Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Book Review: A Time To Dance

With this year being the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible (also know as the Authorised Version), there have been a range of books, lectures and events tying in with the celebrations. One of my colleagues, Stanley Gamble, has also got in on the act with his publication A Time To Dance, published by Slieve Croob Press.

Stanley's aim is simple, to provide an introduction to the King James Version, and explaining some of the background to the history of the new translation. In five short chapters, he takes the reader through the accession of James I, the Hampton Court Conference, the translation process, the way in which the KJV built on earlier translations, before pausing to consider some of the beauty of the more famous passages of Scripture as rendered in the version.

There were some useful points to consider, including the political reasons why James wanted a less seditious edition, and some of the translation decisions which were made (perhaps for the worse, rather than the better, given the enduring legacy of the KVJ - e.g. using the word 'church' rather than 'congregation' or 'assembly'). There are also moments of humour, with some insightful and witty stories giving moments of light relief.

Alongside the chapters, there are a couple of appendices: the confession of James I, and also the dedication of the KJV translators to the king. These were interesting, as they helped us to hear from the main players themselves, describing in their own words their purpose and faith.

Perhaps the only disappointment was that the book was so short! Over the 90 pages, the font is fairly large, and it would have been nice to see more detail in some of the sections, and to have some more analysis of the whole process. But, given Stanley's aim, I think he has achieved his goal, to provide an introduction to the KJV. As such, I commend his effort, and recommend the book! A Time To Dance is available from Lulu. No, not the singer!

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