Item description for God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (P.S.) by Adam Nicolson...
Overview Nicolson gives a fascinating and dramatic account of the era of the King James Bible and its translation, immersing readers in an age whose greatest monument is not a painting or a building but a book. 16-page insert.
A network of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Bacon; the era of the Gunpowder Plot and the worst outbreak of the plague. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than the country had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between these polarities. This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment "Englishness," specifically the English language itself, had come into its first passionate maturity. The English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own scope than any form of the language before or since. It drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book.This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Citations And Professional Reviews God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (P.S.) by Adam Nicolson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Ingram Advance - 08/01/2005 page 76
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Studio: Harper Perennial
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.02" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.84" Weight: 0.67 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2005
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0060838736 ISBN13 9780060838737 UPC 025986838737
Availability 0 units.
More About Adam Nicolson
Adam Nicolson's books include the New York Times bestseller God's Secretaries, Sea Room, Sissinghurst, and Seamanship. Among his honors are the Somerset Maugham Award, the W. H. Heinemann Prize, and the British Topography Prize; he lives on a farm in Sussex with his wife and their five grown children.
Most important, Adam Nicolson knows as much as can be known now about how the King James Bible was produced. In a scholarly book made to seem easy, Nicolson tells us where the bodies are buried. I have rarely enjoyed any book as much as I enjoy this one. My husband, who does not like ebooks, lent me his paperback to read. Frustrated by occasional diction that I couldn't understand, I downloaded it in hopes that the Kindle dictionary would end the problem. It didn't. I went on reading it anyway.
I say again: this is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in how scriptures and/or committees and/or literature work. There is an old joke that a moose is a horse created by a committee. But if you study the moose, you discover that it is perfectly adapted to its life style. The King James Bible was a work created by a committee and based on earlier translations as well as new translations. What emerged from the often rocky discussions among the Translators (they capitalized their title) is probably the most beautifully worded translation of the Bible that will ever be made. Like the moose, it was made for its own time and place, and it functioned perfectly in its own context.
I sometimes find it necessary to go to other translations to be certain what something means, but the beauty of the KJV makes it essential reading for anybody who expects to understand literature created in the English-speaking universe. If it is useful to understand how the KJV was created, this is the book to read. Even if you don't care how the KJV was created, and you find scripture boring, this is still the book to read. I am, of course, assuming that you have a functional brain. If you don't, then you won't be able to read GOD'S SECRETARIES. That would be a very sad situation.
So buy the book right now, and sit back for one of the most interesting trips you will ever take.
The real thng Feb 20, 2010
For so many people who I think are like me and were raised in a Bible centered Protestant church, this is so revealing and brings to life a revered tome that we took for granted as just being a part of our lives, like the "miracle" of creation itself. O.K. The Bible was a "government document" in a sense. Were the writers inspired? Certainly. Were the writers of the American Constitution inspired? Certainly. It's not magic, it's real human brilliance, or the brilliance of evolution of our societies and of spiritual life, and more. This book really got me thinking and helped me to grow up out of the dusty church basement where I was tested on my ability to memorize verses from the Bible. Thank God for historians who work so hard to chronicle the life of the human species. It's amazing.
Well Writen History May 2, 2009
Most KJV books are written from a purely religious perspective. "God's Secretaries" is written from a primarily secular point of view. The early 1600's was indeed a pivotal period for England, the Church, and western culture. Instead of focusing solely on King James, the Bible, or the Church, Adam Nicolson focuses on how the historic events of the early 1600's produced a Bible version that has transcended it's time.
This is not a "Christian" work, but is a secular, historic work. I found this book to be what all historical writers say they achieve, a fair, unbiased work. Some facts may be disputed amongst historians, but I do not believe that Mr. Nicolson intentionally put a spin in this book. Well done, Mr. Nicolson.
One can read volumes of books on King James and English history. One can read volumes of books on church history. One can read volumes of books on the KJV. One will find it difficult to find a nice book to put all the three together and be written in a clear manner that is also an enjoyable read.
God's Secretaries Jan 6, 2009
The book is interesting. It spends more time on the politics of writing the King James Bible, than on what manuscripts were used in writing the Bible.
Good context, but lacking in content Jan 6, 2009
Nicolson provides an interesting and full picture of the people and politics that brought about the King James Version of the Bible. His writing is lovely, but at times is overly verbose and descriptive. Although I kept wanting to read about the actual translation of the KJV, I found the context he gave helpful and worthwhile.
Unfortunately, I found the very small portion of his book dedicated to the actual translation deficient. Rather than showing how the context he so carefully provided has affected the language with any specific examples, he time and again applauds the King James Version as superior to modern ones. His reasoning is, again and again, due to the beautiful language of the KJV. Unfortunately he does not spend sufficient time defending his view that beautiful language and majestic tone equate superior translation. It is a well-known fact that the New Testament is written in common Greek and not the exalted language that Nicolson loves. Why is this change valid, and more importantly, why is it superior?
I see nowhere in this book any reason to believe that Nicolson has ever done any translation work or knows either Greek or Hebrew. In fact, the deplorable rendition of Greek on page 166, with only one accent (and one apostrophe to signify an accent) and no final sigmas, shows me that no one involved with the book knew Greek well or at all. (Unless this Greek phrase is given in the exact form Savile wrote it, which I do not have the ability to determine for myself.)
In short--as far as his description of the political and historical background of the King James Version, Nicolson does a nice job. However, he would do well to keep his praise for the language of the KJV but lose the criticisms of how translation ought to be done which he does not appear to have the background or knowledge to develop or defend.