Sceptre, £8.99, 370pp £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Book of Books, By Melvyn Bragg
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 21 October 2011
The 400th anniversary of the King James Bible has spawned a shelf of celebrations. Many have relished the evergreen words that the 1611 translators –and their forerunners, above all William Tyndale – brought into our speech and writing.
Naturally, Bragg pays eloquent homage to the literary grandeur of the scriptures that shaped his own outlook.
But this heartfelt and far-reaching tribute makes its special mark in tracing the links between the KJB and revolutions in science, politics and society, from the savants of the Royal Society to Abolitionists and Martin Luther King.
Even many reformers hostile to organised religion (such as Tom Paine) drew inspiration from a "transforming force" whose words have made "our world a better place".
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