Power and Glory: Jacobean England and the Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson - review by Robert Chandler

Robert Chandler

The Right Word

Power and Glory: Jacobean England and the Making of the King James Bible

By

HarperCollins 281pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' could well have served as an epigraph to this book. Adam Nicolson writes eloquently about the degree to which James's England was a 'kingdom of the word'. On the frontispiece to his collected works the King is portrayed standing beside a table on which lies a book titled Erbum Dei, and he was said to sleep with the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes under his pillow. Andrewes himself, a High Church bishop and perhaps the most important of the Translators who produced the King James Bible, could hold an audience for an hour while discussing the variant meanings of a single word. And when Laurence Chaderton, a moderate Puritan leader and also one of the Translators. once paused two hours into a sermon, an entire Cambridge congregation shouted, 'For God's sake go on!'.

Words, of course, can both unite and divide - and none more so than the Word of God. It was King James's hope, at a time of religious controversy which eventually led to the English Civil War, that the translation he commissioned in 1604 would be an eirenikon, a thing

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