evangelical market. The NASB and NKJV will continue to have their niches for a time, but who knows for how ling.

Whether the CEB can take over the NRSV market may depend on marketing as much as on the fact that the five supporting denominations give it something of a captive audience. The NRSV is aging (already basically a generation old). Though it is gender-neutral, it is more in line with the TEV, CEV, and NLT than the CEB. If the CEB can produce a study edition aimed at the college-level Bible class, the simple-language approach may make it appealing to university professors who find their students less and less able to read at the college level.  

We live in interesting times in English Bible translation. The old days of the KJV hegemony are gone, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mea Culpa

Apparently I was asleep yesterday morning when I wrote my post. First, the revision of the RSV came out in 1971, not 1970. And the NT of the RSV appeared in 1946, with the whole Bible in 1952 (yes, Richard, I was right about that).

Now to more substantive matters. To anyone who thought I was making a connection between the CEB and the National Council of Churches, my apologies. The relevant line is, “And there appears to be no direct connection between the publishers of the Common English Bible and the Division of Christian Education of the NCC.” To state it more clearly, so that even the possible implication is removed: There is no connection between the CEB and the NCC.

As to the “implicit support of the SBL for the CEB:” as far as I know all the modern versions available in English have been done by translation teams made up entirely, or mostly, of scholars who are members of SBL. In that sense, all of the versions have the implicit support of the SBL, though I doubt the SBL would be interested in trying to stop any of its members from participating in a Bible translation team. What seems interesting to me is the fact that the SBL has devoted a panel discussion to the CEB. I don’t think that has previously been done for a Bible translation, except maybe the NRSV. If any of my readers knows to the contrary, I’ll be happy to stand corrected on that.

As far as the panel goes, this is the situation. I was wrong about the make-up of the panel. The presenting panel (Why We Need a New Bible Translation) includes one member of the CEB editorial team, and four people not associated with the CEB. The respondents, however, are all members of the CEB editorial team. This still seems to me to be an odd arrangement. I assumed that the presenting panel would be making the case for a new translation, while the respondents would be arguing contrary. Too bad I’m not going to SBL this year.

What the CEB does not have at this point is the explicit identification with the SBL (compare the HarperCollins Study Bible). Will it come? Who knows? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The CEB: Is it the New NRSV? (1)

About a year ago I received a complimentary copy of the CEB (Common English Bible) New Testament with a letter asking me to read it and comment. Even the letter itself made it clear that I was not going to like this Bible, and the Preface made it even more obvious. I never wrote to them expressing my displeasure. But what has this to do with the NRSV?

The whole Bible of the RSV appeared in 1952 (the New Testament had been published in 1946). Almost immediately it became the preferred translation of the academic community, as well as the increasingly liberal mainline churches. I remember that the church I grew up in (liberal Presbyterian) had RSV pew Bible in the late 1950s. In 1970, the RSV was republished with a revised New Testament. In 1989, the New RSV (NRSV) was published, this time with gender-neutral language and with a definite move toward a more functional (read dynamic) equivalence approach to translation. The old RSV had been pretty stodgy, even retaining “thee” and such in the Psalms. Each of these editions of the RSV was published in annotated editions for the academic market. The Oxford Annotated RSV seemed to have cornered the market as the go-to Bible for university Bible and religion courses. After the appearance of the NRSV, the Oxford Annotated was updated, and no doubt is still the preferred translation and edition on many college campuses. But in 1994, the Harper-Collins Study Bible appeared as a challenger to the Oxford Annotated. The H-CSB had the advantage over the OA in that the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) had explicitly identified itself with the H-CSB, and all the annotations were done by members of the Society. The HarperCollins (whether it is Harper-Collins, Harper Collins, or HarperCollins is not exactly clear to me, because I have seen all three in print) Study Bible: Student Edition made this quite evident, with the statement at the bottom of the cover: A New Annotated Edition by the Society of Biblical Literature.

Now the copyright to the RSV and the NRSV is held by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches. And there appears to be no direct connection between the publishers of the Common English Bible and the Division of Christian Education of the NCC. However, the NRSV is now more than twenty years old. In the world of modern Bible translations, that is ancient. Even with regard to the RSV, it is the longest that it has gone without a significant update (1952, 1970, and 1989). Furthermore, the CEB seems to have the implicit support of the SBL. The list of editors and translators (see reads like a veritable Who’s Who of the Society of Biblical Literature. In addition, the CEB has its own panel discussion at the annual meeting of the SBL in San Francisco (slated for Sunday, November 20 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.). The panel is a stacked deck. The presenters of “Why We Need a New Bible Translation” are all members of the CEB editorial committee. All those presenting “Responses to the Need for a New Bible Translation” are also members of the CEB editorial committee. Apparently, they don’t want any naysayers in the bunch.

Continued in the next post.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Concluding Thoughts on the KJV

Any English-speaking pastor or teacher of the Bible ought to be familiar with the KJV. By that, I don’t mean that he has read through it in a cursory fashion. Rather, that he has read it carefully and more than once. Why? First, because the KJV more than any other English version, is the heritage of the English-speaking church. For more than three centuries the KJV was the Bible of the English-speaking world. For any English-speaking pastor or Bible teacher to be ignorant of the KJV is for him to be ignorant of his history and of the history of his people.

