Around 85 per cent of the Authorised Version comes from Tyndale, whose muscular poetry he describes as “bitten into our tongue”. Tyndale gave us so many enduring phrases: “let there be light”, “a man after his own heart”, “rise and shine”, “filthy lucre”. But even by the KJB’s time some of this language had what Bragg acknowledges to be “a halo of antiquity”. The verilys were already quaint.Orwell too was a great fan of using short and simple words whenever possible. And as for elitism, I for one think that we have far too little of it!
Many Christians today use more modern translations: surely as democratising in their clarity as Tyndale was in his. I poll my friends and find that the practising Christians use modern translations – arguing that the King James Bible is “elitist and exclusive” – while defence of the KJB comes from my secular, literary friends.
This event was marred by a continuous noise of background music from somewhere in Charlotte Square behind the tent. Bragg himself mentioned it during his talk. Someone from the Festival should have gone outside and sorted it immediately. Perhaps such an action would be seen as elitist! Well, that's what we were paying for.