Donald L. Brake quantifies the legacy of this remarkable tome's unique place in history. The 1611 King James Version is the cornerstone and linchpin for all subsequent English translations. He vividly portrays the quality of this seventeenth-century translation as that of precision, enchantment, and passion of a sacred book that has shaped human history for more than two thousand years. He recounts details that emphasize its use of a metric style and rhythm generating a lyrical masterpiece with a compelling resonance for public reading.
The KJV's mastery of English expression and its seemingly endless staying power is unparalleled among modern versions. Using thorough comparisons of editions and versions, the author has researched the KJV with the goal of an honest and reasoned approach to the ever-debated value of the popular, but outdated Authorized Version.
Brake's study prompted him to do a worldwide census of surviving 1611 "He" Bibles (identified from Ruth 3:15: ." . . and he went into the city."). His purpose was to establish a pedigree of sorts by recording for each copy an exhaustive description eliminating much of the risk of confusion in identifying the nearly 200 extant copies. He cautions that the value of any original KJV depends on a positive identification of authenticity.
Brake's work confirms the premise that the literary merits and conscientious translation of a seventeenth-century book has profound twenty-first century relevance.
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