King James Bible- Gove’s folly   Leave a comment

The first of the signed copies of the King James Bible are now arriving in schools.  I am a little puzzled about who signed them!  Was it Yahweh, James I or Michael Gove?

Actually I don’t think the books are actually signed- not in any earthly way at least.  However a few individuals have paid several hundred thousand pounds to send a premium copy of the 400-year-old translation to about 25000 schools.  There is no doubt that this version of the Bible is a classic piece of literature, the prose and language has defined our culture.  So is Shakespeare, Austen and Conan-Doyle.

I am not sure that those supporting the supply of the Bibles appreciate the literary merit of the translation.  Fifty-odd scholars looked at the Greek and Hebrew transcripts of the Old and New Testaments but seemed to have relied on the “politically correct” existing versions.  Had they gone back to basics or looked at different books then the new version might have been theologically interesting.  Rather than addressing the message the KJV clouds it in wonderful language.  I understand that those backing the Bible issue are in the main Christian and those supporting the initiative are people of faith.

So what good does sending a wonderfully bound bible to every school do?  Well this version is out of copyright so I think rather than one big book to each school, each pupil could have had a personal budget copy.  Better still the money could have improved education sooner than reinforcing religious prejudice with an untouchable relic.  Plenty of useful books could have been purchased for the millions spent on this project.  The KJV can be read on a computer if someone needs it as a reference book.  If they need to read it as a moral indicator then it proves education isn’t working.

In my youth the Gideons came into my secondary (high) school and handed out New Testaments.  When I doubted the Christian faith based on history and an awareness of multitheism, I looked at the reference section in my bible.  The suggested verses were cryptic and the links contrived.  That small red bible helped to reinforce the idea that any message from that work was manufactured.

I am all for recognising mine and my country’s culture but to suggest that this sending of Bibles to schools is other than a religious gesture is inane.  Better still let students really appreciate the vile drivel of the “Christian user’s manual” that way we might have many more realists.


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