Abstract and Keywords
For the past several centuries, the King James Bible has been lauded as one of the greatest of English prose compositions, but its initial reception was much cooler. Indeed, seventeenth-century readers seem to have made no comment at all on its literary style. The few critical responses that survive focus on matters of accuracy in translation. Yet there was widespread interest in the Bible itself as literature (to use an anachronistic phrase). This chapter explores the KJB in an attempt to describe its prose style (or styles), situating it within the very different prevailing prose styles of the seventeenth century, based largely on the Latin prose studied in schools. Though there are glimmers of KJB influence on style earlier in the seventeenth century, it is only much later, in Bunyan, for example, that the KJB begins to shape English prose writing.
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