Whose Bible is it anyway? A discussion on the King James version

After all the celebrations for the poetry and power of the King James Version, I chaired a rather more revisionist public panel discussion for the Royal Shakespeare Company on March 9th. In the atmospheric setting of the Stationers’ Hall,¬†off Ludgate Hill, where the translation was completed 400 years ago, Canon Dr Giles Fraser of St Paul’s Cathedral was keen to dismiss¬†the nostalgia of ex-public schoolboys for school assembly recitations. He subsequently¬†did a Thought for the¬†Day on March 22nd¬†drawn from our discussion about whether¬†the¬†KJB, like the Midsomer Murders row,¬†was linked to nostalgia for a pre-multicultural Britain.¬†Atheist playwright and self-styled “lefty”¬†David Edgar brought the perspective of a writer, working on his own play about the creation of the KJB.¬† Dr Peter McCullough presented a detective’s investigation, intriguing even as he de-romanticised the writing of it and how¬†many of its most memorable phrases came from earlier translations, notably the Geneva Bible.¬† Only Professor Ralph Williams was more romantic¬†and passionate¬†about the influence on Shakespeare.

At 1 hour and 12 minutes in there’s an interesting discussion about the power of Biblical oratory contrasting Martin Luther King and President Obama. ¬†And I managed to call the only Canadian panellist an American. But he showed Christian forgiveness and turned the other cheek.

Thank you to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the meeja-people at St Paul’s Cathedral for the invitation to be involved and putting it all on YouTube.

Further reading:

A blog summary of the event: http://www.atomies.org/public-lectures-miscellaneous.html

About samiraahmed

Journalist. Writer. Broadcaster.
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