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← UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

JTMcDaniel's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by JTMcDaniel

I always translated it as "futility," so I'd have to say that "vanity" is a perfectly good, if slightly archaic, translation as well. We do miss some of the nuances today, if only because the intimate form has almost completely disappeared from English (though it never actually existed in Hebrew).

The Bible has it all. You find exemplary fiction (Job, the only book no one ever really claimed to represent actual events and included for its philosophical content), a couple of romance novels (Esther, Ruth), a song book (Psalms), all sorts of adventure stories, and even some attempts at history. You also get a bit of pornish poetry (Canticles/Song of Songs). It has also been claimed to contain the basic plots used by every work of fiction written since.

I believe the Authorized Version is also the oldest work still under copyright.

You can also see the adaptation of polytheistic texts into monotheism, as in the reinterpretation of the Genesis creation story by the expedient of simply deciding that, in certain contexts, the Hebrew plural elohim (gods) would be declared to be a proper name instead. The effect was somewhat weakened by leaving too much of the "internal" dialogue in the plural form.

It truly is a vitally important literary treasure, and certainly a very powerful source of anti-religious inspiration if you're actually paying attention. The problem is that Christians generally are not paying attention, or simply block out the contradictions (such as Joseph apparently having two different fathers). It reminds me of a fellow I know who sincerely believes that Adam, Eve, and Noah were all genuine historic individuals, and at the same time constantly complains that children today are not being taught critical thinking.

Sun, 20 May 2012 07:31:21 UTC | #942359