Deborah Gyapong: What David Lyle Jeffrey is up to

What David Lyle Jeffrey is up to

I miss getting to see this wonderful man and scholar on a regular basis. In the early 1990s, I used to see him once a week when I joined a group of professors and graduate students for an informal breakfast seminar that stretched my mind and exposed me to the intellectual side of the Christian faith. Here's a story about him in relation to the King James Bible, via the Prairie Messenger.

Last time I heard from David, he emailed me from China! BTW, we use the KJV in our parish and I hope the Pope provides a way for us to keep it in the Anglican Ordinariate. It is jarring to hear Cranmer and Cloverdale's poetic English, then some modern, inclusive translation of the Bible. Grating.
But as the KJV marks its 400th birthday this year, some Christian scholars are hoping to spark interest in a new Bible translation capable of attaining the KJV’s cultural authority, poetic power and theological depth.

Chief among them is David Lyle Jeffrey, a professor of literature and humanities at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and an expert on the KJV.
“The celebration of the KJV has made us realize that there is a job to be done to create something of similar anchoring value for readers of the Bible in English,” he said.

Most of the Bible translations crowding American bookstores lack the KJV’s gravitas and spiritual substance, Jeffrey said, and their sheer variety fractures Christian unity.

The need for the KJV itself was prompted by a related situation, Jeffrey argues in a forthcoming book, The King James Bible and the World It Made.

In King James’ England, the Bishops’ Bible, favoured by Anglicans, prevailed in churches, while the Puritan-preferred Geneva Bible was read in homes. Dissonances between the two versions sowed theological doubts and divisions. Hoping to paper over those divides (and supersede the anti-monarchical Geneva Bible) King James seized on the idea of a new, unifying Bible.

“One could be forgiven for thinking that a similar case for a common Bible in English is far stronger now than it was then,” Jeffrey writes.

Jeffrey and other scholars acknowledged, though, that such a task would be difficult.

“Another translation could be created, but it would never have the cultural uniqueness and authority that the KJV had,” said Timothy Larsen, a Wheaton scholar and author of a book about the KJV’s influence on the Victorian era. “Too many choices would have to be made.”

Go on over to the PM and read the rest!

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