So, I discovered from Alan Jacobs the following testimony from debut writer Sarah Perry (author of the favorably reviewed After Me Comes the Flood) on how her Christian upbringing and commitment to the classics (including the King James Version of the Bible) made her a better writer.
|Here is a link to the guardian article by|
Sarah Perry on how the KJV and the classics made her a better writer
- Above all – committed to memory, read aloud at mealtimes and prettily framed on the dining-room wall – was the King James Bible. It was as constant as the air, and felt just as necessary, and I think I know its cadences as well as my own voice. The effect on my writing has been profound, and inescapable: I soaked it all up, and now I'm wringing it out. My obsession with rhythm and beauty comes, I'm sure, from memorising the King James Bible's peerless prose, and having grown up in the shade of sin and the light of redemption I suppose it's no surprise that my debut novel After Me Comes the Flood has been called uncanny, sinister, strange (though I never intended to write that way – it's just how my eyes were put in)...
Though I have not changed my mind about the text-critical problems of the KJV, I do agree with Sarah Perry wholeheartedly about the beauty and literary elegance of the King James Bible. We ain't writing half as good as the team of English translators of the KJV (pardon my slang). Though the KJV reflects bad Greek (manuscripts), it is excellent English. One only has to read the Psalms in KJV and compare it to the modern translations of the NIV, ESV or NRSV, and while the latter reads like prose, the former sails in the winds of poetry.
And for the parents out there, this article is greater ammunition to get your kids to read and read well. I had my youngest son read this commentary by Perry. Now he's reading Orwell's 1984 and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 to see how the current fad of dystopian novels was fathered by an earlier and greater generation of writers. Ad Fontes!