This book is about the creation of the King James Bible, but has some interesting insights on authority, ecclesiology, and history. The King James Bible, also known as the Authorized Version was begun soon after King James IV of Scotland assumed the British throne as James I in 1603. The author profiles the translators and describes the Jacobean world in which the translation was made. I wish to highlight an item, and focus on an important justice issue that caught my attention; justice, though, is not a central topic in the book, the main theme is that of English translators creating a Bible, balancing opposite world views and combining majesty and simplicity.
Begun in 1604, the translation arose and was influenced by a culture in change and conflict; “It is the product of its time and bears the marks of its making.” “It is a deeply political book,” the author notes in the introduction. There existed antagonistic divisions between Catholics and the Church of England; there were the disputes of radical separatists and the Puritans within the Church of England; there was a new sense of rationalism challenging the traditional and ceremonial in the church, as well as competing with its authority; there arose new ideas of the relationship of the individual and the community to the state and church. It was an era that began to assert the sovereignty of the individual over the sovereignty of the state or church. One could say that sovereignty was moving toward being primarily a matter between the believer and his (or her?) Bible. "The Jacobean period [1603- 1625] was held in the grip of an immense struggle: Between the demands for freedom of the individual conscience and the need for order and an imposed inheritance: between monarchy and democracy; between extremism and toleration"(p. xiii).