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By / Cambridge University Press / 2011
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Though it is the most important book in the religious life and the culture of the English-speaking world, the King James Bible or Authorised Version of 1611 has never been perfectly represented in print as the translators intended. David Norton's edition, first published in 2005, aims to address two main concerns with the standard editions as currently printed.
First, what we now read as the King James Bible contains numerous deliberate and some accidental changes to the text, and these have been revised to make it more faithful to the King James translators' own decisions as to how it should read. The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible gives the reader as closely as possible the exact text that the King James translators themselves decided on—but which was far from perfectly realised in the first edition.
Second, the presentation of the text—spelling, punctuation, and formatting—may interfere with the clarity with which it speaks to the minds and souls of present-day readers. An important aim of this edition is to give the reader consistent modern spelling and presentation in order to make it easier to read and study than the received text. The modernisation is kept within strict limits: spellings are modernised, but words and grammatical forms are unchanged. Like the spelling, the punctuation of the received text belongs to the eighteenth century and often appears heavy to modern taste. Since the original punctuation is often closer to modern practice, it is usually restored. Finally, the entire text is presented in paragraphs in order to contribute to the overall aim of making the King James Bible as readable and comprehensible as possible without falsifying the essentials of the translators' work.
Thousands of specks of dust have been blown away from the received text in The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, leaving the King James Bible presented with a fidelity to the translators' own work never before achieved, and allowing the most read, heard, and loved book in the English language to speak with new vigour to modern readers.
To learn more about The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, visit our academic blog.
In the Logos edition, The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible is fully integrated with your digital library resources. Verses link to your original language texts, preferred translations, and commentaries, enabling you to perform comprehensive word studies and research.
It is hard to overstate Norton’s achievement: it is a work of colossal and magnificent scholarship and devotion to the text of sacred Scripture. Like a conservationist bringing back to life the colours of a faded and damaged painting, Norton has shed new light on an old treasure.
David Norton is a professor of English at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is the author of The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today (Cambridge, 2011) and his previous publications include A History of the Bible as Literature, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1993; revised and condensed as A History of the English Bible as Literature, 2000) and A Textual History of the King James Bible (Cambridge, 2004), a full account of the history of the text and of the principles on which The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible was made.