It happened today - May 2, 2016

James I was a bum. Seriously. An ambitious, weird, self-destructive schemer dangerous to liberty and founder of the worst dynasty in English history. But the man could sure commission a Bible.

The high point of his reign and, IMHO, his entire existence on this earth was the King James Version of the Bible, first printed in London on May 2 of 1611. Only Shakespeare can rival it and, in my opinion, for sheer power and beauty of language even he falls short.

I do not put this forward as a theological judgement. To be quite honest it’s the only version I’ve ever read much of, partly because all the others are so dismally flat by comparison that they hurt my ears even when read silently. And you should read it too.

Consider only that Martin Luther King Jr. could never have risen to the rhetorical heights he did without being steeped in its prose. If indeed it is prose; it might more properly be described as poetry despite not rhyming, so amazingly supple, evocative, direct and subtle it is. Verily I say unto you that to improve your own writing, speech and even reading thou shalt give it a try at least once.

There’s no telling what else you’ll find in there, of course. And even in this brilliant rendition parts of the Old Testament rather drag on. I have no need to know that an ephah is the tenth part of an omer unless it’s the other way around. (It is: Exodus 16:36 says “Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah”. At least in the King James version. The International Standard plunks down “Now one omer is a tenth of an ephah.” You see? The KJV breathes life even into this tedious and puzzling interpolation in the story of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, right before Moses smote a rock with his rod or, in other versions, probably hit it with his stick.) But I promise it’s worth reading.

So on this one occasion I tip my hat to King James. Before planting it firmly back on my head and thumbing my nose at him.