Second, the KJV was translated at a time when English was finally coming out from under the shadow of Latin as a “respectable” language, a language suitable for scholarship, and especially theological scholarship. Thus the KJV translators regularly preferred the Anglo-Saxon word to the word of Latin origin. Perhaps the best way to see this is to read the KJV and the Douay-Rheims translation side-by-side. The latter was a Roman Catholic translation that deeply reflects its origins in the Latin Vulgate. William Tyndale led the charge in the use of Anglo-Saxon English, and for the most part the KJV translator followed suit.

Third, the KJV translators sought to make a translation “that openeth the window” (from the preface to the KJV). That is, they sought to make a translation that would enable the reader of the English Bible to see through to the original. In that, they largely succeeded. Most of the “oddities” that people remark of in the KJV are not “English.” At least, they did not reflect how English was written, or English style, in the early part of the 17th century. Instead, these oddities generally allow us to see the original. For example, the clause “and he answered and said” that appears often in Old Testament dialogue is not English style, but it is Hebrew style. It appears in the KJV, and the modern formal equivalence versions, but functional equivalence translations drop it. Compare these three translations of Gen 18:27:
KJV: And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.
ESV: Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
NLT: Then Abraham spoke again. "Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes.

The “and” which begins the verse shows us the Hebrew conjunction. The ESV has eliminated it entirely, and the NLT has turned it into “then.” “Answered and said” is retained by the ESV, but turned into “Spoke again” by the NLT. There are two different verbs in Hebrew that are commonly used in speech. The first, usually translated as “say,” refers to the content of speech, so that the reader expects a quotation to follow. The other, usually translated as “speak,” refers to the act of speaking, rather than the content. The NLT has confused the two words. The phrase “Behold now” reflects two words in Hebrew. The ESV drops one. The NLT effectively drops both, replacing them with “since” which implies a connection with what precedes that the Hebrew does not. Then, “I have taken upon me” reflects the most likely sense of the Hebrew verb. This is also found in the ESV. The NLT opts for the less likely alternative “begin.” Finally, all three struggle with the concluding phrase. The Hebrew is literally “and I am dust and ashes.” It is three words in Hebrew, with the verb “am” implied. The KJV comes closest, using six words, while the ESV and NLT use seven and eight respectively.

Thus, a careful reading of the KJV (always remembering that there are more than three hundred words used in the KJV that have significantly changed in meaning since 1611) will almost always show the English reader the structure and character of the underlying Hebrew and Greek—not a small gift to the modern audience.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Books and Articles About the KJV (2)

The Influence of the KJV

In the last post, I mentioned the address by C. S. Lewis. That work stood alone for a long time as the only consideration of the subject. However, with 2011 being the four hundredth anniversary of the KJV, many other books have been written about its influence. One that appeared this year, and which is also worth reading, is Robert Alter’s Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible. Much like Lewis’s essay, this book originated as lectures, specifically the Spencer Trask Lectures, delivered at Princeton University in 2008. Originating as it did in lecture format, the focus of the work is limited. Alter essentially deals with the issue of style by displaying what he sees as the influence of the KJV on three works of American fiction: Moby-Dick; Absalom, Absalom; and Seize the Day. Alter’s treatment is full of insight because he is not only well familiar with the American literary canon; he is also intimately familiar with the prose style of the KJV.

A second work is David Crystal’s Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language. This work differs considerably from that of Alter. This is simply a collation and explanation of KJV idioms that have become part of modern English vernacular. The book is divided into 42 short chapters (5-8 pages each) devoted to the various KJV idioms that Crystal discovered.

On the Translation Itself

There does not seem to be much devoted to a discussion of the character and quality of the translation of the KJV, at least in book form. One of the few is Translation that Openeth the Window: Reflections on the History and Legacy of the King James Bible. This book appeared in 2009. It is a collection of essays from various members of the Society of Biblical Literature. The Society is the premier professional society in the United States for those who specialize in the academic study of the Bible. Like Gaul, the book is divided into three parts. The first part deals with Bible translation before the KJV, the second part deals with the making of the KJV itself, and the third part deals with Bible translation after the KJV. The book was published by the Society of Biblical Literature. I have not yet had the opportunity to read this book, but given that it was published by the SBL, my guess is that it is tougher reading than the other works I have mentioned. The language will be technical, because the authors of the essays are writing for a technical audience.

Another work on the character of the KJV translation is found in The Literary Guide to the Bible, edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode (pages 647-666). It is the essay, “English Translations of the Bible” by Gerald Hammond. The essay gives many examples, comparing the KJV to other versions. Hammond’s conclusion is: “Through its transparency the reader of the Authorized Version not only sees the original but also learns how to read it. Patterns of repetition, the way one clause is linked to another, the effect of unexpected inversions of word order, the readiness of biblical writers to vary tone and register from the highly formal to the scatological, and the different kinds and uses of imagery are all, like so much else, open to any readers of the Renaissance versions, and best open to them in the Authorized Version."