Monday, 31 January 2011

Crystal Radio - on Tyndale, Idiom and the KJV

Today on New York's WNYC public radio 'Begat' author Dr David Crystal speaks to station host Brian Lehrer about the impact of Tyndale's idiom - 'as popularised in the King James Bible'.

For his latest research project, Crystal counted the number of current idioms which can be traced back to the King James Bible. Answer: 257 - as compared with only 100 in the whole of Shakespeare...

But few of the 257 originated 'by committee'...

To find out more, listen to the broadcast by clicking on the podcast icon below.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices

Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices is the title of the current exhibition at the British Library which should be a must for Tyndale Society members interested in the development of our language. Needless to say Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament is on display, alongside other iconic religious texts.

The British Library describes this as ‘the first ever exhibition exploring the English language in all its national and international diversity... This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and hear the English language in all its forms, from 5th century runes to 21st century youth-speak’.

Audio ‘exhibits’ of great twentieth century speeches can be heard in between viewing such priceless manuscripts as the only early copy of Beowulf and Caxton’s printing of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

The exhibition is open daily until the 3rd of April and admission is FREE.

There is also an entertaining online quiz for those who can't make it to London for a visit.

Brian Buxton

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Gone but not forgotten!

I'm currently reading a book on unsung heroes and uncredited visionaries of science, and the following paragraph reminded me of you know who!

"In truth, the vision which is carved in stone cannot be ruined. There it remains. Let those who study and devise their twisting way plot. Plan, scheme, bend and turn. None will stop the day. The bright sapphire, a pure night vision, remains. Starpoints in the great radiant blackness, from which come all things. The dream seas surge, asking no permissions and giving gifts liberally. In a land not far off, where dreams and dreamers walk as one, there the love reigns, and waits."

Gerry Vassilatos
Pubs.: Borderland Sciences Research Foundation

Neil L. Inglis, Editor, TSJ

Friday, 21 January 2011

The bookend of the publishing era?

A few days ago I went into a well-known books and records chain in Washington DC; funereal atmosphere, few if any customers, dwindling choice, Peter Frampton concert videos and other inventory nobody wants.

Hard-copy publication really is a dying business model, and nobody loves bookstores more than I do! The reason I bring up this topic is--what does this mean for us? The Tyndale Society is an organization about books in various forms, and the future of the book seems uncertain.

Neil Inglis
Editor, TSJ

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Tyndale's new lease of 'Everlasting Life' at Economist

Thanks to Books & Arts Editor Flammetta Rocco at The Economist, for flagging up The Tyndale Society's forthcoming Ohio conference...

"it’s the story of the King James Version of the Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary on May 2nd, that is likely to provide the greatest spread of cultural events (in 2011).

Produced during the lifetime of William Shakespeare and John Donne, it has long been viewed as the most elegantly written and poetic of the many English translations, and has given the language some of its best-known phrases: “lamb to the slaughter”, “skin of our teeth”, “chariots of fire”.

The King James, also known as the Authorised Version, remains one of the most frequently used Bibles in the English-speaking world, especially in the United States.

Barack Obama took the oath of office on the same King James Bible that had been used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

Everlasting life

In Britain more than 70 celebratory events are planned, starting with an exhibition at St John’s College, Cambridge, and including lectures, reading marathons, symposia, concerts and conferences as far afield as Plymouth and Aberdeen.

The Royal Mail will bring out a series of commemorative stamps and the BBC plans to broadcast a one-hour documentary.

Oxford University Press, which has published King James Bibles since the 17th century, will bring out a 1,520-page special quatercentenary edition.

Houston Baptist University’s Dunham Bible Museum kicks off the celebrations in America. Further events will follow in, among other places, Kentucky, Louisiana and Columbus, where a conference at Ohio State University (in collaboration with The Tyndale Society) will study the enduring literary and cultural influence of the King James Bible on writers such as William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

More Scriptures from the Stars released...

23 Further episodes in the BBC's audio series to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible have now been released in Podcast form as follows:

To listen to these audio recordings simply click on the blue episode titles below (each podcast opens in a new window).

Introduced by author Kamila Shamsie
Toby Stephens reads Moses in the Bulrushes
Henry Goodman reads The Escape of Moses
Niamh Cusack reads Samson and Delilah
Olivia Williams reads Ruth

Introduced by playwright Howard Brenton
Rory Kinnear reads David and Bathsheba
Miriam Margoyles reads Solomon
Hugh Quarshie reads Job
Bill Paterson reads Ecclesiastes

Introduced by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
Adjoa Andoh and Rory Kinnear read The Song of Solomon
Miriam Margoyles reads Daniel
Emma Fielding reads The Birth of Jesus
Samuel West reads The Baptism of Jesus

Introduced by novelist Joanne Harris
Toby Stephens reads The Temptation
Emilia Fox reads Jesus' Miracles
Niamh Cusack reads Death of John The Baptist

Introduced by novelist and columnist Will Self
Dan Stevens reads Entry into Jerusalem
Adjoa Andoh reads The Last Supper
Rory Kinnear reads The Crucifixion
Olivia Williams reads Road to Emmaus

Introduced by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce
Henry Goodman reads Pentecost
Bill Paterson reads Conversion of Paul
Hugh Quarshie reads First Letter to The Corinthians
Hugh Bonneville reads Revelation

Email us by clicking here to let us know what you make of the readings and their introductions - we always welcome your feedback!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Word on the Street - NY Times Talks Tyndale...

