Monday, April 4, 2011

"Version" is My Favorite Word in a Bible's Title

I just finished reading a great column by Christopher Hitchens over at Vanity Fair.  The focus is on the process of putting together, as well as the subsequent impact of publishing, the King James version (KJV) of the Bible.  I highly recommend reading the column, particularly for Hitchens' reminders of how some things were included, while others were exclude, and some translations were legitimate, and other a little less so. 

I have found that "version" has become something of a talisman for me, when I hear Christianists talk about the "inerrant Word of God."  I generally cannot help but ask which "version" of the Bible that Christianist was using to make that statement.  It's also a reminder, and Hitchens helped me to remember this, that the KJV is a fascinating work of literature, a mixture of history, fiction and allegory.  I've read parts of that version over the years, but I've never really committed to going through the whole thing (maybe one day).  And even I can admit that it's jarring to read modern translations that many people read today.  There is in fact a majesty to the KJV, that modern translations strip from the text (Hitchens offers great examples in his columns).

Though I am not an atheist, I do appreciate the atheist's knowledge of the various religions.  I also find fascinating conversation in those religious folks who actually have studied world religions.  I have little to no patience for a fundamentalist of any sect.  Sadly, most of them would likely miss the very point of the column.

1 comment:

Micheal Sisco said...

Free: Great topic ... as an amateur god-virologist, I find it fascinating (in an amused kind of way) the evangelical notion of the inerrant word of god ... Hitchens is always a riot to read ... one can almost feel the scorn on the page ... Might I also suggest Bart D. Ehrman as well ... "Misquoting Jesus," "Jesus Interrupted," "Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene" are all fantastic reads .. he gives a wonderful insight into the formation of the early christian church ... I've always wanted to see the publication of an "undisputed" bible ... publishing the texts that are of unquestionable authorship and free of scribal additions, ommissions and what not ... I'd bet we'd be surprised at how short such a book would be ...