Monday, February 15, 2016

Empty Attacks On The King James Bible

A lot of people I know are disparaging the King James Bible, calling it a huge distortion of the texts it purportedly translates, and a cynical political project designed to support King James and monarchy in general. So? So for all I know both of the points might be valid, but I don't think that most of the people repeating those points can back them up. At all.

I don't mind you criticizing something -- if you know what you're talking about. If you don't, you're not really criticizing, you're just parroting talking points.

They say that the KJV was deliberately altered in thousands of places --

and they don't name any of those places.

Let's say for the sake of argument that they're absolutely right. Imagine that one of the most ardent and cynical of the supporters of James was also a Biblical scholar, and one of the creators of the King James Version of the Bible, and that he positively cackled with evil glee as he distorted the Bible into a piece of royal propaganda. Say that he was a relatively young man when the King James Bible was completed in 1611, and was still in England in 1649.

Imagine how he must have felt, seeing all of those Puritans led by Cromwell, thumping and quoting the King James Bible as they deposed, arrested, tried, convicted and executed James' son, King Charles. If the KJV was designed as a tool of royal propaganda -- and I'm not saying it wasn't, I'm just admitting that I don't know -- then at the moment of Charles' beheading it must have seemed a particularly ineffective tool.

Or when all those American readers of the KJV revolted in 1776 and in the next few years threw off royal control altogether.

Now at this point, some of the people I'm complaining about here, who call the KJV a gross mistranslation and a cynical tool of royal propaganda, will do something else which particularly irks me: they'll insist that the leaders of the American Revolution were hardly Christian at all, and/or that they objected to the KJV because it distorted the original texts in a pro-monarchial manner. And I KNOW that's bullshit. Anyway, back here on Earth, the supposedly extremely pro-royal King James Bible was, in fact, read by just about everyone in the British colonies who could read English, and it doesn't seem to have been pro-royal enough to have stopped the Revolution. Was the difference between Tory and Patriot a greater love for the King James Bible? Well -- no.

There are lots and lots of nuts today in the US who insist that the King James Version is the only valid version of the Bible -- I can't imagine what these people think when they think about the parts of the world where people's native language isn't English. Like the tens of millions of people in the US whose native languages is Spanish. Material for another blog post, perhaps -- but these fanatical supporters of the KJV don't seem to be calling for a monarchy in the US, other than that of the King of Kings, of course.

Now of course the ineffectiveness of a strategy does not prove that that strategy doesn't exist, and I haven't proven that the KJV wasn't designed as royal propaganda. As I said: maybe it was. But all of these people I know haven't proven to me that it was. And I think that the great majority of them are a few years' worth of intensive study of Hebrew and Greek away from beginning to be able to prove it to me.

In the meantime, if they could make this case by quoting some arguments culled from the works of some Biblical scholars -- scholars whom they name, and quote verbatim, naming the books or articles and the pages which contain those quotes -- well, that would be a huge improvement over what they're doing now. That might even be enough to start a discussion in which I'd like to take part.

1 comment:

  1. Either way, the big boss clearly had a hand, or should I say a signature, in the KJV Bible. To see it for yourself, go to and click on the yellow flashing words "Watch/Listen" that are located in the first paragraph. Be sure that your audio is active.