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Home » » Discuss the influence of the translation of the Bible on the development of prose

In the development of Elizabethan prose, the Translation of the Bible or the Authorized Version of the Bible had a great influence. The task of translation was completed by the order of King James I in 1611. The need for a standard text was left at Hampton court in 1604. King James I was present at the conference and approved the project of translating the Bible. Forty-seven scholars were appointed for the task. They were divided into six companies, each receiving a certain portion of the Bible for translation. And each company revised the work of its fellow translators. The task began in 1607 and was completed in 1611. The Authorized Version became the most dominating prose work and the greatest of English translations. 

The important features of the Authorized Version are described below: 

Firstly, it is an actual translation work. The translators acknowledged in the preface to their work that their task was “to make a good one better or out of many good ones, one principal good one.” In other words, their task was one of selection and correction. Sometimes they relied on old fashioned style. As a result Hallam says, “it is not the English of Danie! or Bacon.” It abounds in “The old Testament, in obsolete phraseology”. However, the power and beauty of the Authorized Version or 1611 version, was acceptable and inevitable. The artistic beauty of the translation work was praiseworthy. 

Secondly, it is notable for its diversity. One can best appreciate the vastness, the variety and complexity of the Bible. It is not a single book but a complete literature or even two literatures. Because here we find that The New Testament is separated from The Old Testament. The different books of the Bible were composed at different times, and many hands worked at them. Their efforts resulted in a collection of literature-expository, narrative and lyrical. 

Thirdly, the Unity of the Work, The Bible is a collection of different Literary elements, In spite of diversity of sources, it has a remarkable uniformity. The core and substance is the belief and delight in the divine spirit. For the literary style, it owes to Tyndale and Miles Coverdale who abo translated the Bible, Before them Wycliff translated the Bible and he also influenced them. However from cover to cover it is firm, clear, simple, dignified and thoroughly English.

Fourthly, The Expository Portion of the Bible: From literary point of View, the expository point that contain advice, information etc. are of least importance, But in bulk they are considerable. They include “Book of Deuteronomy” in The Old Testament, The narration is expressed with Clearness, dignity and precision, 

Fifthly, the narrative portion: The narrative portions of the Bible are also bulk, but they are of a great interest and value. Stories from The Old Testament and The New Testament are depicted here. It seems that the narrative came under the influence of the Greek. However, the narrative portion was scholarly and liberal. 

Sixthly. Lyrical portion: The lyrical portions include psalms, song, the book of Job etc. This portion of the Bible has become important as literature, because of their emotional and rhythmic quality. The translation of the Bible was rhythmic like the old English poetry. The similes and metaphors are also used to express the emotions and feedings. There are descriptions about heavens, running waters and wild animals. In other words, the emotions are mystically and rapturously expressed. 

Lastly and finally, The Influence of the Bible: The English Bible has been a great influence on English literature, The poetical and proverbial nature of the translation have been expressed beautifully in the translation work of the Bible. Expressions from the Bible like a “broken reed”, “the eleventh hour”, “the thorn in the flesh”, ‘ta good samaritan”, “Sweat of Brow”, etc. have been widely used in English language. The style of the Bible also influenced the contemporary writers of the Elizabethan Age and the influence was all for the good. The simplicity, the dignity, and the elevation of the translation work of the Bible was followed by the writers in the succeeding ages. Bunyan, Bacon, Milton, Ruskin, Macaulay and Tennyson are some of the important writers in whom we apparently find the influence of the Bible. 

In conclusion it can be said that the translation of the Bible gave grace to the speech of unlettered and it entered into the style of the most ambitious writers. God Almighty brought the Bible from Heaven to the learned churchman and the Authorized Version brought the Bible from the learned churchmen to the ordinary people. 


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