BBC Radio 4, to which I seem to be developing a clinical addiction, is running two series of programmes to mark the 400-year anniversary of the King James Bible. Last week James Naughtie presented three_programmes that looked at the historical background of the King James Bible (and didn’t commit a single spoonerism), and this week there are some readings from various passages, introduced by people ranging from David Lodge to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The readings themselves are excellent: Samuel West has God sounding genuinely angry when he casts Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. I must say I think the idea of the 17th-century translators’ genius in writing such beautiful prose can be overdone (some of what strikes us as poetic, elegant style and imagery would have been ordinary turns of phrase at the time), but there’s no doubting that the King James Bible was and is a hugely influential translation.

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