Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Visual History of the English Bible

Donald Blake's new book A Visual History of the English Bible is not only a gorgeous book but it is a stimulating history of the English Bible. Blake surveys the major English Bibles from Wycliffe to the TNIV. Beautiful illustrations are replete throughout and the personal anecdotes of the author's acquisitions of first editions and rare Bibles offer a uniquely personal touch. I especially enjoyed the discussion of the King James Version and the problems surrounding its original publication and the various editorial changes through the years. The discussion of Bible translations starts off fairly neutral but then seems to end up favoring the word-for-word style of translation. A chart provides a comparison of the the major English Bibles with the author's evaluation. Some may question how the KJV rates a "good" on "clarity of reading" which is the same evaluation given for the NASB, Good News Translation, TNIV and other contemporary translations. But this is only a minor quirk compared to the wealth of what this volume offers. This would be a great gift for any pastor or someone with an interest in the English Bible.

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