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Friday, February 04, 2011

KUDOS TO THE KING JAMES VERSION !!! - A Review of Leland Ryken’s “The Legacy of the King James Bible”

Kudos To The KJV !!

A review of

Leland Ryken The Leagcy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010) $15.99 265 pp ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-1388-6

Reviewer: Forrest Wayne Schultz

     A lifetime of scholarship in English literature and Bible translation has led Leland Ryken to become an ardent admirer of the King James Version both as a translation and as a work of literature. Ryken has honed his writing skills, which he has used to author a number of important books which, like the Bible itself, are readable both by laymen and scholars. Therefore it is not surprising that Crossway chose Ryken to write a volume celebrating the Quadricentennial of the KJV. Yes, is is now 400 years old: 1611 + 400 = 2011 !

     The purpose of the book is to show: (1). how and why the KJV became an excellent translation and literary work; (2). the nature of this excellence; and (3). how the KJV influenced the religion, Bible translation, language, education, culture, and literature of English speaking peoples. As the author indicates, this book is to be regarded as a summary. Each chapter recommends several books for further reading, to which could be added some of the works mentioned in the footnotes.
As in his previous writings, Ryken contrasts the essentially literal translation methodology of the King James Version with the dynamic equivalence method (used in such modern translations as the NIV), explaining the inferiority of the latter. He also contrasts the modern versions which sound like newspapers with the language of the KJV, which uses ordinary English words to produce a work of elegance and majesty.

     The Afterword sums up the great harm produced by the turn away from the KJV to the plethora of modern inferior translations. In light of what great historians like Toynbee and Spengler have shown, such decadence is the not-to-be-unexpected expected result of The Decline of The West, something which Ryken surprisingly fails to mention.

     In what Ryken does say I am in agreement except for his failure to see the erroneousness of the Westcott & Hort Theory, which turned away from the Textus Receptus, an egregious blunder which is both out of accord with the data and in violation of the Doctrine of the Providential Preservation of the Biblical Text set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Aside from that, I recommend Ryken's book.

     Martin Selbrede recently called upon Christians to strive for excellence, using Bach as an example in music. I agree and would suggest we use the KJV as our example in literature.


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