Thanks to US-based TSJ author Ramona Garcia, who spotted this gem in this week's New York Times...

"To modern readers, the English of the King James Version sounds archaic, much as Shakespeare does. But there would have been an archaism for readers even in 1611 because the King James Bible draws heavily from a version of William Tyndale’s New Testament published in 1534 and from translations by Miles Coverdale also published in the 1530s.

Tyndale’s aspiration was to make his New Testament accessible to “the boy that driveth the plough.” Though readers often talk about the majesty of the King James Bible, what has made it live is in fact the simplicity of its language.

Scholars have often debated just how much the King James Bible has influenced the English language. They count the number of idioms — “the powers that be,” for instance — that entered the language from the Bible. They look at how often it’s cited in the Oxford English Dictionary.

T. S. Eliot and C. S. Lewis deplored the idea of considering the secular literary or linguistic influence of the King James Bible. Eliot said it had such a profound effect because it was “the Word of God.” Lewis went further. He argued that the King James Bible had little influence on the rhythms of English and that many of the Bible’s characteristic rhythms were simply “unavoidable in the English language.”

But Lewis missed the point. The King James Bible has had an enormous impact on English for the very reason that it captures and preserves — and communicates down through the centuries — the unavoidable rhythms of good English. Its words are almost never Latinate, and its rhythms are never hampered by the literalism that afflicts other translations.

It would have been so easy to get that wrong, to let scholarship overwhelm common sense, to let theology engulf plainness. We owe an enormous debt to William Tyndale’s imaginary plowboy."

To read the full piece online click here.

Scripture from Brit Stars of Stage and Screen...

Today the BBC has broadcast a series of Bible readings recorded by British stars of stage and screen. To listen online, just click on the podcast icons below (podcast files open in new windows).

The distinguished readers include:

Samuel West (winner of the London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for 'Hamlet'). West begins the series of readings with some of the most well known stories from the Book of Genesis - the Creation, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. With an introduction by the historian, Simon Schama.

Emilia Fox (star of the BBC's 'Silent Witness' who began her TV career playing Mr Darcy's sister Georgiana in 'Pride and Prejudice' and went on to play Jane Seymour in 'Henry VIII') reads the dramatic story of Noah and the Ark.
With an introduction by the historian, Simon Schama.

Dan Stevens (star of 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Downton Abbey'). Stevens reads from the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Introduction by the historian, Simon Schama.

Hugh Bonneville (veteran of The National Theatre and RSC and BAFTA nominated for his role as the young John Bayley in 'Iris'). Bonneville reads from the stories of Abraham and Isaac and the birth of Isaac’s children Jacob and Esau, who fought even in their mother’s womb. With an introduction by author David Lodge.

Emma Fielding (fellow veteran of The National and RSC and winner of a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut performance in 'Private Lives'). Fielding reads from the story of Joseph and his multi-coloured coat with an introduction by author David Lodge.

Email us by clicking here to let us know what you make of the readings and their introductions - we are always keen to receive your feedback.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Tyndale set to save Anne Boleyn

The nation's much-loved portrait of Anne Boleyn is in dire need of a medieval makeover...

Custodians The National Portrait Gallery have raised the alarm after discovering the dire straits of this picture - with vertical cracking across the panel causing paint-loss.

The painting has had to be removed from public view until £4000 can be raised to pay for vital conservation work.

The Gallery has already raised £1096 during the first three weeks of the appeal.

To help them achieve their target The Tyndale Society will make a contribution for every copy of Howard Brenton's 'Anne Boleyn' which we sell to our Members and Friends in our New Year Special Offer.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Top billing at last - thanks to Beeb's Jim Naughtie

Thanks be to James Naughtie of BBC Radio 4 for his morning broadcast today on 'The Story of the King James Bible'.

The following passages were recorded in the Chapel at Hertford College Oxford - home to The Tyndale Society - in front of the famous Whitefriars window image of William Tyndale:

"Tyndale revolutionised English as a language. It is as big as that. He changed the way the English spoke and thought.

"It is extraordinary and one of the great mysteries of this story that a man in his late 20s, early 30s, in a garret on the continent, on the run, hunted by the establishment, eventually dying as a martyr for translation could do this.

"The whole story of The Bible in English is unthinkable without him."

To listen to the entire broadcast (available on BBC iPlayer for the next six days) click here.

(Note: Fast forward to 2.06 to skip the news broadcast at the beginning of the recording)

Thank you Radio 4!