Saturday, 27 August 2011

Melvyn Bragg

This morning we went along to hear Melvyn Bragg on the King James Bible. Bragg spent a lot of time talking about the use of short Anglo-Saxon words, often from Tyndale:
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.

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.

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!

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.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Colin Finlay
beneficiaries, of course.

4 September 2011, 09:26:37 GMT+01:00
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Colin Finlay
Edward Spalton is surely correct in his view of the demotic corruption of a fine hymn.  
Why didn't the revision committee simply provide, for those fortunate British beneficaries of vast expenditure on 'Education', the most basic version it, viz., the one supplied in Pidgin, by American Evangelicals, to the (erstwhile?) savages of Papua New Guinea?

4 September 2011, 09:24:53 GMT+01:00
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Edward Spalton
Too right about elitism, that man!  
In the Church of England, dumbing down was relentlessly pushed from on high by the encouragement of modern translations and the supplanting of the Book of Common Prayer for happier, clappier liturgies.. The heresy hunt for thees and thous extended to hymns too, My all time favourite, crass modernisation to date is in "Eternal Father strong to save" where  
"O hear us when we cry to Thee  
For those in peril on the sea"  
"O hear us when we cry to you  
For those who sail the ocean blue".  
As executor, I recently sorted through the effects of a traditionalist clergyman and found a very concise, interesting book "The Story of the Prayer Book" (i.e. Book of Common Prayer. It was published in 1949. On the last page, the reverend authors came this conclusion.  
"We can no longer talk about "our incomparable liturgy". But we have no need to be ashamed of it, or to apologize for it. It provides us with a series of services entirely Scriptural in character and content: indeed it is the large amount of Scripture in the Church service which most causes it to be unintelligible to the general public; for we have to face the fact that the net result of seventy years' universal state -controlled education ios that most men are far less intelligent than their grandfathers were......"  
Right on, man!

30 August 2011, 09:31:24 GMT+01:00