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The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism
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The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  176 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The author addresses laypeople and pastors with a concise explanation of the science of textual criticism and refutes the proposition that the King James Version is superior to contemporary translations.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by Baker Academic (first published January 1st 1978)
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Jul 01, 2013 Charlie rated it really liked it
In this critique of the King James Version Only movement, Carson nails the technical issues but perhaps misses his target audience in doing so. Though some proponents of KJVO do engage in strenuous debate over text types, transmission habits, and the like, most people who believe in it do so for much simpler existential reasons. For them, KJVO doctrine offers a simple, practical solution to questions of authority. The lack of attention to these concerns, which receive cursory treatment in the mi ...more
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete DUTRA
Very good and short book. Having been written fifteen and a score years ago, it probably would benefit from a second edition; but it tells something about KJVists (and TRists) that its arguments remain quite convincing, even if some of its opponents can hardly refrain from writing a diatribe per day.

Being short has its drawbacks. White’s book on the same subject has more historical context, and Carson also fails to define a few technical terms he employs; but anyone baffled by them owns himself
Sep 19, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow... I have an even greater respect for Carson after reading this book. He and Tim Keller both are worth emulating in their consistent pursuit of humility, listening and thinking carefully to many sides of an issue and suspending judgment where it's appropriate (but not afraid to state the truth boldly when it's warranted). I came away from this book with a much better understanding of some of the issues behind translation, but probably more importantly, with a much better understanding of how ...more
Joel Mitchell
Jan 17, 2016 Joel Mitchell rated it it was amazing
D. A. Carson lays aside all the bombastic arguments that tend to surround the "KJV Only" debate and logically explains the actual issues that come into play in translating the Bible into English without resorting to "cherry picking" or "ad hominem" arguments. He deals with both textual issues (i.e. the Greek text underlying the New Testament) and other issues (e.g. the contention that the KJV is "more reverent").

This is a "must read" for anyone interested in this topic. The level of the book fa
Thomas Kinsfather
May 30, 2012 Thomas Kinsfather rated it really liked it
If you grew up King James Only, as I did, then this is a must read. Carson writes about a complex and nuanced issue with clarity in language that anyone could grasp. Clear and to the point. THis book helped me to let go of many myths and misunderstandings I had surrounding the King James Bible.
Sep 11, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
This book is very useful introduction to the whole debate over whether or not the King James Version is the best (or, according to some, the only valid) Bible version.

Carson gives very good arguments that this is not the case, that instead, there is a reason why modern translations don't rely on the same set of manuscripts as the KJV, and does a good job of addressing many of the arguments I have commonly seen used by proponents of the King James only view. It's not that hard of a view to refute
Sep 30, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
Excellent, though probably a bit much for a layman. Nonetheless, the topic at hand is of a technical nature, and Carson knows his material well. The age of the book - published in 1973 - doesn't seem to detract from its relevance, however it means Carson doesn't address the claims of more current proponents of KJV onlyism.
Justin Dillehay
Aug 23, 2014 Justin Dillehay rated it liked it
I gave it three stars because I "liked it." I gave it three rather than four or five because even though it was a fine read, James White's "The King James Only Controversy" far outstrips it in value as a guide on this subject. But Carson's work is definitely worth having, and reading at least once (it's only 100 pages long).
Mar 06, 2014 Trevor rated it really liked it
I read this last summer in preparation for my ordination because I got tired of not knowing as much about the KJV as I should. Its a bit dated, and you can tell by Carson talking about the upcoming completion of the NIV translation but informative and brief.
Nov 18, 2011 Jared rated it liked it
Who is this book for: It is worth reading if you are a die hard KJV. If you are anti KJV. And if you don't care either way but would like to know more about Bible translating, and how the NT text has transferred over the last 2000 years. DA Carson does a fantastic job explaining how textual critics go about insuring that we have the most accurate Bible possible. He explains in simple language his position on the KJV debate, and does it inoffensively. Most of all he educates his readers. This alo ...more
Todd Bryant
Sep 04, 2014 Todd Bryant rated it really liked it
Good book with solid information. It is a little outdated for 2014 however. That said, definitely worth the read.
Nov 09, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
This book is a good intro to the subject of manuscripts, specifically in regards to the KJV. Covers transmission errors, manuscript criteria, rules of interpretation and provides a brief history of the KJV background. This provides a good foundation for engaging the KJV only crowd which can be aggressive in attacking modern, more accurate translations. For a more in depth treatment, I'd recommend The King James Only Controversy by James White. For a strong academic treatment of translations and ...more
Christopher  Waugh
Mar 12, 2013 Christopher Waugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: biblical-studies
Thoughtful, erudite and helpful, this short polemic is a great starter for those who wish to begin the study of textual criticism. Carson is somewhat biased in his analysis, but offers a great deal of clarity on the historical flow of textual traditions. All that being said, one can trust the KJV as a sound translation, albeit one must study the Elizabethan vocabulary to understand it. My recommendation is that of the English Standard Version, being a formal equivalence translation, in modern da ...more
May 26, 2015 F rated it really liked it
Interesting, enlightening.
Jan 15, 2014 Vaclav rated it really liked it
a must read not only for those who are KJV only, but for all who want to understand more about the history and theory of translation and the manuscripts for various readings! very good!
Jul 27, 2011 James added it
Carson, a big name in theological studies, is capable of great writing. This work from 1979, however, will not knock your socks off. It is, above all else I believe, fair. Carson intentionally avoids emotive argument and "gotcha" polemic. The book is much more academic than popularly written, but will be the one I recommend to those interested in the English translations debate until I find a better one.
Paul Lawrence
Nov 03, 2010 Paul Lawrence rated it really liked it
A concise and clear picture of the textual criticism of the NT. Combined with simple arguments as to why the KJV is not the only inspired English text for us today, but also why this particular issue should not be a reason to divide the brethren.

An effective argument that for my money settles the "dispute"
Jul 06, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
This book should put the KJV only controversy to rest. Carson convincingly shows how the KJV is based on inferior manuscripts and that modern translation not only can be trusted but many are more accurate than the KJV!
Mike Hyatt
Mar 12, 2013 Mike Hyatt rated it really liked it
Shelves: nt-backgrounds
It is decent. I would recommend James White's "The King James Only Controversy" over this one if you had to choose. This book does a good job of summarizing the various arguments the KJV Only crowd uses.
William Dicks
While this is a good introduction to the problems with the King James Only idea and its underlying manuscripts, I would rather suggest "The King James Only Controversy" by James R. White.
Alex Fardi-turkmani
A clear, concise evaluation of the nature of translation. It is a bit technical in places, but overall it is rather accessible.
Wyatt Houtz
Jan 19, 2013 Wyatt Houtz rated it really liked it
Helpful introduction to KJV debate and a powerful polemic.
Job Dalomba
Jan 06, 2013 Job Dalomba rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Douglas Wilson
Apr 07, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
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D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has been at Trinity since 1978. Carson came to Trinity from the faculty of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he also served for two years as academic dean. He has served as assistant pastor and pastor and has done itinerant ministry in Cana ...more
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