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Books Read in 2017-2018 > King James Bible

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Jun 27, 2018 06:27AM) (new)

Loretta | 3979 comments Mod
As you alll know, our classical group reads classical literature. With that being said a member of our group said they were reading The King James Bible and would anyone like to join in, sort of like a "buddy read". Because of its Classical and historical nature I felt it significant enough to be read as such in our group, however, a disclaimer of sorts was also necessary.

It is not my intention to have any controversial dialogue regarding this selection nor to offend anyone's sensitivities or religious beliefs. I hope you can except the "buddy read" in light of its antiquity and historical parameters.

I understand that we all have different religious beliefs and maybe some of us may not believe at all but one cannot discredit the book's Classical and historical significance.

I'll be setting up threads later this afternoon.

Thanks members.

message 2: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments For those interested in the development of the KJV and its influence on the English language I would highly recommend reading the chapters "God's English" and "William Tyndale's Bible" in the book The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

message 3: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments I liked this article of Christopher Hitchens praising the KJV as a great work of English literature: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/20...

Also, these two articles that provide commentary to the above article are interesting: "Christopher Hitchens was right about the King James Bible" https://www.circeinstitute.org/blog/c... and "Atheist Christopher Hitchens Writes Love Letter to the King James Bible" https://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...

[Note: below is copy and pasted from Atlantic article "Atheist Christopher Hitchens Writes Love Letter to the King James Bible" by ELEANOR BARKHORN]

"Christopher Hitchens has made no secret of his disdain for religion. The central argument of his 2007 book God Is Not Great was: "Religion poisons everything."

"Nevertheless, in the May issue of Vanity Fair, Hitchens concedes that religion has made at least one positive contribution to society: The King James Bible. He says the language and imagery in this translation of the Bible is unrivaled by any other work of literature, except for maybe Shakespeare:

""A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it "relevant" is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare. "Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward," says the Book of Job. Want to try to improve that for Twitter? And so bleak and spare and fatalistic—almost non-religious—are the closing verses of Ecclesiastes that they were read at the Church of England funeral service the unbeliever George Orwell had requested in his will: "Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home. ... Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. / Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was."""

message 4: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments For me I think that Seneca's comment in Letters from a Stoic on a good way to read and get stuff out of the works of Homer can apply to reading the Bible as literature.

[Quote below taken from the following website]


"6. It is no more to the point, of course, for me to investigate whether Homer or Hesiod was the older poet, than to know why Hecuba, although younger than Helen,[6] showed her years so lamentably. What, in your opinion, I say, would be the point in trying to determine the respective ages of Achilles and Patroclus? 7. Do you raise the question, "Through what regions did Ulysses stray?" instead of trying to prevent ourselves from going astray at all times? We have no leisure to hear lectures on the question whether he was sea-tost between Italy and Sicily, or outside our known world (indeed, so long a wandering could not possibly have taken place within its narrow bounds); we ourselves encounter storms of the spirit, which toss us daily, and our depravity drives us into all the ills which troubled Ulysses. For us there is never lacking the beauty to tempt our eyes, or the enemy to assail us; on this side are savage monsters that delight in human blood, on that side the treacherous allurements of the ear, and yonder is shipwreck and all the varied category of misfortunes.[7] Show me rather, by the example of Ulysses, how I am to love my country, my wife, my father, and how, even after suffering shipwreck, I am to sail toward these ends, honourable as they are. 8. Why try to discover whether Penelope was a pattern of purity,[8] or whether she had the laugh on her contemporaries? Or whether she suspected that the man in her presence was Ulysses, before she knew it was he? Teach me rather what purity is, and how great a good we have in it, and whether it is situated in the body or in the soul."

message 5: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments I found this podcast featuring Biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman very interesting. I do want to point out that both speakers are not Christians, and that Sam Harris comes across as antagonistic towards Christianity (i.e. Christians in the group may find some content offensive), but I think that it offers interesting ideas in regards to the formation of the New Testament.

Additionally, I think that the methods of scholarship that are discussed in the podcast could be applied to other texts as well (for example, the book After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age seems to apply methods discussed in the podcast to Buddhist texts).

Overall, I think that the podcast has a lot to offer in terms of history, literary scholarship, and theology.


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