GORDON CAMPBELL. Bible: The Story of the King James Version, 1611-2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010
DAVID CRYSTAL. Begat: The Story of the King James Bible and the English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010
We are celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of the first publication of the King James Version of the Bible, and Oxford University Press has published several books in support of that commemoration. I review two such here, both of which are intended for a general readership, well worth reading on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Each book provides a historical framework for understanding the continued influence of the KJV on modern culture, and each convincingly argues that the underlying reasons for this success go beyond simple tradition or aesthetic snobbery.
Both of these books are recommended for readers hoping to dip their toes pleasurably in the shallows before wading more deeply into the ocean of scholarship on the KJV.