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King James Version

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King James Version or Authorized Version of the Holy Bible was translated into English for the benefit of the Church of England at the behest of King James I of England. First published in 1611, it was the authorized version for use in the Church of England and became perhaps the most influential English version in America.

In 1604 King James I selected forty-seven of the ablest scholars in England to undertake the creation of a standard Bible in English, based upon careful translations of the Masoretic Text used by the Jewish community, and the best Greek translations (especially the Textus Receptus) then available. The scholars were divided into six committees in Oxford, Westminster, and Cambridge, with each scholar having dedicated himself to doing a portion of the Bible, often consulting others to check the flow and harmony of the work in progress. The result was the 1611 King James, or Authorized, Version.

The effects of the King James Version were profound. Using less than 2,500 different words in its vocabulary, this Bible was written in a poetic style rarely matched. The work emerged from the same literary milieu as Shakespeare, and was published about the same time his career was wrapping up. John Milton has numerous images taken from this Bible in his Paradise Lost. The direct style of writing caused it to be easily available to the common man. Poets and writers, such as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and many others were deeply inspired by it. It altered the course of English history, with England growing to a world power since the book's publication; when asked by a visiting dignitary what made England great, Queen Victoria pulled out her copy of the Bible and declared, "This is the secret of England's greatness."

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